2017Annual report

Thank you!
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Thank you!

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) would like to thank all of its collaborators who contributed to the promotion of Office activities in 2017.

The OCPM would also like to take this opportunity to thank the groups, organizations, citizens, civil servants and developers who participated in the various public consultations.

The Office owes the success of its public consultations to the involvement of borough and central department employees, professionals, management personnel and elected officials, who gave their help and expertise to help citizens and commissioners to understand the projects and issues involved.

Without everyone’s good will and co-operation, the OCPM’s public consultations would not have achieved their primary goal of providing Montrealers with pertinent information and data on the various projects, with a view to gathering their opinions and comments.

The Office plays a major role in connecting representative democracy and participatory democracy in Montréal.

Dominique Ollivier

President's message

The year 2017 will be recorded in the annals of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal as having required major expenditures of energy and ingenuity on our part. In addition to marking an important step in our evolution, our 15th anniversary, 2017 was a time of intense reflection, experimentation, sharing and evolution. All aspects of our mission were brought to bear as our work program this year included elements of training, advising of boroughs and City departments wishing to hold consultations, cooperation, and monitoring of best international practices.

The trend towards more complex mandates, which we have observed over the past ten years or so, continued in 2017. The diversity and nature of the files, as well as the level of controversy they raised, called for us to develop new skills in leading citizens to participate. Moreover, those consultations confirmed an evolution in citizen participation and clearly demonstrated the growing role of social acceptance in defining the future of Montréal.

A very busy year…

In 2017, in addition to the major consultation initiated the previous year on the Downtown Strategy, a considerable number of mandates were entrusted to us. Nine new mandates were undertaken and completed, while two others will likely conclude in 2018. Again this year, the voices of several thousands of people and hundreds of organizations were heard directly regarding files that are important both for the future of Montréal as a whole and for projects on a more local scale.

The Office also hosted the 2017 International Conference of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy, for which Montréal assumed the presidency for the year. The event was a resounding success, bringing together 500 participants and 80 speakers from 35 different countries. The conference was an important time of sharing and reflection. Its theme this year was Participation without Exclusion and, among other things, it provided an opportunity to review the path that the Office has travelled over the years to ensure the accessibility and credibility of its participatory mechanisms. Thanks to our efforts, groups far removed from our processes and citizens previously unable to participate owing to a lack of time, information or resources, can now contribute in a number of different ways to the evolution of their living environment.

The past year also allowed us to share our thoughts and practices with other municipal bodies during training events specifically tailored by the OCPM, notably for Montréal civil servants wishing to familiarize themselves with the process of participatory democracy.

Lastly, 2017 saw the attainment of a number of international partnerships, notably with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to further the cause of citizen involvement in the democratic processes of Middle Eastern and North African countries.

It goes without saying that this important work program would not have been possible without the unwavering contribution of the OCPM team. Its efforts have extended far beyond what would be expected in a normal work context, and I wish to commend their dedication.

A year of consolidation…

As our expertise extends outwards, dialogue with other experiences throughout the world intensifies and new experiences develop, and it becomes increasingly important for the Office to consolidate its assets, formalize its exchanges of information and measure its progress. That is what we sought to achieve by presenting throughout this anniversary year a series of mini-reports on our 15 years of experience. We contributed to university publications and gave a number of conferences on the subject.

All of those activities allow us to increase our visibility, to remain vigilant in terms of the integrity of our processes, and to periodically evaluate and review the use that is made of public consultation and the means employed to ensure its continuity.

…But also a year of change

In closing this message, I would be remiss not to mention two elements of context that I firmly believe will influence the deployment of the OCPM’s expertise in the coming year: the adoption by the Government of Québec of Bill 122, An Act mainly to recognize that municipalities are local governments and to increase their autonomy and powers; and the wish expressed by the new municipal administration elected in the fall of 2017 to build a city that gives citizens a voice. The provisions of the Act should acknowledge the beginning of a new era in citizen participation, by promoting municipalities’ adoption of public consultation policies and by-laws, while Montréal’s expressed political will could consolidate the important place already afforded participatory democracy by the city.

The current context therefore lends itself very well to an evaluation of Montréal’s participatory mechanisms and a definition of the range of cases where recourse to the OCPM, as a neutral, independent third party, is automatic. It is important to note that, although the status of the OCPM is well defined in the Charter of Ville de Montréal, its intervention is predetermined in only a few cases. The current method of operation where the allocation of files to the Office is often governed only by the urgency to address them, reduces the planning of our activities to its most simple form, and often deprives the population of the possibility of conducting more generic debates that could improve social acceptance upstream of the projects.

