Urban development of Greater Montréal: Home Builders worried about negative effects of PMAD

MONTREAL, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Association provinciale des constructeurs d'habitations du Québec (APCHQ) is very concerned about the consequences that the Plan métropolitain d'aménagement et développement (PMAD) may have on the residential construction market in Greater Montréal, particularly regarding access to property and to a decent home. This is why the APCHQ is calling on the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) to revise the parametres of the region's urban development plan. The major issues stemming from this plan must be studied in more detail and in collaboration with all stakeholders."

This was the message given to the media by Marc Savard, general manager of the Montréal Home Builders Association at a press briefing about the CMM's urban development plan (PMAD), which is supposed to be adopted in its final form by December 31.  The plan will be submitted to public hearings starting next week.

Based on a detailed analysis of the property stock still available in Greater Montréal, the APCHQ has concluded that if the PMAD were implemented in its current form, within 20 years, the quasi-totality of municipalities in Greater Montréal would have no building sites available for new residential construction. Land scarcity is already a major issue, with the MRCs of L'Assomption and Thérèse-de-Blainville already almost at the brink of a shortage.

The APCHQ believes that, despite a realistic effort of densification, roughly 110,000 households will have difficulties finding a home within the Greater Montréal region over the next two decades.  This represents about one-third of estimated demographic growth.

Single-family dwellings only for the wealthy?
"It is reasonable to state that the adoption of this Plan would mark the beginning of the end of construction of single-family dwellings in Greater Montréal, even if our study shows that the majority of households still want to live in this kind of home," said Mr. Savard. "In fact, only the wealthiest members of society would be able to purchase single-family homes."

Another perverse effect of the scarcity of land is the expansion of the phenomenon of urban sprawl, which is contrary to the PMAD's objectives. By restricting urban development in the CMM's outlying municipalities, buyers (young families in particular) will turn to municipalities beyond the CMM's borders, where the supply of available land is much greater.

The APCHQ's solution
"The solution proposed by the PMAD is a territory-wide freeze and a sudden densification of the current urban perimetre that doesn't take into consideration households' needs and the market's ability to conform to this new reality," said Mr. Savard. "In our view, there is a more realistic solution that takes the population's needs into greater consideration. This solution is linked to a better balance between densification and the addition of land for residential construction."

The APCHQ has examined and evaluated different options to better balance supply and demand, while keeping in mind objectives like environmental protection and sustainable development. In light of the APCHQ study's results, the indisputable solution resides in better land use in Greater Montréal, where land currently isn't being used in an optimal manner.

At present, close to 60% of the CMM's territory is zoned for agriculture. Of this area, the equivalent of 2½ times the Island of Montréal is currently unused land. "The APCHQ proposes the progressive use of just 5% of this vast unused land, in keeping with current development. When taking demographic trends into account, this would be sufficient to meet the need for urban space for the next 20 years," said Mr. Savard.

About the Montréal Home Builders Association
The Montréal Home Builders Association was founded in 1950. Its members include close to 4,000 builders and renovators working in the residential sector and who are based in the Greater Montréal region.  Its mission is to promote the professionalism of its entrepreneurs and to defend their interests. This regional association is part of the APCHQ, which was founded in 1961. It plays a leading role in the construction and renovation industry, and contributes to promoting a prosperous housing market in Quebec. The APCHQ is the largest association of entrepreneurs in Canada, with 17,000 members across 15 regional associations throughout Québec.





For further information:

Marc Savard
Montréal Home Builders Association
(514) 354-8722, ext. 222
Serge Vallières
(514) 843-2310
(514) 589-7214


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