Press release - No referendum for the former Sulpician seminary
2010-11-12

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No referendum for the former Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary
ACCESSIBILITY TO MOUNT ROYAL REMAINS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE

Montreal, November 12, 2010
– Even though the required number of signatures was not obtained on November 11th to hold a referendum on the proposed residential project on the site of the former Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary on Mount Royal, the municipal administration cannot ignore the public dissatisfaction that persists around this project.

The original project presented during the May 2009 public consultations was highly controversial. Since then, the project has been modified substantially, reducing, among other elements, construction to the existing built volume, but withdrawing public access to the site, which was permitted by the former landowner, the Prêtes de St-Sulpice. Citizens who live in the vicinity were called upon yesterday to make their opinion heard on the project by way of a referendum process, but without the benefit of a presentation on the new project. The only items available to citizens were the notices published in newspapers and information documents devoid of plans and illustrations, written in terms about urban regulations and planning difficult for most laypersons to understand.

Unfortunately, as in many other Montreal dossiers, no discussion or working group forum exists where citizens and developers can work collaboratively and in advance of project proposals. The outcome of these long processes is confrontation and opposition, as trying for developers as they are for committed and responsible citizens, who ultimately, have to live every day with the results of these developments.

Accessibility is a major issue for Mount Royal and it has been erased from this project with no further negotiation or public discussion. This situation is all the more worrisome since this project is likely to set a precedent for all other institutions undergoing transformation on Mount Royal.

The institutional properties on Mount Royal are characterized as public sites and the maintenance of public access, which can take different forms, is fundamental, since the issue has been at the heart of debates on the future of the mountain for nearly 150 years. Les amis de la montagne will continue to ask the municipal administration to commit fully to its role as the protector of Mount Royal and its heritage, on behalf of the interests of the collective community. The organization will likewise ask the Minister of Culture and Communications to set up an efficient system of protection and enhancement for Mount Royal that equals, in exemplary fashion, the exceptional emblematic value of the site.
 
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Information:
Gabrielle Korn
Director of Communications
Les amis de la montagne
514 843-8240, ext. 237

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