For 15 years now, the Office has played a leading role in Montréal in connecting representative democracy and participatory democracy. The model has proved itself to the point of becoming a reference in public debates and a special venue for participation.

From that solid foundation, we now can and must go further, by continuing to innovate, and by creating inclusive mechanisms attuned to the people we seek to attract and the projects entrusted to us. The above represents a stimulating challenge and an exciting outlook for the coming years.

Plant Pen pot

Mission
and mandate

Mission

The mission of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, created under section 75 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, is to carry out public consultation mandates with regard to land-use planning and development matters under municipal jurisdiction, and on all projects designated by the city council or executive committee.

Mandate

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal, in operation since September 2002, is an independent organization whose members are neither elected officials nor municipal employees. It receives its mandates from the city council or executive committee.

Clipboard Binder Clips

Activities

The work of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal is carried out in light of two sections of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, sections 83 and 89. They provide that the Office must hold consultations on mandates it receives according to criteria provided for under the Charter. They also stipulate that the Office must promote best public consultation practices, notably with Montréal authorities.

Stratégie Centre-ville

In 2017, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal completed a consultation that began in 2016, and assumed and carried out nine mandates, in addition to two consultations that will continue in 2018.

Complexe Bourbon

A considerable number of files, nine in total, were also undertaken and completed in 2017. The first involved the construction of a primarily residential building on the site of the old commercial and hotel establishment known as the “Bourbon complex,” in the eastern portion of the village on Sainte-Catherine Street, in the Ville-Marie borough.

Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) dans le secteur l’Assomption-Nord

The second file involved the examination of a Special Planning Program (SPP) in the l’Assomption-nord area of the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The SPP project provided an opportunity to reach a large number of residents, organizations and businesses from the territory in question and from neighbouring areas. Almost 130 people participated in the consultation; the commission received 14 briefs, nine of which were presented orally.

Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants

The third file involved the real-estate project for the site of the Children’s Hospital in the western portion of the borough of Ville-Marie. The project submitted for consultation would include the construction of over 1400 condominiums and rental housing units, including 174 social and community units, as well as a hotel and commercial and office spaces. Six high-rises would be erected, ranging from 20 to 32 storeys. A municipal community centre would also be added, while the existing Henri-Dunant square would be expanded, notably by closing off a section of Lambert-Closse Street, to become Henri-Dunant park.

Îlot central du Technopôle Angus

The fourth file pertained to a primarily residential development in the central island of the Technopôle Angus, in the western section of the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. The realization of the project involves the construction of 15 four- to six-storey buildings (spread out over eight blocks), of a maximum height of 20 metres. To facilitate the connection between the residential and employment areas, the buildings would be distributed around a pedestrian walkway diagonally linking two public squares. There would be a wooded area at the centre of the site, and “ecological corridors” intersecting it from east to west and connecting neighbouring biodiversity areas, i.e. parc Jean-Duceppe and the bank running along the CP railway track. The squares, roofing and outdoor areas of the site would be landscaped and offer urban furniture and activities. The widening of sidewalks running along the site and the construction of pedestrian pathways on the site are also planned. The public access to the outdoor spaces, referred to as “common areas,” would be ensured by the registration of easements granted to the City.

2175 rue Saint-Patrick

The fifth file was also a primarily residential real estate project in the Saint-Patrick Street area, along the Lachine Canal, in the Sud-Ouest borough. The project called for the demolition of two buildings located at 2155 and 2175 Saint-Patrick Street, and the construction of a new building, divided into three structures, for residential, commercial and community uses. The three new six-storey buildings would be laid out around a common courtyard running the length of the site. The courtyard represents 24% of the area of the lot and would be accessible by Island and Saint-Patrick Streets, and from the Lachine Canal side. The project would involve approximately 270 housing units, 3000 square metres of space reserved for commercial and community uses, as well as a 225-space underground parking. The plans call for some 25% of the total residential area of the project to be devoted to social and community housing, and 5% to affordable private housing.

