2006 Annual Report: Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal Reviews Last Year

    MONTREAL, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - This morning, Office de consultation
publique de Montréal (OCPM) President Louise Roy made public the annual report
of the Office for 2006.
    Since its inception in 2002, the Office has held more than
300 consultation meetings on some 60 projects, providing information to over
20,000 Montrealers and allowing them to express their opinions on a great
variety of both local and metropolitan projects. The year 2006 saw the
confirmation of the public consultation role of the Office on major
metropolitan projects, a direct result of the changes brought to its mission
under the December 2003 amendments to the City Charter. Unlike in 2005, all
mandates entrusted to the Office last year dealt with urban planning and land
use management projects.
    In conducting consultations on those highly important projects, the
Office began a process of reflection on a few major recurring questions
concerning land use. The commissioners focused on the reconciliation of the
development and protection of natural environments, and on the use of the
consultation process as a forum for discussion on associated issues. This
presented itself in projects located within the perimeter of the historic and
natural borough of Mont Royal, but the problem may also arise in projects near
large natural environments, such as eco-territories.
    A second consideration concerned the place reserved for the automobile in
new developments near métro stations. The Urban Plan provides for a
densification of those areas as a means of implementing the desired increase
in public transit use. On what, then, does one base discussions on the parking
requirements of future occupants? On the place reserved for green spaces,
often competing with parking spaces on limited territory? Two of the projects
studied by the Office this year opened that debate.
    The OCPM quite often deals with the construction or conversion of
residential buildings. This was especially true in 2006, in projects involving
the development of the site of the old Rosemont municipal yards and the
conversion of the building Le Nordelec. The social mix is always a
consideration: what are the conditions of a good social mix; what percentage
of the buildings should be reserved for social or affordable housing; what are
the governance options to be considered; the part to be reserved for coops,
for non-profit organizations, and for the private sector?
    The CHUM 2010 project established the foundations for a reflection on
conditions surrounding the insertion of a major institutional complex in a
very dense urban environment, in downtown Montréal. It is a highly complex
issue, involving elements linked to the preservation of the oldest built
heritage, the phasing of work, the effect on the neighbourhood housing stock,
notably in terms of rental costs, commercial life, public health for residents
while the work is in progress and, lastly, automobile circulation in the area
surrounding the project. The traffic issue allowed us to examine the larger
issues of managing transportation to downtown and reconstituting the urban
fabric between Old Montréal and the Quartier Latin.
    The Office also tackled other aspects of its mandate in 2006. We have
begun to compile examples of past and present public consultation practices in
Montréal boroughs and central departments. They display a great variety of
often very innovative experiences. The first publication of this compilation
was released in early 2007. The Office also focused on a training process for
elected officials on the principles and practices of public consultation and
participation. The product of our reflection on this matter has been submitted
to political authorities of the city for comment. Further action should follow
in 2007.

    If 2006 was a year of change, 2007 will be a milestone year: the Office
was created five years ago. A first update will be in order in light of the
evolution of the role of the Office and the importance of the consultation
process in Montréal municipal life.

For further information:

For further information: Luc Doray, (514) 872-3568, Cell.: (514)

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