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Borough maintains Healthy Lifestyles policy
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 19 avril 2012

Photo: Ingrid Wissink

Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand.

An innovative new plan for the Côte-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN/NDG) borough, The Policy to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle, was described in detail at an information session on Apr. 3.

The strategy includes the promotion of healthy eating and transportation alternatives such as walking, biking, and public transit, as well as the improvement of area parks. The CDN/NDG borough was the first to adopt such a plan, which it approved Jan. 16. The plan also suggests banning vending machines in sporting facilities.

Marvin Rotrand, the Snowdon councillor responsible for the file, hopes to “lead by example,” asserting that other boroughs “love what we’re doing” but haven’t yet adopted a policy. “A series of small gestures can have a big impact on public health,” he said, citing the creation of several mini-parks that allow residents to reclaim outdoor space.

Representatives from various organizations, including the Société de transport de Montréal, Québec en Forme, and CHU Sainte-Justine were present.

Gilles Bergeron, borough manager of culture, sports, recreation and social development, stressed that the plan aims to “suggest, inspire, and promote” good habits as opposed to controlling the population. In implementing the plan gradually, he says, “we’ll be able to adjust our aim.”

Daniel Lafond, the borough’s planning manager, presented an ambitious plan to create adapted infrastructure around the triangle of land formed by Mountain Sights, de la Savane and Jean-Talon.

With the city planning to invest $30 million for construction in the area over the next three years, Lafond’s team will foster more pedestrian-oriented, European lifestyles by creating dedicated passageways for pedestrians and facilitating access to public transportation.

The key to urban planning is bringing services close to where people live in order to reduce traffic. “It’s going to be a very big change for our borough, a green project as a hedge against urban sprawl,” said Lafond.

Marie-Pier Chénard, a research analyst for the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems, described her organization’s fight against obesity by advocating for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and measures to regulate the marketing of junk food to children.

Attendees at the public information session brought up complaints about water quality, cyclist safety, and the wait for access to an urban gardening plot.

Also, a representative from the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs stated her concern over the ever-increasing lack of spaces for sporting activities. They run a popular Zumba program, and wanted to know if they will be able to continue to provide these services at a reasonable costs.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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