Atelier créatif - Consultation publique sur l'avenir du secteur Pierrefonds-Ouest - Crédit Photo Fred Tougas

Secteur Pierrefonds-Ouest

The sixth project was one of the most complex of the year. It involved the examination of orientations proposed by the City for the development of a vast sector of the western portion of the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro. The upstream consultation aimed to present to citizens a vision for the future of the Pierrefond-Ouest sector proposing to reconcile the conservation of natural environments and the development of new neighbourhoods and living environments in the formerly agricultural sector. The vision was accompanied by 12 development principles. The exercise aimed to validate the vision, enhance orientations, highlight priorities and express citizens’ expectations.

PDUÉS pour le secteur environnant l’échangeur Turcot

The seventh file also had to do with planning, more specifically with a draft Plan de développement urbain, économique et social, or PDUÉS, for the area surrounding the Turcot interchange. It is important to note that the upstream consultation held in 2016 benefited from the contribution of over 2200 participants, and that the borough continued its online dialogue with citizens throughout the development of the planning document. Such a long-running process is unusual, and the document submitted for consultation accurately reflected the path followed and participatory urban planning approach adopted.

École dans le secteur Crawford

The eighth file had to do with the construction of a school in the Crawford sector of the borough of Verdun. The Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) was seeking to build a 14-classroom primary school on the site of the former school known as Annexe II de l’école Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, at the corner of Churchill, Lloyd-George and Clémenceau Streets.

Secteur Contrecoeur

The ninth and final file initiated and completed in 2017 was rather unusual. It had to do with a consultation in order to repeal an urban planning by-law adopted under section 89 of the Charter, following a consultation by the Office in 2007 for the Contrecoeur sector, at the eastern extremity of the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. It was a first; no other process to repeal a by-law adopted under that framework had been carried out since the creation of the new City in 2002. In addition to providing an opinion on the relevance of repealing that by-law in particular, the commission also proposed guidelines to make it possible, in general, to evaluate the merits of processes aimed at repealing by-laws adopted under section 89. The guidelines can also be used to enlighten City authorities for future projects.

See the consultation file

Other projects

The Office also received mandates from the executive committee pertaining to two other files. The first was a mandate to accompany the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) in a consultation targeting the adoption of its management plan. The mandate led to preparatory work with the SPJD in the fall. However, the change of administration following the election on November 5 required the mandate to be put on hold. The same applies for the second mandate, involving a consultation on the preliminary economic development and urban planning orientations for a business park devoted to added-value logistics in the Assomption Sud - Longue-Pointe sector, for which the process has been suspended until further notice.

  • Stratégie Centre-ville

  • Complexe Bourbon

  • Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) dans le secteur l’Assomption-Nord

  • Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants

  • îlot central du Technopôle Angus

  • 2175 rue Saint-Patrick

  • Secteur Pierrefonds-Ouest

  • PDUÉS pour le secteur environnant l’échangeur Turcot

  • École dans le secteur Crawford

  • Secteur Contrecoeur

  • Other projects

Stratégie Centre-ville

In 2017, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal completed a consultation that began in 2016, and assumed and carried out nine mandates, in addition to two consultations that will continue in 2018.

The project completed in 2017 was highly significant, involving the examination of the draft development strategy for downtown. The consultation attracted a great deal of interest from the population, as attested to by the high level of participation in the consultation process, one of the greatest ever attained by the Office. A total of 3277 people took part in the various consultation activities. Some 1900 people participated online, while a little over 1350 people came out to attend the “Grand rendez-vous du centre-ville,” the information session that followed, or the thematic meetings. The commission received 103 briefs, 53 of which were presented in formal hearings. An additional 116 mini-briefs were submitted online. The above interventions generated a large body of information on a broad range of subjects, in keeping with the importance of the mandate assigned to the commission.

The proposed strategy, a timely, significant gesture, was very well received by consultation participants. The idea of encapsulating into a single document the vision for the development of downtown generated a highly positive response from citizens. However, one general criticism clearly emerged: the territory covered by the downtown development strategy has already been the object of numerous consultations and a great deal of consensus building. It has prompted the adoption of programs and policies that, according to the majority of participants, the document does not adequately take into consideration. It also does not offer the added value of the identity factor, the extra link merging neighbouring areas into a living environment that would leave its mark on the future of Montréal.

Keeping those factors in mind, the commission focused its analysis on elements likely to enrich the strategy statement as well as elements that, in the opinion of participants, should be reconsidered. It also weighed in, as requested by the City, on priority actions for the strategy’s action plan. The list of the resulting recommendations is certainly not exhaustive, given the scope and variety of the suggestions received. However, the exercise brought to light a number of fundamental values and development principles that should guide the City in drawing up the final version of the strategy and associated action plan.

