Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations costing a billion dollars: report

How much are Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations costing us?

At least a billion dollars, according to some calculations by Radio-Canada.

The French-language news agency found that the figure of just over a billion dollars includes so-called legacy projects that make up nearly 90% of the spending: the lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge; fixing up Jean-Drapeau Park and building a new amphitheatre; revamping parts of the Port of Montreal including the Alexandra Pier.

Other expenses include hiring extra workers and more policing.

Montreal taxpayers are footing about 40% of the bill, while the Quebec government is kicking in about 30%, the federal government is putting in 5% and other funding is coming from various municipalities and the private sector.

Projet Montreal city councillor and opposition critic Alex Norris said not all the projects are bad but added that many are dubious.

"That's an eye-popping figure and we would be more at ease with these investments if we truly thought they were leaving lasting value for Montrealers," said Norris in an interview with CJAD 800 News, citing the granite stumps built as works of art on Mont Royal and the cutting of a thousand trees to make way for the new concert space at Jean-Drapeau Park.

"Too many of these projects are ill-conceived and don't provide lasting value in our view."

Radio-Canada compiled the numbers between April 25 and May 9, 2017 and validated them with figures from the city as well as the federal and provincial governments.