The Port of Montreal is committed to fulfill its role as a responsible corporate citizen. In particular, it has strengthened this commitment by reinforcing its presence and ties with its neighbouring community.
“Overseeing the port’s growth and contributing to economic prosperity while integrating as harmoniously as possible into our surroundings and environment is a priority for the Port of Montreal,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA).
The Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay, inaugurated in 2018, marks a new stage in the port’s relationship with its city. With its contemporary cruise terminal, new green spaces open to the public, Port Centre and ideal location between the river and the city, this landmark site offers a warm welcome to Montrealers and visitors alike and clearly demonstrates the port’s desire to get closer to its community.
High Accolades For Grand Quay
The Port of Montreal received high accolades for the Grand Quay at Montreal’s gala event honouring excellence in the environment and sustainable development, Gala Montréal durable, held in December. The MPA won the prestigious Corps Public sustainable development award, recognizing the port authority’s efforts and involvement to integrate environmental and social objectives into its activities.
The Grand Quay stood out for its positive impact in terms of sustainable development, its landscape planning, its shore power system for cruise ships and its approach to connecting with the community.
An independent selection committee, established by the Regional environment council of Montreal, selected the winners from 68 projects carried out and submitted by partner organizations in the Sustainable Montréal 2016–2020 Plan.
Meanwhile, the MPA has taken numerous concrete measures to ensure harmonious cohabitation between the port and its neighbours. As an example, during upcoming works on Phase 2 of the Viau container terminal, and in accordance with the commitment made by the MPA and terminal operator Termont Montreal Inc. during public consultations on the project, mitigation measures will be implemented to minimize inconvenience to neighbouring communities. For instance, dust suppressants will be applied to prevent or reduce the spread of dust and motorized equipment will have high-performance mufflers.
These measures follow efforts taken by the MPA and Termont to actively seek solutions to reduce noise in the Viau sector. One such solution was the installation on various types of equipment of broadband white noise backup alarms that reduce noise but still keep longshoremen safe. These mitigation measures have succeeded as neighbouring residents have confirmed a significant reduction in noise.
Among other measures to improve cohabitation are noise and lighting restrictions in various port areas after 7 p.m., and greater use of electric equipment and greasing of rail tracks to reduce noise.
Remaining attentive to its neighbouring communities, the port has an established and thorough complaint management system to handle as quickly as possible any complaints that might arise. Each complaint received by a port employee is reported to the Port of Montreal Control Centre for handling, then transferred to the Deputy Harbour Masters, the Vice-President and Director of Operations, and both the Environment and Communications departments. In most cases, an inspector is sent onsite to assess the situation and meet the complainant. Working with the Control Centre, the inspector takes measurements or action, depending on the nature of the disturbance, and then completes a report. Based on these reports, some mitigation measures can be analyzed and eventually implemented. All complaints are compiled in a register. This system was the starting point for the solution to reduce noise in the Viau sector.
The port also has a Good Neighbourhood Committee, composed of residents, representatives of local organizations and organizations operating on port territory, municipal representatives and MPA representatives. Its objectives are to foster closer and more lasting relations between the MPA and its adjacent communities; establish dialogue and facilitate information exchange related to activities occurring on port territory; provide a forum for discussion and exchange on topics of common interest; develop a collaborative way of resolving neighbourhood issues; and create a liaison mechanism involving key stakeholders before implementing further projects and, by doing so, facilitate their integration into riverside communities.
Improving Interface Between Port, City
Moreover, the MPA created a working group in 2019 that is specifically dedicated to improving the interface between Port of Montreal territory and the city. Greening, mitigating nuisances and improving the visual appearance of port facilities are among the main projects that the working group is examining.
The MPA also participates in public consultations held by the City of Montreal’s Office de consultation publique (public consultations bureau). For example, port representatives were on hand at an information session in March as part of public consultations on the Assomption-Sud—Longue-Pointe sector, which is adjacent to the port and will be subject to extensive requalification and development in the coming years. The MPA is directly involved in this initiative because it has a road link project in development that will provide more direct truck access to terminals and reduce traffic on the local road network. Port representatives manned a booth to present the project to area residents and answer questions.
The MPA has also reinvented its annual Port in the City Day, which the port had held annually for its neighbours to showcase its facilities. This summer, the Port of Montreal was on the road with a container full of information, games and surprises, stopping at various events in the neighbourhoods near its operations to meet residents and present its activities. In particular, the container featured educational displays and information on the goods that move through port and the port’s role in the regional and national economy. There was also a contest to win a river cruise. In addition, nearly 400 people boarded tour buses for a guided tour of port terminals.
Nearly 5,000 people interacted with port representatives at the travelling container. It was a new experience for residents who live near the port but probably have never had the opportunity to see it up close and personal.