(Quebec) What is called urban sprawl can also be regional development, warns the Legault government, which emphasizes that to “serve the regions, it takes roads”.

” You should be careful. When we talk about urban sprawl, we have to ask ourselves the question: are we doing regional development? The important thing is to create good living environments, ”warned the Minister of Municipal Affairs Andrée Laforest Tuesday at the National Assembly.

In the coming weeks, the Minister must table a land use planning policy eagerly awaited by a new generation of mayors, who are asking Quebec to have the tools to densify their cities and effectively fight against climate change.

They believe that densification is inevitable to build the city of tomorrow, and oppose the vision of the Minister of Transport François Bonnardel, who rather believes that densification is a “fad”.

Minister Laforest asks mayors to be patient, and says her policy will be tabled in the coming weeks. However, she defends her colleague: “in urban development, yes, there are trends,” she said.

“In the last decades there have been condos, there have been residences, that’s what you’ve been building for the last ten years. Now, there is a way to build differently. There are plexes, there are townhouses, there are multi-generational homes. So, yes, there are ways. We’ll think about it. We are going to file our vision, our policy, soon, and you will see that it was very, very bold, ”she said.

In the chamber, the Legault government has been described as backward-looking by the opposition parties. “Densification does not mean raising a family in a downtown condo,” said Liberal House Leader André Fortin, who denounced Minister Bonnardel’s “ideas straight out of the 1950s”.

For the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, two visions clash. “There is the vision of the past: more urban sprawl, more air pollution and therefore more traffic. And there is the vision for the future: more density, more environmental protection and therefore more quality of life,” he said.

Parti Québécois Méganne Perry Mélançon, MNA for Gaspé, affirms for her part that “a good land use planning policy is an essential tool to promote the vitality of communities, the affordability of housing and the protection of natural environments. “However, the Minister of Transport never stops making statements that reveal his past vision of the development and protection of Quebec’s territory,” she lamented.

Premier François Legault replied that he agrees with the idea that large cities “must become denser”, but he added that “the regions have the right to develop” and that Québec solidaire “wants to make a moratorium on regional development”.

“We think we need to develop the regions. Then, to serve the regions, well yes, it takes roads, ”he added.



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