Construction permits plummet to record low

Optimistic, de Cotis says $100 million investment pending

By Robert Frank

Laval opposition councillors sounded the alarm over the city’s economy for the second week in a row, after the city’s urban planning department disclosed a precipitous plunge in construction permits.

“New figures provided during the city’s executive committee meeting, April 30, revealed that the value of construction permits tumbled from $76 million to $42.9 million,” Jean Desautels told The Suburban.

“That’s a 43.6 percent drop in value,” the chief of staff for the official opposition at city hall said in an interview. “The total number of residential construction and renovation permits fell to 579. The previous record low was in 1995. Together, they’re the lowest numbers that we’ve seen since the city began recording the figures in 1971.”

Last week, The Suburban reported that capital investment had dipped below the $1 billion threshold in 2013, for the first time in years.

“The current administration hasn’t done much to promote investment in any way,” Desautels contended.

“It’s the exact opposite,” responded executive committee chair David de Cotis. “We’re not contesting the figures. They are what they are. In 2013, Laval was under a very dark grey cloud. The economy slowed down last year not only in Laval but across the board in Quebec.”

“We understand that 2013 was a dismal year, but we have to keep in perspective where we were and where we are going,” he told The Suburban. “We’re confident that 2014 will be a good year for Laval.”

De Cotis cited a string of investments since the start of 2014.

“Serres Brisebois announced a $200 million investment early this year,” he noted. “Also, Montreal Néon invested $10 million in Laval industry, Laser Quantum put $1.5 million in tourism and Escalade Clip’n’Climb put in another $1.3 million.”

“During the next week or so, we will be announcing another $100 million investment for a company that will be based in Laval,” continued an upbeat de Cotis.

“It’s too early yet to provide a full projection of capital investment for 2014,” he added. “Perhaps in June or July we will be in a better position to provide a projection. In the meantime, it’s turning around and I think that the forecast is very positive for the city.”

“We’re being bombarded with phone calls, electronic mail messages and letters from businessmen who want to come to speak to the mayor,” de Cotis concluded. “They’ve seen a change in management, leadership and communication. Laval is open for business and we expect that 2014 will be a very successful year for the city.”

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