Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - January 2009

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The next public forum will be held Wednesday, January 14, 2009 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Smith House.
"Residential renovation within the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District"
The Trafalgar, photo: Ville de Montréal
The Mount Royal Historic and Natural District (MRHND) is composed of many residential areas characterized by a diversity of building types and architectural details. Although urban development is now rare within these areas, the multiplication of minor renovations and the lack of maintenance on residential properties can gradually alter the built landscape of the mountain.
Join our invited guests to learn about and discuss the challenges of residential renovation within the MRHND.
On the agenda:

For more information, please contact François-Xavier Caron, public forum coordinator.


Radio-Canada’s telecommunications tower: update on the report by the public consultation office
The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) submitted its report on November 24th last concerning the Société Radio-Canada’s renewal of its contract to rent space for its telecommunications tower in Mount Royal Park.
Les amis de la montagne applaud the recommendations of the public consultation office, several of which were proposed by Les amis in their position paper on the subject. The main recommendation seeks to reduce the length of the contract from 10 to five years with an option to renew after five years, conditional on three studies. The studies include the feasibility and costs of relocating the tower outside the limits of Mount Royal, the historic and heritage value of the tower and the identification of solutions to lessen the impact of the tower on the mountain landscape.
Following the recommendations of the OCPM, the Ville de Montréal stated that the Société Radio-Canada is about to carry out the study on the feasibility and costs of relocation; collaborate on the enhancement of the tower; and produce a report on the status of the tower with respect to security norms established by Industry Canada regarding modifications to antennas.
While Les amis salute these additions to the contract, the organization remains disappointed that the main recommendation concerning the length and conditions of the contract renewal were disregarded by the parties concerned.
We invite you to consult the following documents (available in French):
Report on the meeting of the Table de concertation du Mont-Royal
The Table de concertation du Mont-Royal, of which Les amis de la montagne is a member, held its biannual meeting on December 12th last. Numerous important dossiers concerning Mount Royal were treated, including the transportation plan, the security plan, the patrimonial pact and the action plan concerning protection measures for the mountain. We invite you to consult the documents related to these topics and to share your thoughts and ideas with us in preparation for the next meeting of the chairman’s committee to be held January 30, 2009.
We invite you to consult the following documents (available in French):
Building plans on Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges – Les amis appeal the decision
An eight-storey (27-metre) building of mixed vocation could be constructed on the site of the former service station located at 4470 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, corner Avenue Forest Hill. The building project, named Le Forest Hill, does not conform to the stipulations of the new draft regulations that have been in effect for the last year for all new construction within the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District. The project was submitted by the promoter, Groupe SBI, four days prior to the coming in effect of the regulation and is therefore, exempt of the measures put into place to ensure the protection of the mountain. By virtue of this new regulation, the building promoter would have been required to limit the height of the building to 16 metres. Les amis de la montagne are appealing the decision to the Côte-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough council.
Image from the presentation made at the demolition
permit request meeting
Click here for further information on the construction proposal that was presented during a meeting of the CDN-NDG borough’s Comité d’études des demandes de demolition.
Dinu Bumbaru is appointed to the Order of Canada
Dinu Bumbaru, Governor of Les amis de la montagne and Policy Director of Héritage Montréal was appointed to the Order of Canada on December 30, 2008, in recognition of his leadership in promoting, protecting and enhancing the historical, natural and cultural heritage of the Montreal area, and for his dedication to preserving world heritage sites. Congratulations!

Educational content for school children will soon be added to interactive map of Mount Royal
The interactive map of Mount Royal, online since last October, is an original and information-rich tool that invites you to discover Mount Royal’s many assets. Les amis de la montagne are currently continuing the development of the site in order to add points of discovery for school children.
The interactive map will therefore contain pedagogical tools combined with activities geared to children, together with a variety of downloadable podcasts. Teachers interested in helping Les amis evaluate the content of the site are invited to contact project coordinator Jean-Michel Villanove before the end of January.
Snowshoeing on Mount Royal – the "trail" towards responsible recreation
There’s nothing like fresh-fallen snow to bring out snowshoers on Mount Royal! For a second year, a designated trail has been marked for snowshoers in Mount Royal Park, a 3 km loop beginning at the Beaver Lake pavilion. This trail allows you to discover the beauty of the mountain forest under its blanket of snow, the footprints of wild animals and the spectacular views of the city and river below, while conserving the natural environment of the mountain.
In fact, by following this designated trail, you help to reduce the degradation of the fragile underbrush since foot traffic in the area breaks branches and the tops of young saplings hidden by the snow, threatening their ability to regenerate. In the last several years, tree plantings have been held in the wooded areas most accessible from Beaver Lake. Natural regeneration of trees in this disturbed area is problematic. A large number of otherwise vulnerable saplings are present in this area. One study has demonstrated that the low survival rate of saplings planted on Mount Royal is due in large part to the disturbances caused by snowshoers walking through the underbrush.
This winter, for a pleasant and forest-friendly tramp in the woods, please take the designated snowshoe trail!

“Jackrabbit” cross-country ski lessons for children on Mount Royal are now offered
Beginning January 10, 2009, Les amis de la montagne are launching the Ski de fond Québec cross-country ski initiation course called “Jackrabbit” in Mount Royal Park.
This program is for children 6 to 9 years old and will teach both the classic and freestyle methods. The Jackrabbit course has four technical levels and emphasizes the progressive integration of additional techniques, such as waxing, equipment, safety and ethics.
To help with skill perfection in an atmosphere of fun, the instructor will use a variety of educational tools, including a series of 70 activity cards, as well as games, chases, relays, races and courses. The course duration is for six 1.5 hour sessions over six consecutive Saturday mornings, beginning January 10, 2009 to February 14, 2009. Courses are offered at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The course costs $200 plus taxes including equipment rental (boots, skis and poles) or $160 plus taxes, if you have your own equipment. Registration will end the morning of January 10, 2009.
To register your child, you must complete the registration form and payment in person at the following locations: 
Bird-watching on the mountain – an activity for the whole family
Evening Grosbeaks, photos: Les amis de la montagne
To fully appreciate the birds of Mount Royal this winter, come and join Les amis de la montagne for a family-friendly guided walk along the bird feeder circuit on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. beginning January 10 to March 14, 2009.
Accompany a member of the conservation patrol as they fill the feeders along this 2 km loop around the mountain’s summit and spot the many species of birds that feed, their different habitats on the mountain and the type of food they seek this time of year.
Different questions will be explored: does the presence of feeders influence the birds’ behaviour? Do birds become dependent upon the feeders? Where have all the Evening Grosbeaks gone? … and more!

Registration is now open – places are limited!
On February 19, Mount Royal will be aglow during one of the most magical events of the Montréal winter season, the 12th edition of the Tuques Bleues Celebration and Snowshoe Event.
Honourary co-chairs, Isabelle Hudon, President of Marketel, and Rémi Racine, Chairman of the Board of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and President and Executive Producer of Artificial Mind & Movement, invite all mountain admirers to contribute to the evening’s success in the following manner:
Every year, some 800 people gather on the mountain for this exceptional and unique night time fund-raising evening that recalls the famous torchlit snowshoe hikes of the early 19th Century and that has an objective of raising $250,000, a third of the goal set for Les amis’ annual campaign.
To register, please complete the registration form or visit the event webpage to make a secure online payment.

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