Office de consultation publique de Montréal

Office de consultation publique de Montréal

May 07, 2009 09:32 ET

2008 Annual Report: OCPM Requests Formal Response Mechanism for Recommendations Made in its Reports

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 7, 2009) - The Office de consultation publique de Montreal 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 Montreal. 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 College Jean-de-Brebeuf sports complex, the expansion project for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Montreal General Hospital, the planned belt road and traversing roads on the mountain, and the renewal of the lease allowing the Societe 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 Ville-Marie.

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 conducted.

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 Quebec National Assembly of Bill 22, an Act to amend various legislative provisions concerning Montreal. The Act amends section 83 of the Charter of Ville de Montreal 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 Montreal 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.

Contact Information

  • Office de consultation publique de Montreal
    Luc Doray
    514-872-3568
    Cell: 514-977-8365
    www.ocpm.qc.ca