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Laval | A city between development and insecurity



The mayor of Laval will blow out the first candle of his mandate by inaugurating the construction site of a pharmaceutical factory with Justin Trudeau, this Monday, a project in his opinion emblematic of his leadership.

Private investments, overhaul of the urban planning code and summit on housing: Stéphane Boyer is “very satisfied” with his first 12 months at the head of the third largest city in Quebec. A year, however, darkened by tragedies and outbreaks of violence.

“I wanted, when I ran for mayor, that Laval would shine more,” said Mr. Boyer, in a telephone interview. “It’s a matter of citizens’ pride, of being proud to be from Laval. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s been a good year in that sense. »

In addition to the arrival of Moderna, which will manufacture millions of doses of vaccine in Laval, Mr. Boyer underlines the return of private investments to their pre-pandemic level, as well as a project for a huge “Cité du cinema” in the east of Jesus Island. “Laval has had the highest GDP growth in Quebec for two years in a row,” said Mr. Boyer. There is really a nice excitement. »

Violent episodes darken the picture

However, it was the violent events that caused more ink to flow, in spring and summer. May, June, July, August, October: almost every month saw its deadly shooting — sometimes in the middle of the public — in Laval during this period. To this sad record, we must add two family dramas in which three children were killed.

It’s a file “that has received a lot of attention in the past year,” he said. It concerns me. There were a lot of investments in the fall and winter,” he says.

Police reported this summer that there had been a 52% decrease in incidents with firearms. So it’s starting to pay off, but I don’t want to take that for granted. We are not immune to other incidents.

Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval

“We have to solve this problem,” he added. It’s not something we want for our city. »

Could this be the ransom of Laval’s gradual transformation from dormitory town to big city, the dark side of the coin of economic development? “No,” he decided. These are two quite distinct phenomena. Of course, when you’re a bigger city, more things happen, but you shouldn’t make a direct match between the two. »

An urbanism that enters modernity

For the rest of his mandate, Mr. Boyer intends to continue to “dusting off” the ways in which Laval develops its territory.

His administration passed a new urban planning code last summer, which increases the maximum building heights in the city center and more strictly protects wooded areas.

It was adopted in the division, the opposition at City Hall denouncing an overly expedited process.

“Laval is, in my opinion, entering modernity, 2022 is perhaps the year that will have marked a transition to a new way of developing the city. […] Under the Vaillancourt era, the City had been frozen in its ways. All that has been dusted off in the last few years. »

The mayor himself published a book this fall in which he promotes “car-free neighborhoods”. These ideas could be applied in the context of the redevelopment of large shopping centers located in the heart of Laval, said Mr. Boyer. “I think we could still see big changes quite quickly. »

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