On that basis, the report outlines opportunities to improve the strategy statement, notably through the inclusion of an identity undertaking for downtown Montréal specifically recognizing Mount Royal, parc Jean-Drapeau and Old Montréal as fundamental identity elements and assets. It also proposes that the digitial economy be made its development beacon, that areas earmarked for new residential areas be more clearly identified, and that the underground city be added as a major commercial revitalization axis.

The report also recommends that the proposed vision for the development of the shoreline, which appears inconsistent with the expectations of the population, be reconsidered. Furthermore, the revitalization of the Saint-Catherine Street commercial structure is not really in line with new consumer trends, which lean towards e-commerce-driven destination shopping and polycentric cores of local stores.

Lastly, the report reiterates the importance of including in the action plan a sequence of commitments already made by various special planning programs already adopted for the territory, notably in terms of community equipment and investment in the public domain. It also sets as a priority the inclusion of an undertaking on affordable housing in perpetuity, including a reflection on tools that cultivate the housing of tomorrow, as well as major interventions in terms of public transit and parking to ensure a true modal transfer towards active and public transportation.

See the consultation file

Complexe Bourbon

A considerable number of files, nine in total, were also undertaken and completed in 2017. The first involved the construction of a primarily residential building on the site of the old commercial and hotel establishment known as the “Bourbon complex,” in the eastern portion of the village on Sainte-Catherine Street, in the Ville-Marie borough.

The public consultation attracted more than 200 people, mostly from the neighbourhood. In addition to some 40 individuals and groups who spoke at the information session, 29 written and oral opinions were presented by participants.

The commission found that, given the size of the territory, the proposed modifications should provide the community with benefits at least equivalent to those the property owners will enjoy. In that sense, it believes that the City would be depriving itself of important negotiating tools by incorporating in the draft by-law the TVA properties for which no permit applications have been submitted to date. Its recommendation is therefore to limit changes to the Master Plan to the five Bourbon lots.

Moreover, based on the principle of benefits to the community and of the project’s contribution to the neighbourhood’s distinctive identity, the commission has based its support of the draft by-law on three essential conditions involving the permanent allocation of an entire floor to community activities, the establishment of more daring environmental measures, and a revision of the project’s architectural design.

See the consultation file

Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) dans le secteur l’Assomption-Nord

The second file involved the examination of a Special Planning Program (SPP) in the l’Assomption-nord area of the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The SPP project provided an opportunity to reach a large number of residents, organizations and businesses from the territory in question and from neighbouring areas. Almost 130 people participated in the consultation; the commission received 14 briefs, nine of which were presented orally.

The proposed SPP was an important undertaking that fit in perfectly with the sustainable development objective inherent in all future land-use-planning efforts. The proposal, targeting the requalification of a nerve centre near the Assomption metro, received the approval of the majority of consultation participants and could be adopted quickly.

A number of participants from various spheres nevertheless expressed concerns regarding the insertion of residential uses into a previously almost exclusively industrial area. The apprehensions regarding the co-existence of uses largely dominated the discussions, bringing to light the need to ensure that the project meet expectations voiced regarding the creation of a stimulating living environment, comprising adequate green spaces, services and public equipment, and regarding the inclusion of social and affordable housing for low-income families and households, as well as on the harmonization of the co-existence between businesses and new residential units. The main recommendations of the commission pertain to those issues.

The interventions also revealed a marked interest on the part of the various players in having the next planning and implementation phases carried out with stakeholders. The commission therefore invites the borough to ensure that coordination, mediation and harmonization mechanisms, as well as consensus-building processes, be established.

See the consultation file

Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants

The third file involved the real-estate project for the site of the Children’s Hospital in the western portion of the borough of Ville-Marie. The project submitted for consultation would include the construction of over 1400 condominiums and rental housing units, including 174 social and community units, as well as a hotel and commercial and office spaces. Six high-rises would be erected, ranging from 20 to 32 storeys. A municipal community centre would also be added, while the existing Henri-Dunant square would be expanded, notably by closing off a section of Lambert-Closse Street, to become Henri-Dunant park.

