As part OF its policy on sustainable development, the Port of Montreal is forging closer relationships with the City of Montreal and port neighbours.

In November, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay unveiled the Cité portuaire – or Port City – project as part of a five-year plan to develop the eastern end of Montreal, where much of the port is located.

“This project clearly underlines the importance of Montreal’s port activities,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. “We are happy to see that the City of Montreal has included the Port City project among its economic development strategies. It positions the port as an important economic development agent and confirms that as a strategic partner our competitive edge must be maintained.

“This is a role we are proud to take on and further develop with the support of the City of Montreal, elected local, provincial and federal representatives, and the business community.”

Among the priorities of the Port City project are improved truck access and the protection of rail and marine accesses to the port, and the creation of a logistics and transportation industrial cluster for the Montreal region.

The port authority already has begun work to streamline truck access and traffic flow on its property by building an entry portal and waiting area for trucks. The entry portal helps reduce traffic on nearby streets and ensure a better flow of traffic at the port entrance. For its part, the city rebuilt the thoroughfare leading to the entry portal.

The port authority also has made proposals to the city and to Transport Quebec to provide trucks with greater direct access to the port and on ways to integrate the port into the highway system. These projects would include a trucks-only access ramp from a major highway to the port entrance and the lengthening of a thoroughfare leading to the port. Reaction to the proposals has been favourable and the projects are under study, Ms. Vachon said.

Community ties

In collaboration with its port partners, the Port of Montreal is also forging closer ties with the community. “We can’t do this by ourselves. We need to have our partners on board, and they are,” Ms. Vachon said.

The port authority has created special liaison committees with citizens in order to share and exchange information related to port activity and projects.

“We want to grow in harmony with our neighbouring communities in a sprit of continuous development,” Ms. Vachon said.

Through the liaison committees, the port authority can properly explain to neighbouring communities – through presentations, on-site visits and tours of the Port of Montreal scale model – the necessity for and importance of various port projects and the preventive measures that the port authority and its partners will take to minimize the impact of such projects on residents.

“Our goal is to create within the city a port that fulfill­­s its economic mission while respecting its neighbours and the environment,” Ms. Vachon said.

In another effort to make the port better understood within the community, the port authority has organized various activities for the public. As an example, it has opened the doors to its famous scale model as part of a day celebrating Montreal’s culture. “Not only can we show off our fabulous scale model but we can show our neighbours how the port actually works,” Ms. Vachon said.

The port, together with its partners, is also implementing measures that will lessen the impact of its operations on neighbouring areas. Those measures include reducing the sound level of alarms and handling equipment; restricting noisy construction work after 7 p.m.; turning off the lighting in some areas of the port after 7 p.m.; installing lubricators on the rail tracks that run along the Old Port recreation and tourism area to reduce train noise at night; and launching a program to handle complaints by setting up a phone number that people can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to report any problem situation.