Residents, merchants speak out against Royalmount mega-mall proposal
Some Montrealers worry project will increase pollution, traffic
Some residents are speaking out against the proposed Royalmount shopping complex, arguing it will lead to more pollution, traffic and debt.
The Town of Mount Royal mega-mall — proposed by commercial real estate developer and manager Carbonleo — would include an aquatics park, an outdoor cinema, a skating rink as well as restaurants, terraces and two hotels.
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Michel Faure, a resident of the area, said he believes the mall is a bad investment because Canadians are in debt and the retail industry in Canada is taking a hit.
"People will be enticed to buy stuff they don't need with money they don't have. So I don't see this as progress," Faure told Daybreak on Thursday.
Traffic is another concern for Faure.
"It's already a place where traffic builds up," he said.
Carbonleo said in a statement that traffic would only increase by five per cent.
Marvin Rotrand, a city councillor in Snowdon and vice-chair of the STM, said on Twitter that if Carbonleo's calculations were correct, it would still mean a 20,000 car increase in the area.
Shop owner alarmed
Mike Parente, director of Plaza St-Hubert, said Montreal already has a "saturated" retail scene and the mega mall will only make things worse.
"Can Montreal sustain this? Can the citizens of Montreal be ready to sustain it?" said Parente.
Parente said he's not necessarily concerned about competition but about the ability of large developers to take over the city, especially when it comes to zoning laws.
"What worries us is that generally Montreal keeps working without a plan," said Parente.
"Developers impose their way of thinking, [without] Montreal dictating what we need for the island," he said.
A boost to the economy, supporters say
Not everyone is against the idea.
Michel Leblanc, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, thinks the mall will bring economic prosperity to an area that has recently suffered from high unemployment rates.
"I think a very positive project for Montreal in its commercial basis," said Leblanc.
The project, valued at $1.7 billion, would bring in $20 million in taxes to the borough of TMR.