Montreal free parking to help struggling businesses

empty-streets-in-Montreal-min

With many office buildings nearly empty as more and more people work from home, while others choose not to venture far from their ‘bubbles’ – many businesses all over the Greater Montreal area have been struggling to survive. The Covid-19 pandemic has been taking its toll in many ways. An unprecedented number of stores either have closed permanently or are creatively trying to sell their products in new ways just to cover their basic expenses – while customers turn to online shopping sites in droves, such as Amazon. Downtown Montreal looks like a ghost town on most days. It is an eerie sight to behold.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante announced they will be added
free parking to help businesses in Montreal

To try and help businesses through the pandemic, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante announced at a press conference on October 22nd that 18,000 free parking spaces would be made available around the city starting on November 14th to December 31st. Despite the myriad of construction projects going on, there have been plenty of spaces available. Although it might take a little longer to find one, they are there. The bicycle paths and pedestrians walkways have indeed made it more challenging, but it has actually been the cyclists and those on foot who have been helping to keep businesses alive – regardless of the angry outcries from some people on social media who have been very vocal about it.

The construction work is beyond just being necessary, it is urgent and often becomes emergency work as roads collapse, underground pipes break and infrastructure falls apart. Previous administrations neglected their responsibilities, pouring tax dollars from the coffers into some very questionable projects instead – such as lighting up bridges or electric car races (which ended up costing tax payers more than first revealed). The present administration is trying to deal with it – but their plans are made even harder when work begins and they discover an even more serious, hidden problem needing to be dealt with first. It means even more of the notorious ‘orange cones’ all over the place – once just joked about, but now looked at with trepidation and anxiety attacks.

“Some businesses might not survive if we don’t support them,” Mayor Plante said. “Today, as the holiday season approaches, I am speaking to Montrealers who are about to do their Christmas shopping. I am giving us the collective challenge of taking advantage of the holiday season to save Montreal’s commercial vitality… it’s not the online shopping giants that need our help, the local businesses do.”

The new parking measures include:

  • Free on-street parking on weekends throughout the city from November 14th to December 31st, making some 18,000 spaces available.
  • Businesses can extend opening hours to 10:00PM on weekdays and 7:00PM on weekends from November 14th to December 31st.
  • Support and promotion to continue urban delivery for local merchants.
  • Installations in the downtown area for the winter season, designed to add to the shopping experience.
  • Installations in the downtown area for the winter season, designed to add to the shopping experience.
  • Financial support for campaigns implemented by merchants’ groups and chambers of commerce. – Adding $1.5 million to the Commercial Activities Consolidation Fund, designed to support small businesses to ensure they can increase the quality of services, including on the digital market and the physical development of their place of business.
By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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