Tourism and CAQ promises: a committee of citizens of Old Quebec has strong reservations

Tourism and CAQ promises: a committee of citizens of Old Quebec issues strong reserves


The CAQ's desire to increase the number of tourists by 35% by 2040 in the Quebec City metropolitan area is causing serious concern to the Citizens' Committee of Old Quebec.< /p>

Outgoing Premier François Legault mentioned this target Friday morning when announcing that he wants to resurrect the Champlain Market in Quebec's lower town.

“It's completely against what we hears here at the OWHC congress”, is alarmed by the president of the citizens' committee, Michel Masse, in reference to the summit of the Organization of World Heritage Cities which ended on Friday.

He believes that cohabitation is already difficult at times, such as during the last tourist season before the pandemic.

“Having living cities does not mean that tourists step on their feet […]. If we go back to 2019 where the sidewalks are crowded, there are traffic jams everywhere, queues at the entrance to restaurants, it is not an interesting experience for tourists, ”he says. /p>

“Decompartmentalising the tourist offer, ensuring that it is more diversified throughout the city and […] taking steps to have more residents in Old Quebec, c that's the way to go” according to him.

Question of dosage

For the director of the Coopérative du quartier Petit Champlain, Charles Demers, everything is a question of dosage and of ensuring that visitors, in particular cruise passengers are not concentrated in the same place at the same time.

If criticisms were heard in 2019, they have subsided according to him this year. He maintains that the efforts of Destination Québec cité and the Port of Québec have made it possible to find a better balance.

Thus, he is open to the 35% target provided that it is reached in a considered manner. and in consultation with local stakeholders.

“There are times when there is little tourism. There are slack periods, and to ensure that there is traffic throughout the year, I would tell you that the cooperative sees that in a good light.”

Favorable Merchants

On the other hand, he “welcomes” the CAQ proposal to resuscitate the Champlain Market.

“These are important investments to enhance the heritage of Old Quebec and we believe that it can be a good thing . It is clear that I would tell you that if the project goes ahead, we want to be consulted and involved throughout the process,” says Mr. Demers.

He believes that the project could respond to the poor food supply for residents since the departure of the Old Port market. He hopes that the new developments will improve accessibility and mobility in the neighborhood.

For his part, Mr. Masse believes that the project “raises a lot of questions”. He underlines that the tourist, commercial and catering offer is already significant in the sector and that there are traffic issues to be corrected.

“It is certain that we want an offer eating. We will have to see what will really be offered there and if it is the right place to do it, ”he says.

“Not uninteresting” according to the mayor

Mayor Bruno Marchand reacted to the CAQ's public market project in a written statement. “It's not uninteresting and it deserves to be studied,” he said, adding that he wanted to “take the time to analyze” the rest of the party's promises.

For its part, the maritime transport company Desgagnés, whose head office is located on the site where the project would be built, claims to have been informed of this announcement a few days ago. 

The CEO, Louis-Marie Beaulieu, says he does not have enough details in hand to take a position or specify the impacts on his organization, but hopes to have a say if the government decides to go ahead. “We are at home,” he recalls.

Note that a heritage building, the former Transcontinental Railways station, is also on the site and does not appear in the sketch of the project presented in the CAQ's promotional video.

The Grand Marché is reaching out

Finally, the new general manager of the Grand Marché de Québec, inaugurated at a cost of $25 million in 2019 at ExpoCité, is adopting an open stance in this folder.

“It's not competition. I think there's really room, but we have to see after that what the consumer needs in addition to the already existing and well-positioned offer in Quebec,” says Steve Ross.

He wants the Grand Marché and its manager, the Horticultural Cooperative, to have a “voice around the table” and bring their expertise to develop an offer that is “complementary”.

— With the collaboration of Stéphanie Martin

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