Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - August-September 2009

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Mount Royal: an election issue?
Following a break in July and August, Les amis de la montagne’s public forum will be back this Wednesday, September 2. Despite appearances of an otherwise tranquil summer, several projects on the mountain have been active. The most important two projects concern the repurposing of the former mother house of the Sœurs-des-Saints-Noms-de-Jésus-et-de-Marie in Outremont and the development of the former site of the Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary in Ville-Marie. The latter is a residential project presented in public consultation that comprises 325 units that would increase the built footprint of the property by 70% largely on existing green space. The project risks being authorised by the municipal council soon, albeit with certain modifications. (See the article below, « Green space not for sale ».)
Join us for a discussion on steps to be taken during the soon-to-be electoral campaign, to demand nothing less than exemplary projects on these two important sites and the protection of Mount Royal as an overriding priority.
For more information, contact François-Xavier Caron, public forum coordinator at 514 843-8240, ext. 241.

"Green Space Not For Sale": Is history repeating itself?
1986: Les amis de la montagne defend the mountain against an inappropriate development project.
2009: Les amis de la montagne defend the mountain against an inappropriate development project.
“Green Space Not For Sale”: project proposed for the site of the Sulpicians’ former philosophy seminary
Les amis de la montagne continued its political advocacy and information efforts throughout the summer to demand that the project proposed for the site of the Sulpicians' former philosophy seminary be reviewed in-depth and that it respect the protection principles upheld by citizens for their mountain. A great number of citizens also expressed their disagreement with the project during the consultations and in the weeks following.
Despite the critical report issued by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal on the Mount Royal Protection and Enhancement Plan and the project itself, representatives of the executive committee of the Ville de Montréal have declared their satisfaction over the commissioners’ recommendations concerning the change in the sites’ zoning from institutional to residential and have declared their intention to work with the developer to modify the projects’ plans as soon as possible.
The municipal council may decide to accept the project at their final meeting to be held before the elections on September 21. Les amis are concerned this project will be dealt with too quickly given that several fundamental protection issues have not been resolved, such as the definition of the mountain’s “limited capacity to receive new construction”, the preservation of institutional properties on the mountain and the protection of green spaces.
In order for the project to be acceptable, it needs to be reviewed along three criteria:
This site is of too great importance for the mountain and for future projects to deny a rigorous planning process in line with the governmental decree and the protection plan.
Les amis’ next public forum will be devoted in part to this important dossier.

New day camp for children on Mount Royal: what a lovely summer it was!
School has begun this week and summer is slowly coming to a close! Nonetheless, many youngsters will have happy memories of their day camp experience on the mountain, a total immersion in nature in the heart of downtown!
For this first year of day camp, Les amis welcomed 76 children ages 6 to 8, who discovered the secrets of the mountain and explored its many riches.
One happy family provided the following eloquent testimonial:
I wanted to congratulate your team for the lovely summer camp you offered. My children are still talking about their discoveries on the mountain. They are now more aware of and careful around nature.
Of course they would like to relive the experience all over again next year if the camp is again provided. Once again, good luck for next year and it will be our pleasure to recommend your camp!
Caroline, mother of Juliette and Zachary
Les amis wish to thank the parents for their vote of confidence and for a delightful time spent with the children this summer. We hope wholeheartedly to see you again next year!
Launch of Les amis de la montagne’s 2009-2010 school programs
Mount Royal is one of the most important green spaces in metropolitan Montreal. Easily accessible, the mountain is an ideal location for students to discover nature and history, or to simply live an unforgettable outdoor experience.
For close to 30 years, Les amis de la montagne have partnered with teachers in the greater Montreal area in reaching their pedagogical objectives.
Our environmental education programs place an emphasis on direct contact with the mountain’s heritage. We have a variety of pedagogical approaches and complementary activities that encourages scientific understanding, a sense of wonder and the emotional and sensorial discovery of the natural environment.
To obtain more information on our programs and services for school groups, please consult our 2009-2010 service offer (available in French). Contact us to reserve an outing in Mount Royal Park or for more information.

Environmental Stewardship Program – fall session
Increase your knowledge of conservation while contributing to the work of preserving the mountain’s biodiversity. The program this fall consists of controlling alien invasive species and planting indigenous trees and shrubs.
Participants must register in advance for the complete program. Contact Claude Drolet by calling 514 843-8240, ext. 242.
Discover the Mount Royal forest and the hidden treasures of the park with Les amis’ environmental educators
On Saturdays and Sundays from September 5 to October 11, Les amis de la montagne’s “travelling” animation on two alternating themes returns in the Beaver Lake area, along Olmsted Road and at the Kondiaronk lookout between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.: The Forests of Mount Royal: An Endangered Biodiversity and The Hidden Face of Mount Royal: Discovering the Park’s Little-Known Treasures.
Festival de la marche on Mount Royal on September 26 - register today!
The Festival de la marche is a unique opportunity to discover the mountain in a group, with your family or friends. This 12th edition of the festival, held for the first time on Mount Royal, is open to walkers and hikers of all levels. Participants will discover the many attractions and little-known corners of Mount Royal Park and its environs. Led by experienced guides, 8 designated trails will be featured, as well as an exhibitors’ fair, activities at the starting line and a festive gathering for participants at the end of the day.
Organized by the Fédération québécoise de la marche, Les amis de la montagne and five walking clubs from Montreal, visit the festival website for more information or to register.

“We’re tied to our mountain!”
Les amis de la montagne are organizing a friendly large-scale gathering suitable for the whole family on October 4th at 2 p.m. at the Chalet du Mont-Royal near the lookout. This extraordinary event will provide participants the opportunity to demonstrate their profound attachment to our mountain.
Details of the activity will be available soon and invitations will be forwarded shortly. Until then, put October 4th in your agenda and we look forward to seeing you atop Mount Royal!


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