For more than a year, Culture Montreal and many other civil society organizations have come together to reflect upon the challenges Montreal faces in order to become a more participative, inclusive, green and accessible city for all its citizens.
This open letter was originaly published in French in the ” Ideas ” pages of Le Devoir, June 3rd 2013 ]
A PEOPLE’S MONTREAL
On November 3rd, 2013, Montrealers have a date with our city’s future; an opportunity to decide the Montreal we want. We, the undersigned civil society organizations, have decided to join forces and think together about how to develop a more participatory, inclusive, and green city that is accessible to all Montrealers. Our network has been meeting for over a year now, and we represent groups that work directly with citizens who are committed to improving the democratic life of our city in diverse ways: through culture, the environment, social development, urban planning, housing, economic development, and other means.
Like all Montrealers, we are very concerned about the impact of recent revelations regarding city governance on the development of Montreal. Despite recent events, we believe in Montreal and we believe that Montrealers collectively possess the tools necessary to decide the fate of our city.
We passionately advocate for improved living conditions for the entire population, and especially for our fellow citizens living on low incomes and in disadvantaged areas. We hope to contribute to the public debate surrounding this year’s elections, and our first step is to share with you our common vision for A People’s Montreal, a declaration based on our shared experience and knowledge of our city.
Here are some examples of what A People’s Montreal proposes to the future candidates for city council:
• Build at least 22,500 new social housing units in the next 5 years and, to achieve this goal, develop a land trust of properties and buildings to dedicate to future social housing projects; make the Inclusion Strategy for Affordable Housing compulsory; prioritise housing for families; attack head-on the problem of housing sanitation and safety.
Quality of life and local services
• Adopt dedicated zoning strategies and other regulatory tools and support programmes aimed to insure access to local services (eg. essential businesses, health centres, schools and daycares) in all neighbourhoods
• recognize the arts, culture and heritage as essential to quality of life; put in place measures such as support for artists’ workshops and Cultural Quarters
• Maintain and develop strong commercial and industrial zones that support employment in all neighbourhoods; encourage mixed-use urban development
Transport and mobility
• Encourage public and active transport; increase the number of reserved lanes for buses on major roads; accelerate the construction of bike paths and improve pedestrian infrastructure
We will promote our vision for the future of Montreal at the public consultation on the Montreal Development Plan (Plan de développement de Montreal), which begins on June 3rd, as well as during the upcoming election. “It’s my city, it’s up to me!” We believe that this call to action, posted on the website of Élection Montréal, will be successful if and only if the candidates show a real consideration for the proposals of their fellow citizens regarding the future of our city. To have the Montreal we want, we call on all candidates in this year’s election to respond to our proposals. Your responses will determine our evaluation of your party platforms.
Our vision for A People’s Montreal is available on the websites of the organizations who have signed this letter. To our fellow citizens and civil society organizations: we invite you to read it, comment on it, and join us by signing our declaration and discussing your opinions with the candidates in your area. This common vision for A People’s Montreal is tool for all Montrealers to express concerns on these important issues. Make your voice heard!
The organizations that have signed this letter include:
Yves Bellavance, Coalition montréalaise des Tables de quartier
Simon Brault, Culture Montréal
Dinu Bumbaru, Héritage Montréal
Danielle Casara, Conseil régional FTQ Montréal métropolitain
Marie-José Corriveau, Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain
Coralie Deny, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal
Véronique De Sève, Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain -CSN
Marie-Josée Dupuis, Table de concertation des aînés de l’île de Montréal
Michel Lambert, Alternatives
Denis Leclerc, Réseau des CDEC de Montréal
Annie Rochette, Montreal Urban Ecology Center