CLDs future uncertain

Provincial government could slash budgets by more than half

By Kevin Woodhouse

As the provincial government looks at ways to trim Quebec’s monumental debt and deficit, Minister of Municipal Affairs Pierre Moreau recently announced that the CLD system (Centre de dévelopment économique) could lose 55 per cent of their budgets or be outright abolished and its responsibilities absorbed by area municipalities.

The Suburban spoke to Nicolas Roy, executive director of West Island CLD about the agency’s future in expectation of Moreau’s decision expected to be delivered shortly.

“We have to wait for Mr. Moreau to meet with Premier Philippe Couillard in order to find out about the fine print of the coming changes,” Roy said.

The current CLD system of using local business practice of reaching out to volunteers to gauge the feasibility of proposals is a model that has worked well for the West Island CLD; a system Roy wonders if municipalities can replicate should they be abolished and absorbed.

“Our current formula has the input of local mayors, representatives from community groups, business leaders, a great mix of volunteers who offer us their expertise,” said Roy. “This kind of formula will not work as municipalities and businesses are not part of the same culture or environment.”

The Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC (Municipalité régionale de comté) reacted to the government’s news and potential cuts by releasing a press release noting that CLDs “remain the best tool to favourize economic development in the regions.”

The agency is also seeking that should the government abolish CLDs then the regional body should be given the tools to create another economic entity in the same style as the CLD.
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