October 23, 2019
Recap of the Budgetary General Assembly on September 26, 2019
On Thursday, September 26, the Société de développement commerciale du District Central held its 2019 Budgetary General Assembly. The objective of this meeting was to present to SDC members the highlights of 2019 and the 2020 budget recommended by the body’s Board of Directors.
The SDC’s mission is based on a vision shared with business leaders and elected representatives on the territory: to breathe new life into this legendary neighbourhood, to make it shine on a broader stage and to propel it to the very top of Montreal’s economic landscape. Through its actions, this young business—in only 3 years’ time—has been instrumental in positioning the district in Montreal’s business ecosystem. This young organization can credit its team of motivated professionals who are committed to, among other things, the creation of a distinctive brand image for the territory, its positioning in political, economic and media spheres, and the cultural animation of the sector. The SDC has taken flight and continues to spread its wings.
The Board of Directors’ believes that the financial burden of the District Central’s economic, social and cultural development should not rest solely on the shoulders of its members. There was consensus that developers, the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville and the Ville de Montréal greatly benefit, first and foremost, from the attractiveness of this area. This is the key element of the first version of the business plan deposited last April at the Ville de Montréal that extends to all community stakeholders. Anyone who benefits from the neighbourhood’s development must be financially involved.
The proposed 2020 budget thus meets a first need, to perpetuate the existence and effectiveness of the organization by consolidating the positions of the people who work there. One of the problems that SDC members often raise is the issue of manpower. If the SDC must act to help its members to correct this situation, it too must be facing the same reality. The current situation threatens the balance of the team and the effectiveness of the organization that is struggling to recruit and retain its staff.
Board members have proposed a budget that includes an increase in contributions for the following reasons: to maintain an attractive event strategy for neighbourhood residents and employees; to continue to focus on major development challenges of the District Central in terms of transport and land use planning; to continue to serve as a catalyst and spokesperson for the business world; to continue to facilitate the establishment of new businesses, trade and services; to ensure effective communication with our members and their employees; to maintain dialogue with public authorities and property owners on the territory to ensure better funding for the SDC.
It is important to note that membership fees remained the same during the SDC’s first three years in operation. It is also worth mentioning that contribution floors applied to the District Central are the lowest of all the SDCs on the Island of Montreal. As a result, a shortfall of $200,000 will have to be filled in the coming years. Even if the SDC’s budgetary situation is sound today, the long-term viability of its budget and its existence are not guaranteed.
Various contribution increase scenarios were carefully analyzed by Board members. Only one, however, can finance the structure in 2020, but also in the years to come.
Businesses with 2,000 sq. ft. or less of space currently pay $50 annually. Under the new budget, an increase of $25 is required. This increase of 50% represents an additional investment of $2 per month. For businesses with more than 9,700 sq. ft. of space, the increase will be $300 per year.
We are aware that for some businesses considerable effort is being asked for. Mortgaging the future of an organization that works on a daily basis for the benefit of all is not an option.
For the first time in history, a neutral, structured organization representing the interests of 1,800 business leaders was created. The SDC District Central provides a real opportunity to collaborate with private and public actors who each have a role to play in the economic, social and urban revitalization of the territory. The year ahead holds the potential to generate income from sources other than members. This is a priority objective that the SDC will continue to work toward in 2020.
We need the support and involvement of all those who care about the development of this neighbourhood that has so much to offer.
The Board of Directors of the Société de développement commercial du District Central