It was a major project destined to serve as a model for a number of reasons: because it was the first of the hospitals that became surplus building following the construction of the CHUM and MUHC to be slated for real estate development; because of its sheer size, as it involves the construction of a veritable urban complex on the site of the old hospital; and because, in response to the major mobilization of residents and organizations of the Peter-McGill district, the developers’ proposal included public components aimed at meeting the expectations of both the population and the public administration.

The public consultation raised a great deal of interest. More than 300 people participated in the various meetings, and the commission received a total of 58 briefs and oral opinions. Such a broad overview allowed it to fully understand the issues and challenges involved in the project, both in terms of its descriptive elements and of its impact on the neighbourhood.

The construction of social and community housing units on the site, the integration of a community centre to serve the neighbourhood population, and the development of a public park are all positive aspects of the project.

Nonetheless, the construction of six high rise buildings will make the project’s insertion into its built environment very difficult. Furthermore, the too small area of the future Henri-Dunant park will not easily meet local needs, notably in terms or sports and recreational activities for young people, families and seniors in the neighbourhood.

The commission applauded the developer’s initiative in seeking to meet local expectations and noted the generally favourable response to the change of vocation, while recommending that the change of use be subject to a revision of some aspects of the project. It made recommendations, notably to reduce the overall outline of the real estate project, to expand the future public park, and to prioritize family housing in the socio-community tower, three important aspects that will serve as the basis for the reconfiguration of a more balanced project.

The commission found that, once it has been reworked, the real estate project could serve as a model, not only in terms of the social and community aspects completing the private component, but also through its special collaborative approach with the environment throughout the process.

See the consultation file

Îlot central du Technopôle Angus

The fourth file pertained to a primarily residential development in the central island of the Technopôle Angus, in the western section of the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. The realization of the project involves the construction of 15 four- to six-storey buildings (spread out over eight blocks), of a maximum height of 20 metres. To facilitate the connection between the residential and employment areas, the buildings would be distributed around a pedestrian walkway diagonally linking two public squares. There would be a wooded area at the centre of the site, and “ecological corridors” intersecting it from east to west and connecting neighbouring biodiversity areas, i.e. parc Jean-Duceppe and the bank running along the CP railway track. The squares, roofing and outdoor areas of the site would be landscaped and offer urban furniture and activities. The widening of sidewalks running along the site and the construction of pedestrian pathways on the site are also planned. The public access to the outdoor spaces, referred to as “common areas,” would be ensured by the registration of easements granted to the City.

The public consultation attracted strong participation, both on the part of residents of neighbouring areas and of major social and economic players. Over 400 people attended or participated in the information and hearing of opinion sessions. The commission received 94 briefs, many of which were presented, four oral opinions without the filing of briefs, and three petitions.

A strong polarization of opposing opinions emerged from the consultation. On one side were those who strongly supported the project, deemed exemplary in many respects and, on the other, those who were opposed to the project, primarily neighbouring population who feared that the new influx of residents and workers would lower their quality of life.

The commission recommended that the project be favourably received, subject to a few adjustments, notably in terms of the project’s insertion into its environment, while affirming that concerns expressed by those opposed to the project should be taken into consideration and deserve a response.

See the consultation file

2175 rue Saint-Patrick

The fifth file was also a primarily residential real estate project in the Saint-Patrick Street area, along the Lachine Canal, in the Sud-Ouest borough. The project called for the demolition of two buildings located at 2155 and 2175 Saint-Patrick Street, and the construction of a new building, divided into three structures, for residential, commercial and community uses. The three new six-storey buildings would be laid out around a common courtyard running the length of the site. The courtyard represents 24% of the area of the lot and would be accessible by Island and Saint-Patrick Streets, and from the Lachine Canal side. The project would involve approximately 270 housing units, 3000 square metres of space reserved for commercial and community uses, as well as a 225-space underground parking. The plans call for some 25% of the total residential area of the project to be devoted to social and community housing, and 5% to affordable private housing.

The project involves the conversion of an employment zone into a mixed occupation zone. The spaces attached to 2175 Saint-Patrick have been occupied by a succession of commercial and industrial enterprises.

The site in question runs along the Lachine Canal and is located within the perimeter of the Lachine Canal National Historic Site. It also runs along the bicycle path in the north end of the site and, to the south, along Saint-Patrick, is bordered by a line of trees on public property. On the west side, there is a six-storey residential building with some commercial uses, recently built and dubbed Le Myst. There is a right-of-way belonging to the land currently earmarked for the project on that property that provides access to the loading dock. The parking is accessible by Saint-Patrick and Island Streets, on the east side. Island Street is a dead end for vehicles and is also bordered by a bike path connecting with the one along the Lachine Canal.

