Royalmount mega-mall promises highway footbridge
Developer hopes to woo Montreal's new mayor and administration into backing project
In time to woo new Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, the developer of a proposed mega-mall is proposing a footbridge accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists, connecting the mall to the De la Savane Metro station.
The controversial project would span 232,257 square metres, nestled at the junction of Highways 15 and 40, earning it the nickname Quinze40.
The mall's official name so far is Royalmount, named after the Town of Mount Royal, as it would fall within the municipality's limits.
Though Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has said she will need to analyze the project before taking a position, Projet Montréal's Luc Ferrandez, the borough mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal, has been one of the mall's most vocal opponents.
He has said the shopping centre would multiply traffic and pollution in the area, and that it would centralize business, hurting the local economy and mom-and-pop shops.
"I hate it," Ferrandez told CBC News in 2015, shortly after the project was announced.
"Montreal is at a turning point. We have to choose between our own identity … or accepting an American way of life, and maybe a Dubai way of life."
Other critics have said it would take away from the vitality of individual city streets.
TMR mayor brushes off criticism
But TMR mayor Philippe Roy, who has backed the project since its inception, says the footbridge was his idea, not a direct response to critics on the part of developer Carbonleo.
"It's estimated that nearly 40 per cent of people who will frequent the complex, the centre, will transit through De la Savane metro station," Roy said.
Roy, who was re-elected unopposed this fall, brushed off criticisms the mall would kill local business.
"There won't be any shoemakers going there, no tailors going there. We're talking mainly about entertainment centres," he said.
"I think it will compete more with Carrefour Laval or the Centropolis in Laval than a small restaurant in Côte-des-Neiges or Ville Mont-Royal."
Carbonleo says the centre would include an aquatics park, outdoor cinema, a skating rink, restaurants, terraces and two hotels.
Cirque du Soleil says it's interested in having a "creative project on the site of Royalmount," its spokesperson Marie-Hélène Lagacé confirmed.
The mall is expected to cost $1.7 billion. Carbonleo says it hopes to meet with the city soon to show how the project's development is evolving and discuss how it will inject 35,000 jobs into the Town of Mount Royal.
Transports du Québec has confirmed it approved the first step of Carbonleo's request for the footbridge above Highway 15.
with files from Radio-Canada's Benoît Chapdelaine