The RESO was created at the end of 1989 of the common will of the principal socio-economic actors of the southwest. It took up the reigns of the Pointe St. Charles Economic Program which was born in 1984. Whereas today we talk about the renewal of the Southwest at that time the talk was of the economic and social revival of a territory in decline.
A territory in difficulty, the southwest of Montreal was the birthplace of industrial development in Canada during the second half of the 19th century and was affected harshly by the closure of the Lachine Canal in 1965 in favor of the new St. Lawrence Seaway. Employment fell catastrophically from 1967 to 1988, the South-West lost 20,000 industrial jobs. The population also decreased from a high of 100,000 residents in 1950 to 69,000 in 1988.
The community reacts! If the political and decision makers of the time remained silent, the local community for its part reacted quickly. By the mid 1960’s to the late 1970’s, citizens united and organizations were born with the aim of curbing the deterioration of the living conditions of the population and to improve them. In 1984, together at a consultation table community organizations founded the Pointe Saint Charles Economic Program (PEP) the first experience of community economic development in an urban area.
At the origin of RESO: Consultation at that time, in the second half of the 1980’s, the discussion was on economic recovery, yet the South-West continued to lose jobs. In 1987 the closure of two factories, the Coleco Toy Factory and the Simmons Mattress Company, resulted in the layoff of 1,100 people. Faced with these events the social actors of the territory mobilized to put an end to the hemorrhaging of jobs. The creation of South-West Emergency, gave rise to the Committee for the Recovery, Economy, and Employment in the southwest of Montreal (CREESOM), bringing together representatives of the federal and provincial governments, municipal government, businesses, unions and community organizations of the South-West. The latter made a diagnosis and identified recovery measures for the South-West.
In its Recovery Plan made public in 1989, CREESOM recommended that the PEP at the time operating in a single neighbourhood extend its work to all of the South-West, which meant the inclusion of Saint-Henri, Little Burgundy, Point St. Charles, Cote St. Paul, Ville Emard, and Griffintown. According to CREEESOM’s recommendations, the new organization Coalition for Economic and Social Revitalization of the South-West (RESO) was given the mandate to put in place stimulus measures and a structure which was representative of the community and reflected on its Board of Directors composed of representatives from all sectors of the South-West.
Revitalization measures, Since its founding in 1989, RESO has been working to set up services that support the desires of people who want to re-enter the labour market as well as consolidate and develop South-West companies in the creation and maintenance of jobs.