Montréal, June 16, 2021 - Les amis de la montagne is pleased with the Government of Quebec and the City of Montréal’s intention to green the Royal Victoria Hospital site and improve public access to Mount Royal. However, the group would like fundamental questions about how the work will be carried out and how the heritage and natural integrity of this public property will be protected in perpetuity to be addressed. Les amis considers the issues of site ownership and long-term governance to be crucial. For several years, the group has been calling for public ownership of the land and for its collective vocation to be maintained, and for Mount Royal Park to be extended towards the City.
The City of Montréal has just adopted a draft by-law under section 89 of the Charter of the City of Montréal and a draft by-law authorizing the amendment of the Master Site Plan, to allow the Government of Quebec's Master Development Plan for the requalification of the Royal Victoria Hospital to be carried out. Consequently, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) has been mandated to hold a public consultation on the project by the end of the summer. 

The public consultation conducted by the OCPM will, we hope, allow us to highlight the fundamental components of the plan that must guide what we want to be an exemplary requalification of the site - public investments, governance, public ownership, land tools - in response to the needs and aspirations of the community. We invite citizens to participate in large numbers in this consultation that will determine the future of this invaluable public legacy. 
- Hélène Panaioti, Executive Director, Les amis de la montagne

Les amis points out the intentions of the Government of Quebec and the Ville de Montréal to improve the accessibility of public spaces on the mountain, including the development of two access points to Mount Royal Park, one of which will be an extension of the University axis, as well as the substantial reduction of parking spaces through the development of gardens and the consolidation of natural environments. 

While these intentions are encouraging, there are still fundamental issues that need to be addressed. Maintaining public ownership of the land will avoid the risks associated with privatization of the site and multiple ownerships, such as: subdivision of lots, piecemeal changes in regulatory frameworks, breaking the continuity between natural sites and public access, multiple decision-makers that may create governance difficulties, and sale or transfer of part of the property for profit or otherwise private purposes.  Les amis de la montagne will be watching to make sure that these intentions are carried out.

Karine Théberge
Interim Director of Communications
Les amis de la montagne
514 268-6962
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