2008 annual report: OCPM requests formal response mechanism for recommendations made in its reports

    MONTREAL, May 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Office de consultation publique de
Montréal makes public today its 2008 annual report. The report will be tabled
at the city council meeting at the end of the month, as provided for under the
Charter of Ville de Montréal. The document outlines the activities of the
Office over the past year, in addition to making a few recommendations, as the
Charter invites it to do.
    The year 2008 was marked by a major consultation effort on the protection
and enhancement of Mount Royal, and on projects planned in the historic and
natural borough of Mont Royal.
    Firstly, the public consultation on the Mount Royal Master Protection and
Enhancement Plan and its regulatory framework gave rise to the largest public
participation since the OCPM's beginnings in 2002. The Office employed for the
occasion new instruments to reach and consult the greatest possible number of
interested persons. More than 3500 Montrealers participated, demonstrating the
community's strong identification with the mountain.
    The expansion of the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf sports complex, the
expansion project for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the
Montréal General Hospital, the planned belt road and traversing roads on the
mountain, and the renewal of the lease allowing the Société Radio-Canada to
keep its broadcasting antenna at the heart of Parc du mont Royal allowed us to
examine the concrete application of the City's "structured development"
approach for the historic and natural borough of Mont-Royal. For the Office,
these consultation exercises concentrated in a short period of time posed the
problem of coherent analysis in the absence of a plan approved by elected
officials, and led to the development of new inter-commission work mechanisms.
Incidentally, the Mount Royal Master Protection and Enhancement Plan was just
recently assented to at the council meeting in April.
    The Office was also given the mandate to hold consultations on two other
master development plans, for the site of the old CN shops in the Sud-Ouest
borough, and the site of the Maison de Radio-Canada in the borough of
    In both of the above cases, the issue of follow-up was raised, as always
happens, especially when the consultation concerns major projects extending
over several years. At the end of every consultation, the Office submits to
the executive committee or city council a report, usually containing
recommendations on a variety of issues, as provided for under the City
Charter. "The follow-up on those reports can take various forms, including
amendments to the draft by-laws under review, implementation of the
commissions' suggestions, or no follow-up at all. Over the years, citizens
have found it difficult to evaluate the impact of their participation in
Office hearings and to track steps taken by the administration after the
reports are filed. We ourselves have only a partial picture of the follow-up
issue," says Office president Louise Roy.
    "In that context, and given the importance of issues submitted to the
Office in recent years, we recommend the implementation of an automatic
response mechanism to the commissions' recommendations," she adds. The
mechanism could be similar to that already in place for city council standing
committees. When those committees file their reports, the executive committee
must inform city council within a prescribed time limit of the follow-up to be
    Lastly, it is important to note a significant modification to the mandate
of the Office introduced in the City Charter with the adoption by the Québec
National Assembly of Bill 22, an Act to amend various legislative provisions
concerning Montréal. The Act amends section 83 of the Charter of Ville de
Montréal and provides that the OCPM may be mandated "to hold a public
consultation on any draft by-law amending the city's planning program, except
those adopted by a borough council."
    This is a new development. The amendments to the Montréal Master Plan
initiated by City Council will automatically be submitted to the Office. This
new provision confirms the role of the OCPM in reviewing major projects of
metropolitan scope and projects affecting more than one borough. Ms. Roy
indicated that the OCPM looks forward to future opportunities to develop this
new field of expertise, and that this expansion of the role of the OCPM
confirms the relevance of debates on the necessity of holding two-stage
consultations for major projects.
    For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the annual report,
please visit the OCPM Web site, www.ocpm.qc.ca.

For further information:

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

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