Sunday, December 10, 2023

Where will future employees in Quebec’s battery sector live?

Housing is scarce in municipalities near future battery industry factories, where vacancy rates oscillated between 0 and 1.1% as of October 2022. And that’s not taking into account the influx of thousands of workers who are likely to live there in the next two years.

Why do we want to create thousands of jobs in McMasterville, when everyone in McMasterville is already working? The government says it will bring in people from outside, but we have nowhere to staymourned Jean-Philippe Meloche, director of the Faculty of Planning at the University of Montreal.

Ottawa and Quebec should be announced this week the largest (project) seen in the history of Quebec in the private sector, according to Minister of the Economy Pierre Fitzgibbon. The opening of the Northvolt battery manufacturing plant will lead to the creation of 4,000 jobs in Vallée-du-Richelieu. Already, 700 citizens have signed a petition to criticize the consequences of the project on the quality of life of the residents of the region.

The opening of the factory was announced last year in Valley of energy transfer of Coalition Avenir Québec, in Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec, a total of almost 800 new jobs. Finally, the minister estimates that 10,000 workers will be part of the new Legault government sector, which will not hesitate to open the immigration valves to do so.

I think we have a lot of temporary foreigners coming here. We can bring in as many people as we want to fill positions that can’t be filled here in Quebec.

It’s far from balanced

The vacancy rate for rental apartments was 1.7% in Quebec last year, a record low. But this rate is more alarming for the municipalities affected by this new sector.

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In Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, the vacancy rate is 0.3%, and in Beloeil, 1.1%, the two towns closest to the future McMasterville factory where data is available. The numbers are well below the balance point between supply and demand, established at 3%.

In Mont-Saint-Hilaire, the average rate for all accommodation does not apply. The rate for one bedroom and three bedroom apartments is, but it is 0%.

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Only the cities of Longueuil and Saint-Hyacinthe suggest better conditions for newcomers, with respective vacancy rates of 1 and 2%. Prices in Longueuil are also more profitable: the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,245, compared to $1,350 in Vallée-du-Richelieu, according to Zipplex.

The prospect of seeing workers commuting daily between Montreal and the future Northvolt factory is not far off, Professor Polèse believes, since McMasterville is part of the integrated market of the Montreal metropolitan region. This has an impact on the demand for housing in a large radius around McMasterville, but it is not certain that it will be felt directly by the municipality.

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A theory that Mr. Meloche also follows. There are people who live in McMasterville and work in Montreal, so the opposite is possible. But this change in situation is surprising given the housing prices in Montreal. But if there is scarcity, it can flood the island.

Last year, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,300 in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, $1,750 in Plateau-Mont-Royal and $1,995 in Ville-Marie, the three boroughs closest to the connecting bridges. of the metropolis to it. South Shore.

Land market

The impact on residential sales should be moderate, according to professor emeritus of the INRS Urbanization Culture Society Center, Mario Polèse. In general, the immigrants who arrived, they rented in the first months, even in the first years. They don’t buy like that when they come, you have to know the place. This is also the case for better-off immigrants.

Insufficient supply

The grass is never greener Valley of energy transfer. In the metropolitan region of Trois-Rivières, the vacancy rate is 0.9%, while in Shawinigan, it is 0.7%.

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The arrival of these companies will shake the local dynamics, believes Professor Meloche, who anticipates long journeys for workers. They can live in Trois-Rivières, in Shawinigan, and even in Drummondville (if the housing supply is insufficient). People are willing to travel far to Quebec for a good job.

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However, in these three cities, the housing crisis is also very present. Market rent prices, those faced by newcomers to the area, have increased by about $100 this past year, according to Zipplex, a tool that compiles data on rents posted online.

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In Yamachiche, housing availability is 0%. And this, all types of housing are combined. We are satisfied, Mayor Paul Carbonneau confirmed to Radio-Canada. No land anywhere, no house to sell, nothing. Even foreign workers who work at the Olymel plant, right in Yamachiche, have to travel by bus to Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan or elsewhere, he added.

This is why the municipality plans to sell, in the next two years, 85 lots whose zoning was recently changed to accommodate multi-unit buildings, single-family homes and townhouses, a total of 200 units.

Although Mayor Carbonneau is convinced that these future developments will attract future workers to the Bécancour industrial park, he agrees that they are not enough to fill the increased demand expected in the region.

Several other residential development projects are planned at this innovation hub, but the number of units that will be added to the existing housing stock has not yet been revealed. In Bécancour, an agricultural rezoning project to build 108 housing units, known as Terrasses Godefroy, will be subject to a referendum on October 1.

Nation World News Desk
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