A dozen residents showed up for question period at the borough council meeting held during the March Break. Some people had questions about two issues that are sensitive these days at city council: political integrity and the official bilingual status of municipalities.
Joel Coppieters wanted to know exactly how useful the city’s code of conduct for employees is, in the light of the Charbonneau Commission’s revelations. “I find it ironic – if the code of conduct had been followed there wouldn’t be so much bad news at the commission,” he said.
Anglophone Andrew Ross congratulated Marvin Rotrand for his motion, subsequently approved by city council, supporting the officially bilingual status of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough. Ross wanted to know what the CDN-NDG borough will do to reassure anglophones who worry about continuing to receive English communications in a borough that isn’t officially bilingual. The province is currently looking at Bill 14, which will change Bill 101.
Community activist Sharon Leslie pointed to problems with public consultation in the borough. She says that, in spite of the desire of the current council to adopt “best practices” and the opening of Urban Planning committee meetings to the public, the administration didn’t adequately inform the public about OCPM consultations. “The only people who knew about it were residents who were at the last council meeting or the few who consulted the borough’s web site.»
The plight of older citizens also raised concerns. Karen Urtnowski wanted to know what budget is allocated to the borough’s five-year plan for the elderly. Another citizen, Françoise Taub, wants to see more facilities and exercise opportunities for senior citizens in public parks, just as public money is invested in infrastructure for families and children.
Asked to do so by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand, Mayor Lionel Perez briefly talked about his first 100 days in office. He had to learn about the issues in all of the borough’s districts and faced several challenges. “The most important task was to regain the citizenry’s trust,” he said, while highlighting his initiatives on governance and transparency. “We’re encouraging participation by making it possible for residents to put questions to council by email,” he said. “My nomination as president of the city commission that examines contracts lets me really examine and take part in the nitty-gritty of awarding contracts. I can make concrete recommendations while evaluating how contracts are tendered and awarded. My background and training allow me to participate fully.”
Perez added that he’s involved in other important files, like the MUHC project and a plan for the St. Raymond neighbourhood. “For example, today I met with members of the NDG Cyclist and Pedestrian Association and central services to see if meetings with Vélo Quebec can be arranged. We’re closely following the OCPM consultations so that we can meet residents’ needs. I feel very privileged and happy to be able to continue to participate in my current position until November.”
Outdoor rink conditions
Stéphane Plante, borough director, talked about outdoor rink conditions during the March Break while answering a question from NDG councillor Peter McQueen. Flooding has been suspended due to the mild weather, but maintenance teams are working until the end of the week to keep the rinks open.
The refrigerated Montreal Canadiens’ rink can be kept open for a while in spite of the challenges of this first season. “Some days it had to be closed to allow the staff to learn the fine points of the new equipment. But the public’s reaction so far has been very positive,” he said.
Four councillors were at the table for the March council meeting. Côte-des-Neiges councillor Helen Fotopulos was absent because of a commitment related to her duties as city councillor.
Marie Cicchini | email@example.com
Photo : Marie Cicchini