In a series of public consultations, citizens of the greater Montreal area have raised concerns regarding the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM)’s plan to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of the greater Montreal region. Concerns centre around whether the plan will guarantee an adequate protection of the environment.
The Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD) project was proposed in April 2011 in order to accommodate an expected population increase of half a million people in the greater Montreal region over the next four years.
The PMAD is currently in the process of being approved by the government of Quebec.
Throughout the month of October, the plan will be discussed in a series of 11 public consultations, enabling citizens and organizations to express their opinions and concerns.
The PMAD aims to improve transportation, rearrange spaces to account for increased living density, and suggests the creation of green and blue belts around the island.
However, citizens have argued that environmental issues are only briefly mentioned in passing, and call for more concrete measures to be taken.
Green and blue belts would include various corridors for diversity, such as forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, flood plains, and islands.
Annie Tellier, president of the Société de biologie de Montréal, a non-profit science education group, stressed the importance of a greener Montreal, and the creation and preservation of more green spaces in the region.
“Construction is on the rise, and will only increase with time. Natural habitats are constantly being destroyed,” she explained.
Those present at the first consultation, held on September 28, demanded more attention given to the idea of green and blue belts around the island, and called for the creation of an ecological park to be added the PMAD’s objectives.
The park, known as the Parc Écologique de l’Archipel de Montréal, would extend from the Basses-Laurentides to the American border.
Second year CEGEP student at Marianopolis College Leehi Yona was responsible for launching the consultations. In an interview with The Daily, she expressed concern that, without such an ecological park, Quebec may not be able to reach objectives set by the Nagoya Protocol.
The Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the 1993 Convention of Biological Diversity, was adopted on October 29, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The protocol’s objectives aim to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
“The PMAD must include a zone that would preserve at least 12 per cent of the territory by 2015,” said Yona at the first consultation meeting.
Like Yona, many citizens believe that the creation of an ecological park would help the realization of this objective.
A representative from the CMM explained that the organization encouraged discussions at the consultations.
“The CMM hopes to work with citizens of the region in order to guarantee that the PMAD may better the lives of everyone over the next twenty years. Suggestions and modifications to the plan will be taken into account,” he stated.