Office de consultation publique de Montréal

Office de consultation publique de Montréal

June 02, 2005 23:59 ET

Annual Report 2004: Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal Requests Adoption of Agglomeration Development Plan and Restoration of Obligation to Hold Consultations

MONTREAL, June 2--Jean-François Viau, President of the
Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), made public this morning
the annual report of the Office for 2004.

The consultations held by the Office deal with matters pertaining to
planning and development, or with City policy projects. In 2004, the main
mandates entrusted to the Office led to major consultations on the revision of
the Urban Plan, the review of the draft Montréal Charter of Rights and
Responsibilities, and the Policy Respecting the Natural Environment.

"Over the course of 2004, the Office dealt with major policy projects.
The OCPM reconfirmed its role as one of the City's major democratic
instruments. Its reports to City Council faithfully reflected the concerns
expressed by consultation participants," said Mr. Viau upon making public the
report.

Since the coming into force of Bill 33, in December 2003, the mandate of
the Office has been changed significantly. The provisions of the Bill remove
the obligation for the OCPM to hold public consultations on all amendments to
Montréal's Urban Plan. The number of mandates that must mandatorily be
entrusted to the Office is diminishing, if not disappearing. This severely
threatens citizens' participation in the decision-making process. An
independent organization such as the OCPM should not receive all of its
mandates on a discretionary basis, but should be considered a natural step in
Montrealers' participation in decisions dealing with issues that affect their
natural and living environments.

Moreover, following the municipal elections next November, the
reconstituted cities can amend their planning programs, under the Act
Respecting Land Use Planning and Development. They will not be required to
comply with the current Urban Plan. In that context, the OCPM recommends that
the pan-Montréal elements of Montréal's current Urban Plan become the land-use
plan for the agglomeration. Any and all amendments should be made based on
common orientations, and the legislation should be amended accordingly.

"The practices of the OCPM being well established, recognized and
accepted by civil society, independent public consultation should be re-
introduced for amendments to the Urban Plan. The Office shold be in a position
to intervene throughout current Montréal territory for anything pertaining to
the agglomeration's future land-use plan," says Mr. Viau.

Furthermore, the OCPM should play a statutory role in projects that
involve several boroughs or municipalities of the agglomeration, and in the
management of emblematic or strategic areas, such as Old Montréal, Mont-Royal
and Downtown, for example. Consequently, funding and the appointment of the
OCPM president and commissioners should fall under the responsibility of the
Agglomeration Council, according to terms to be defined that will preserve the
independence of the Office.

Over the period covered by this annual report, the Office dealt with 12
different projects, requiring 42 meetings attended by over 3,000 citizens. For
each of these consultations, the Office published one or more public notices,
distributed flyers door to door throughout the area surrounding the project,
and made all relevant information available on its Web site at www.ocpm.qc.ca.
Over 20,000 flyers and 2,000 posters were distributed and made available at
104 service points throughout Montréal territory. Furthermore, 900,000
Montréal households received an information booklet on the consultation on the
Urban Plan. Fifty-one notices were published in 13 different newspapers, and
meetings were held in 17 boroughs. The Internet site received more than one
million visits, double the figure for the previous period.

The work of the Office continues in 2005 with other projects related to
the Urban Plan, and with hearings on policy projects, notably those respecting
culture and heritage.

All this amounts to 65 mandates entrusted to the Office since its
beginnings, involving more than 10,000 citizens who have attended the 186
meeting held to date.

The mission of the OCPM, created under the Charter of Ville de Montréal,
is to carry out public consultation mandates on matters under the jurisdiction
of the City of Montréal, notably on land-use planning and development
projects, and on all projects designated by the City Council or Executive
Committee. These consultations are led by commissioners, appointed by City
Council, who are neither municipal elected officials nor employees, thereby
ensuring a fair, transparent and effective process.

Contact Information

  • Luc Doray, (514) 872-3568, Cell.
    (514) 977-8365