The project, which will be constructed on one of the last properties likely to be redeveloped along the Canal in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood, will be the only one incorporating social housing and commercial spaces earmarked for the neighbourhood’s community movement. Given the pressing need for such housing in that area of the city, and the approval for the project expressed by a vast majority of citizens, the commission recommended that the by-law be adopted, while requesting that the number and size of the community housing units be maximized by returning to what was provided for in the architectural plan of November 2016. The public consultation attracted the participation of over 300 people, and the filing of 30 written briefs; 15 people and groups came to present their opinions to the commission.

See the consultation file

Secteur Pierrefonds-Ouest

The sixth project was one of the most complex of the year. It involved the examination of orientations proposed by the City for the development of a vast sector of the western portion of the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro. The upstream consultation aimed to present to citizens a vision for the future of the Pierrefond-Ouest sector proposing to reconcile the conservation of natural environments and the development of new neighbourhoods and living environments in the formerly agricultural sector. The vision was accompanied by 12 development principles. The exercise aimed to validate the vision, enhance orientations, highlight priorities and express citizens’ expectations.

More than 400 people attended the various meetings and prospective workshops. We tried out new animation techniques involving role-playing games to facilitate the expression of what the sector could become in the medium- to long-term. Some material was specifically developed for the occasion, such as a game of coloured cards used to enable participants to imagine the future through characters and scenarios assembled haphazardly according to the cards dealt. The technique can be used again for other files. Moreover, an exceptional number of briefs were filed. The commission received 272 written opinions and heard 73 presenters during the nine hearing of opinions sessions. That broad overview allowed the commission to note that attachment to the area extends far beyond the borders of the borough and to fully understand the issues and challenges inherent to the planning of the territory.

The consultation was held under difficult conditions. Firstly, participants considered the object of the consultation to be poorly defined and unsatisfactory. On one side, the real estate developers, who own a good part of the land in question, claimed to have worked with the borough for the past ten years on a special planning program (SPP) and believed that the latter should have been at the heart of the consultation. On the other, many borough residents, environmental organizations and members of the “Sauvons l’Anse-à-l’Orme” coalition believed that for an upstream consultation, citizens should have been asked to participate in a true reflection process on the vocation of the territory, rather than being presented with the development as a fait accompli. The tensions were also exacerbated by spring flooding, which required the postponement of part of the work of the commission and brought to light a number of additional important issues and questions. Significant effort was required to alleviate the overall dissatisfaction, mistrust and polarization of positions, and ensure a healthy, constructive debate.

According to the commission, the project raises a major social acceptability problem stemming from two factors. On the one hand, transparency and governance were lacking in the handling of the project, a fact denounced by supporters and opponents alike. Among other things, the stakeholders, including civil society representatives, were unequally involved in the planning and joint-action process leading to its formulation. Moreover, the existence of the Cap-Nature real estate project, whose land owners and developers were ostensibly involved for more than ten years in designing the development project for the Pierrefonds-Ouest sector and on which the proposal submitted for consultation appeared to be based, led to confusion about the object of the consultation The holding of an upstream consultation on the development vision and principles for a borough sector may have seemed paradoxical at a time when a draft SPP had been in production for the same sector for many years. On the other hand, the conservation approach underlying the project for the Pierrefonds-Ouest sector is contested, owing to the fact that a consensus has not been reached regarding the juxtaposition of an ecoterritory and a housing development, and because the City is not considered exemplary in terms of protecting and enhancing its natural environments.

In that context, it is believed that a planning and consensus-building process open to the various stakeholders, as well as the communication of up-to-date and precise information on issues of concern to the majority of participants, notably about the biological characteristics of the targeted territory as a whole, would ideally make it possible to reach a consensus on the development potential of the Pierrefonds-Ouest sector or, at least, allow a better understanding of the issues involved by all interested parties.

See the consultation file

PDUÉS pour le secteur environnant l’échangeur Turcot

The seventh file also had to do with planning, more specifically with a draft Plan de développement urbain, économique et social, or PDUÉS, for the area surrounding the Turcot interchange. It is important to note that the upstream consultation held in 2016 benefited from the contribution of over 2200 participants, and that the borough continued its online dialogue with citizens throughout the development of the planning document. Such a long-running process is unusual, and the document submitted for consultation accurately reflected the path followed and participatory urban planning approach adopted.

