Les amis challenge the mayoral candidates


Who is ready to commit to a definition of the mountain’s limited capacity to receive new construction?

Montreal, October 19, 2009 – Les amis de la montagne dedicated their monthly public forum to the notion of the mountain’s limited capacity to receive new construction on October 14th at Smith House. For the last several years, this expression has been raised in reference to development projects on the large institutional properties located on the flanks of the mountain. What exactly does the expression mean? Can there be new construction on Mount Royal?
Les amis’ forum united several experts in the field of urban planning including Clément Demers, executive director of the Société du Quartier international de Montréal, Nancy Dunton, architectural consultant, Peter Jacobs, professor in the École d’architecture du paysage of the Université de Montréal, Josette Michaud, architect and partner of Beaupré Michaud Architects, and Claire Poitras, professor and researcher at the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique. Numerous city and governmental representatives from cultural, urban planning and heritage ministries participated in the forum, a clear indicator of the importance of the question for the future of Montreal regarding the mountain’s limited capacity for new construction.
“We can draw the conclusion that the question regarding the mountain’s limited capacity to receive new construction is a difficult one to resolve,” said Sylvie Guilbault, executive director of Les amis de la montagne. “How can we conserve the exceptional character of Mount Royal? This question is fundamental to the future of our metropolis. Montreal needs a clear and inspiring vision from its municipal leaders with respect to the future of the mountain. We want all mayoral candidates of Montreal to explain their understanding of the mountain’s limited capacity to receive new construction and to tell us how they plan to go about controlling development on the mountain.”
Les amis de la montagne point out that the notion of the mountain’s limited capacity has several facets: should we forbid all new construction on Mount Royal? What about automobile traffic on the mountain? How can recreational activities and conservation practices coexist in natural spaces? What importance do we give to the mountain’s views and patrimonial landscapes that fashioned the history of Montreal?
“Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron have already indicated that they would support a freeze on all new construction on institutional properties on Mount Royal,” added Sylvie Guilbault. “Gérald Tremblay repeated his promise that what is green will remain green. However, none of the candidates explained to the voters how they would go about effectively protecting the mountain. Citizens are counting on a political commitment from the next municipal authority regarding this particular challenge, which will set the tone for all future projects on and around Mount Royal. We need a clear and precise vision carried by an unwavering commitment. Given Montrealers’ attachment to their mountain, this question needs to be a priority in the current electoral campaign.”
About Les amis de la montagne
Les amis de la montagne is an independent charitable organization founded in 1986 that works to protect and enhance Mount Royal through community involvement and environmental education. For more information on Les amis’ activities, visit www.lemontroyal.qc.ca.
Gabrielle Korn
Director of Communications
Les amis de la montagne
T: 514 843-8240 ext. 237