Today, the Mayor of Montréal and Ville-Marie, Valérie Plante, accompanied by community representatives, presented the first-ever Action Plan for the Development of Chinatown. The plan was created in accordance with the concerns and needs of the Chinese and Asian communities, following a rigorous process of consultation and coordination. Its goal is to revitalize, protect and perpetuate this iconic neighbourhood by deploying action strategies organized over time, identifying collaborators, and defining achievement indicators.
In concrete terms, the borough of Ville-Marie and its collaborators are adopting the means to deploy resources and efforts to implement 25 action strategies. These strategies are based on an overall vision structured around four major strategic orientations: quality of life, housing and public spaces; commercial vitality; identity, influence and heritage; and cooperation.
"Chinatown, the only such district in French-speaking North America, is a jewel for all Quebecers," said Mayor Valérie Plante. “Located in the heart of downtown, it is known for its heritage, culture and unique history. With more than 150 businesses employing some 500 people, it is a key contributor to the city's economy and the vitality of downtown. Today, we are proud to present the Chinatown Development Action Plan, which presents a vision for the future by and for the Chinese and Asian communities. This is a historic milestone for the future of the neighbourhood! Now it is the time for action, and the plan unveiled today contains a significant number of actions. They were all based on numerous discussions with the community, which allowed us to identify the priorities of the area as well as the aspirations of its stakeholders and residents.”
Action strategies to bring hope
The development of Chinatown requires the implementation of action strategies that will have an impact on the four orientations mentioned above. Here are some of the strategies in the plan that will ultimately be of significant benefit to the area:
- Improve connectivity between Chinatown and the various districts of downtown and Old Montréal by improving facilities and conditions for pedestrian traffic;
- Increase the greening of public and private spaces;
- Maintain and develop the social and affordable housing stock;
- Support the mobilization and development of merchants, particularly through the creation of a commercial association;
- Encourage initiatives that can revitalize the district and make it more popular;
- Affirm and promote the identity of Chinatown;
- Preserve and enhance the heritage of Chinatown;
- Support consultation within the neighbourhood, using increased resources.
"We are very proud to unveil the fruit of a long-term process, anchored in a common vision, which provides a clear roadmap and concrete actions to support our Chinatown and its community” said Cathy Wong, City Councillor for the Peter McGill district in the borough of Ville-Marie and the person responsible for diversity, employment inclusion, the French language and the fight against racism and discrimination on Montréal's executive committee. “It was all the more important for us to follow through on this process, which began long before the pandemic, especially in the last year, a time when we had to come together to fight racism and overcome the social and economic difficulties that have affected it.”
The unveiling of the action plan, combined with the recent announcement by Montréal and the Québec government of the creation of a working committee on the protection of Chinatown heritage, reflects a strong desire to preserve and perpetuate this iconic neighbourhood.
"With the many challenges faced by the community in the past year, it is essential to provide this historic downtown gem with all the resources it needs for revitalization and to benefit from the changes necessary for it to thrive," said Robert Beaudry, city councillor for the district of Saint-Jacques in the borough of Ville-Marie and the person responsible for housing, real estate management and planning, large parks and Parc Jean-Drapeau on the Montréal executive committee. We will strengthen Chinatown’s heritage status, and preserve and enhance this unique neighbourhood, rich in history, supported by a community we are proud of, and a source of cultural and economic vitality.
Support measures for economic development
The plan will be implemented through an investment of $2 million, with a view to revitalizing the commercial sector, supporting entertainment activities and improving quality of life, as well as attracting more people to Chinatown. At the same time, a $4 million program has been dedicated to downtown restaurants and bars, an investment designed to revitalize commercial arteries and ensure the economic recovery of downtown and the city. In addition, as part of the recovery, Chinatown is being highlighted in "Les aventures du cœur de l'île", a summer program developed by the Quartier des spectacles partnership. Its goal is to revitalize downtown Montréal. The "Oasis Place des souhaits" in Chinatown was designed in collaboration with the community and will attract visitors and tourists this summer, in addition to increasing the clientele in the area's businesses.
An important citizen consultation process
The definition of this vision of the future was the result of a major consultation process by the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre (CEUM) "Together for the Vitality of Chinatown", which began in the summer of 2019, and whose activities ended in May 2021. Over the past two years, various work elements produced a diagnostic portrait of the community's needs, formulated a vision statement, and then provided a snapshot of the concerns and issues to make this vision a reality. In total, no fewer than 600 participants from the Chinese and Asian communities as well as other citizens who care about the future of Chinatown participated in the consultation activities. Working committees made up of citizens, experts and local organizations were also involved in defining the recommendations that led to the development of the plan's key action strategies.
The action plan is now available
To consult the action plan as well as the summary report of the consultation process, go to: https://montreal.ca/ville-marie.