A group led by former Liberal minister Raymond Bachand wants to revive the tourist monorail project with 14 stations spanning nearly 12 kilometers connecting Old Montreal and Jean-Drapeau Park.
“Every year 15 million people pass through Old Montreal and Parc Jean-Drapeau. We don’t think about it like Disney and Vegas. We could connect everything with a monorail,” former Liberal minister Raymond Bachand, who just registered as a lobbyist to promote the project, said in an interview with the Journal.
“Removing cars from the islands would alone make Montreal more attractive,” he continued.
1.1G dollar project
Five years ago, Le Journal reported on the details of this estimated $1.1 billion, 310-passenger monorail as part of a public-private partnership inspired by the Expo 67 monorail.
However, after a few years in the pipeline, the project is back in the news.
“It’s pneumatic. It’s a light technology, not heavy. It is not a means of transport like the REM,” explains Raymond Bachand, who recently registered as a lobbyist to gauge the interest of the Treasury Board Secretariat.
“You first have to knock on the door and ask: ‘Are you interested in studying?’” says communications strategist Louis Aucoin.
When contacted by Le Journal, the office of Minister Sonia LeBel, president of the Ministry of Finance, confirmed that there had not yet been a meeting on the issue.
Provided by Solutrans
From minister to lobbyist
The monorail plan is being led by Solutrans, owned by rail specialist Jean O’Keefe, which is not his first project.
In 2007, La Presse revealed that his company Solutrans had made preliminary plans to move the UN from New York to the Old Port of Montreal.
At the time, Raymond Bachand, then minister of economic development in charge of the Montreal region, supported the project.
Today, the former minister, who works in the private sector at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, wants to give this “structuring project” a boost.
“The mayor wants to get cars out of Old Montreal. It’s good to take them out, but you have to be able to bring people in,” he said.
When questioned by Le Journal, Jean-Drapeau Park confirmed that it had held discussions “with various actors in the mobility sector to examine the implementation of new innovative means of transport to serve the various points of interest in the park”.
“No final decision has been made at this point,” said spokesperson Jessica Gaulin.
– In collaboration with Dominique Cambron-Goulet and Philippe Langlois
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