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City holds public consultation
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 5 juillet 2012

Representatives from the city and community organizations met with the public on June 14 at the Saint-Raymond Centre to exchange concerns and ideas on urban agriculture in the borough.

NDG/CDN culture, sports, leisure and social development director Gilles Bergeron presented a brief portrait of the borough in terms of collective and community gardening. He announced that urban gardening would be supported by the new Policy to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle action plan.

The borough is examining the management and regulation of urban gardens in order to maximize efficacy and accessibility.

Melanie Stuy, community gardener, expressed concern over the precarious existence of urban gardens in the area. Bergeron acknowledged that the borough is indeed below the city average in terms of the number of urban gardening spaces, but explained that the city’s current sustainable development project has anticipated new plots and will prioritize CDN/NDG. Racicot pointed out the possibility of protecting gardening spaces by designating them within the same zoning code as parks.

Laurence Fauteux, animator and garden coordinator at Action Communiterre, noted that the panel’s presentation did not make any mention of brand new initiatives. She also questioned the lack of follow-up after Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) consultations and asked if the city would consider more “collaboration with organizations that are already on the field.” Bergeron noted that the borough is working with Action Communiterre and Corporation de Développement Economique Communautaire CDN/NDG (CDEC).

Constantin Marinescu, recognizing an “important moment” for the future of gardening in Montreal, nonetheless lamented the “150-name” waiting list of people hoping to gain access to gardening plots.

Lauren Bochereva lamented the fact that regulations on urban gardening have hindered her efforts to start a garden for the children of St. Monica School. The costs involved have been restrictive, she said, explaining that a garden big enough for several children costs much more, and even putting up a sign is $150. She claimed that zoning regulations limit who can get involved, keeping “other community members from participating.”

Sonya Girard, vicepresident of the Action Communiterre fundraising committee, asked for more support for her organization’s activities, describing a “constant struggle” to maintain resources and keep a stable number of employees. Girard said it has been difficult to maintain access to affordable space and transportation.

The panel encouraged residents to submit reports or projects to the OCPM website and ideas or concerns to www.montrealacultiver.com.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]





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