The Turcot PDUÉS was developed during the reconfiguration work announced for the interchange in the late 2000s. It provided an undeniable opportunity for a variety of structuring interventions to benefit residents of the Saint-Henri Ouest, Émard and Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhoods by 2025. The magnitude of the work carried out on the interchange and its immediate surroundings calls for special attention to the resulting impacts with a view to identifying specific interventions to effectively counter them.

The commission applauded the impressive work accomplished by responsible authorities, and also wished to thank participants from whom a long-term commitment had been required. Such a participatory process is unusual, and the commission noted that it could, by its very essence, be successful. Although most of the work has been completed, there are still loose ends to tie up. So close to the goal, the commission believes that the work remaining to be done will ensure the success of the undertaking, which will continue until 2025.

In the eyes of the commission, the in-depth understanding of the territory and involvement of participants in the community life of targeted neighbourhoods are key to progressing from a preliminary version to a final, operational version of the planning document and its action plan. To that end, the commission believes that it is important to maintain the interest of participants throughout the process and beyond.

See the consultation file

École dans le secteur Crawford

The eighth file had to do with the construction of a school in the Crawford sector of the borough of Verdun. The Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) was seeking to build a 14-classroom primary school on the site of the former school known as Annexe II de l’école Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, at the corner of Churchill, Lloyd-George and Clémenceau Streets.

The old school closed down in 2005, and the building was demolished by the CSMB in the summer of 2016 owing to its dilapidated condition and the fact that both the building and the land were contaminated. The site has an area of 4065 square metres, and belongs to the CSMB. According to the Commission scolaire, the new school will alleviate overcrowding in nearby schools, some of which are over capacity, and improve service to the Crawford Park neighbourhood clientele.

The public consultation attracted the participation of approximately 100 people, mostly from the neighbourhood. The commission received 21 briefs and heard six participants who spoke at the hearing of opinions evenings. Most of them focused on the school’s architectural concept, traffic and transportation issues, and the school’s integration into its living environment.

In agreement with many of the participants, the commission found that, despite voicing some opposition and numerous concerns, the community is interested in having the by-law adopted and quickly proceeding with the construction of the school.

However, it was mentioned that this was the second school project in the borough involving recourse to section 89. In view of development outlooks for the area, the commission drew on opinions expressed during the consultation in making a few recommendations to the borough and the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys to facilitate future communications with citizens and social acceptance of future projects.

See the consultation file

Secteur Contrecoeur

The ninth and final file initiated and completed in 2017 was rather unusual. It had to do with a consultation in order to repeal an urban planning by-law adopted under section 89 of the Charter, following a consultation by the Office in 2007 for the Contrecoeur sector, at the eastern extremity of the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. It was a first; no other process to repeal a by-law adopted under that framework had been carried out since the creation of the new City in 2002. In addition to providing an opinion on the relevance of repealing that by-law in particular, the commission also proposed guidelines to make it possible, in general, to evaluate the merits of processes aimed at repealing by-laws adopted under section 89. The guidelines can also be used to enlighten City authorities for future projects.

See the consultation file

Autres projets

The year 2017 also saw the realization of activities covering the promotion of best practices, which is part of the mandate of the Office. Let us begin by mentioning training and information activities. A two-day session with all the commissioners was held in November, and a training session designed more specifically for new commissioners was held in September. Moreover, a pilot-project involving public consultation training for civil servants was carried out at the end of the year in cooperation with the Comité mixte de développement professionnel (CMDP), comprising the Service des ressources humaines and the Syndicat des professionnels et professionnelles de Montréal (SPPM). The project allowed 35 civil servants to take a two-day training course on the ins and outs of citizen consultation processes. That first experience could lead to a more extensive training program in the future.

The Office also continued its participation in an operation to promote the City’s consultation practices, organized by the Bureau de la présidence du conseil municipal. The activity, known as the “Caravane de la démocratie,” allows citizens of a neighbourhood to familiarize themselves with the City’s public consultation mechanisms, and to speak with the people in charge. In addition to the Office, the caravan includes a number of other players, notably the Ombudsman, advisory councils, and council commissions.

