Beautiful little house. Lots. The neighbors are at a respectful distance. White picket fence to protect the Big Family bubble from the scourge of the world.
This scenario becomes very attractive when, due to the pandemic, we need space to set up two remote work desks as well as a quiet corner for distant school days.
So, it’s no wonder that in 2020, according to the latest numbers released by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), more than 8,700 families in Montreal decided to leave the island to buy a home in the northern or southern Crown suburbs. , An increase of 2000 families compared to 2019. A phenomenon to which the epidemic and the sharp rise in real estate prices contributed greatly.
Those who actually lived in the suburbs were more likely to purchase property further afield, in communities outside of the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM), including Saint-Lynn-Laurentides, Saint-Jerome and Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu.
The problem is that happiness in the form of a single family home for some is a misfortune for many others. And the planet.
Car congestion, the pollution that accompanies it, encroachment on farmland, and the destruction of natural environments for building roads and streets, constitute, in large part, a small portion of the costs of urban sprawl that continues to grow. A boost last year. These higher costs are associated with individual choices, but we pay them collectively.
Aware of all this, and with the support of city planners, 82 CMM cities and municipalities adopted a land use and development plan for the capital ten years ago. A plan that turns its back on single-family homes and calls for intensification in order to create attractive but more sustainable living environments, well served by public transportation. And it worked. If 80% of new residential buildings in CMM, in 2000, were single-family homes, then they account for only 15% of new housing in 2020. A world of difference.
But there is a shadow on the board. The rules do not apply outside the CMM, in the surrounding municipalities, where the population growth is as strong as within the CMM and the strength multiplier in the rest of the county. And this is troubling.
During this week’s conference, the Mayor of Montreal, who is also the chair of the MWC, indicated that it is imperative to open a debate with the municipalities of the third crown to ensure that efforts in a decade to counter the overland sprawl do not take the edge. In the current context, while the distant 450’s attraction is stronger than ever, it seems urgent.
La bonne nouvelle est que le gouvernement du Québec a lancé en janvier une vaste consultation, baptisée «conversation nationale sur l’urbanisme et l’aménagement du forthoire», qui doit mener à la refonte de la loi actuelle en la matière, vieille de 40 Years.
Let us hope that combating urban sprawl and protecting the environment will be central themes. We cannot revive the economy in a greener way by allowing bungalows and large single-family homes to grow on the right and on the left – unsupervised – to the detriment of the collective good.