By Robert Frank
Laval’s economy will continue to outpace most of the province in 2014, the city has predicted.
“Laval Technopole projects capital investment worth $1.1 billion in 2014,” executive committee vice-chair David de Cotis told The Suburban.
“Things have turned out to be going in the right direction,” de Cotis, who is also Technopole’s chairman, said in an interview.
“The previous administration left a gray cloud over Laval in the eyes of potential investors,” he acknowledged, “but the situation has really turned around as we take the right steps, as we promised, to put an end to collusion and corruption. We’ve taken a blank slate and are building upon a solid foundation.”
“Lumen’s recent decision to invest $100 million in relocating here,” was an important spur, de Cotis declared, “bringing 260 new jobs to Laval.”
He cited other investments like Cité des affaires’ $20 million, 40,000 sq.ft. head office in Laval’s industrial park; Montreal Neon’s move from Montreal to a new $10 million warehouse on Highway 440; Les Serres Pierre Brisebois’ $200 million, 60,000 sq.ft. expansion; and Creaform’s new 12,000 sq.ft. facility.
In April, Laval opposition councillors expressed alarm that capital investment had slumped below the $1 billion mark during 2013 and that Laval construction permits had tumbled to an all-time low.
However, as the city’s population continues to grow briskly, there’s no sign of the market abating for residential accommodation in Laval, driving significant real estate investment here.
“There is a huge waterfront condominium project Aqua Bleu that will be going up in Ste. Dorothée,” de Cotis enthused. “It’s a big project worth $250 million, involving the construction of more than 210 condos.”
He added that the luxury condo towers haven’t faced the same opprobrium as three similar projects east of Pont Viau, which de Cotis’ Mouvement lavallois party questioned during last year’s municipal election campaign.
“There’s no pushback,” he said of the new Ste. Dorothée initiative. “It’s going to have to meet some provincial environmental conditions, but the green light is contingent on responding to the criteria required by the Quebec government.”
Despite Technopole’s success at making Laval a magnet for capital investment and head offices, the economic development dynamo might soon be split up.
As reported in The Suburban last month, the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP) has urged Laval to divide Technopole in two and restrict it to administering capital investment funds for local business.
It would see Technopole’s staff of 44 trimmed to 18. The remaining employees would be transferred to the municipal bureaucracy as part of a yet-to-be-created city economic development department that would be assigned to attract investment and cut red tape.
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