Reaction from Les amis on the mayoral candidates’ debate on the environment

2009-10-13

Les amis de la montagne wants all mayoral candidates to take a clear stand in favour of the mountain's protection and its future

Montreal, October 9, 2009 – Following the debate on environmental issues organized by the Conseil régional de l’environnement on October 6th, Les amis de la montagne regrets that serious problems still persist concerning the protection of Mount Royal. The organization remains concerned about the mountain’s long-term protection, in particular the future of the large institutions situated on its flanks, such as the former Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary.
 
The three mayoral candidates recognized the need to protect Mount Royal and to limit development. However, the several minutes each candidate had to express their thoughts on the question did not allow them to elaborate on any real or tangible solutions to the critical challenges facing the preservation of the mountain’s heritage assets in the context of the current economic climate and where these same institutions are undergoing significant transformation.
 
“The different means proposed by the candidates, such as entrenching the institutional vocation of the mountain’s large religious properties in the Charte de Montréal as suggested by Louise Harel or imposing a moratorium on all new construction on institutional properties as suggested by Richard Bergeron, do not necessarily respond to the economic challenges tied to the maintenance and reuse of these heritage buildings. We know that these questions are crucial in the search for tangible solutions,” said Sylvie Guilbault, Executive Director of Les amis de la montagne.
 
The organization was pleased that Gérald Tremblay spoke of the importance of working with those concerned with the protection of the mountain before decisions are made and repeated his “what is green shall remain green” catchphrase. This position, however, contradicts the Tremblay administration’s decision to submit a project to construct 325 residential units on the property of the former Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary to public consultation. This proposed project would reduce the acreage of one of the most beautiful green spaces, located centrally adjacent to Mount Royal Park. Mr. Tremblay is leaving the decision to authorize this project in the hands of the Gouvernement du Québec.
 
“We expect the Ville de Montréal to take responsibility for the protection of the mountain and to ensure the transparent and rigorous management of the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District,” added Sylvie Guilbault. Montrealers will recall that a poll conducted by Léger Marketing in August 2009 indicated that 91% of the community was in favour of protecting all green and natural spaces, and to prohibit all new construction on Mount Royal.
 
“Montrealers’ willingness to protect the mountain is without question. Nonetheless, questions of the mountain’s capacity to receive new construction on its flanks remain entirely unresolved,” said Sylvie Guilbault. “Each candidate for the position of Mayor of Montreal must make their position clear on this particular protection challenge for one of this city’s most prominent symbols.”
 
 
 
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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.
 
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Information: 
Gabrielle Korn
Director of Communications
Les amis de la montagne
T: 514 843-8240 ext. 237
webmestre@lemontroyal.qc.ca