The Office also produced a “Cahier” on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. It provides an overview of our practices to promote participation without exclusion in public consultation. The publication aims to showcase not only our advances, but also any weaknesses in our approaches, with a view to improving our practices. Among the advances, we would like to mention that in 2017, for the first time ever, we almost achieved parity between men and women for contributions made in the context of our public consultations. In fact, for last year, 49% of those contributions were made by women, a remarkable increase over recent years.

In closing, it should be noted that one mandate is still pending. It involves a consultation on the report of the interdepartmental committee on the use of surplus buildings of the university health centres of the Université de Montréal (CHUM) and McGill University (MUHC). In the absence of the report that is to be the object of the consultation, no action has been taken regarding that mandate. The mandate was entrusted to the Office by the executive committee in September 2013.

Again this year, thousands of Montrealers participated in the activities of the Office, either by attending consultations, asking questions, filing briefs, or using the digital tools increasingly employed by the Office. See the consultation file

Communications

The OCPM informs citizens of any upcoming public consultations. Depending on the nature and scope of the consultation, a wide range of communication tools are employed to reach people and provide them with user-friendly, accessible information.
72% of Montrealers would like to receive an information flyer by mail if an important project was presented in their neighbourhood. According to a 2017 Léger survey

In 2017, the Office published eight public notices in a daily newspaper and sent out 25 press releases and invitations to the media. Also, for every public consultation, an advertising campaign was conducted on Facebook. In some cases, in addition to the notices, the Office also sends out invitations directly to citizens and organizations concerned by the ongoing consultation project. Usually, the Office distributes information flyers announcing the consultation to those who will be affected by a given project. Depending on the consultation, the distribution may cover between 1500 and 68,000 homes. Last year, 148,500 flyers were distributed in sectors neighbouring projects that were the object of consultations. Flyers and posters were also distributed to organizations concerned and in Ville de Montréal service points. The OCPM Web site continues to regularly inform citizens and groups interested in public consultations. The annual statistics are presented in the following section of this report.

The Office consistently relies on social networks to promote its activities with Montrealers. We regularly use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr. The year 2017 also marked our beginnings on Instagram, where we posted over 50 photos and videos, including a #15eOCPM series comprising testimonials from local and international personalities highlighting our 15th anniversary.

Facebook remains our most dynamic community and the most effective channel for interacting with Montrealers, informing them, and soliciting their participation. It also provides us with valuable advertising tools allowing us to precisely target citizens concerned with the objects of our consultations. At the end of 2017, our Facebook page had 8698 followers. This year, more than 29,000 people interacted with our page, while the total reach of our publications is over one million, i.e. the number of people who saw any content associated with our page (the last two statistics represent unique users/day).

In terms of print publications, we marked our 15th anniversary with a new Cahier de l’OCPM entitled " Participation sans exclusion : rétrospective des 15 ans de l'OCPM " [participation without exclusion: a retrospective of the 15 years of the OCPM]. The analysis served as an uncensored external observer, to assess the contribution of the OCPM to the inclusion of remote populations in local democratic processes. The observations of the Cahier will allow all players involved in the participatory process to develop ever more inclusive, effective and useful public consultation practices. You will find it in the Publications section of our Web site. The guide joins our offering of instructional tools, all of which are available online and in print.

Webcasts of presentations made in information sessions: a new Office standard

In 2017, all presentations (developers and City) in public consultation information sessions were broadcasted live on Facebook and on our Web site. Although people wanting to participate in the discussions and public question period must still attend the sessions in person, this new initiative allows us to inform as many citizens as possible, as reflected in the viewing statistics. For 2017, there 2077 views of live and recorded broadcasts of our information session videos. Video archives of the presentations are also available on Facebook and on our YouTube channel.

Written opinions: simpler online participation

This year, we further developed the tool launched in 2016 during the consultation on the Downtown Strategy, offering the opportunity, in some consultations, to express an opinion online, in a section of our Web site reserved for that purpose. It allows participants to submit thematic mini-briefs to delve more deeply into relevant issues and to answer questions asked by commissioners during the consultation process. The tool was used during the consultations on the Pierrefonds-Ouest sector and on the Plan de développement urbain, économique et social for areas surrounding the Turcot interchange.

51% of Montrealers would like to give their opinion online if a major project was presented in their neighbourhood. According to a 2017 Léger survey

This year

148 000 Flyers distributed

1 M + people have seen our posts on Facebook

2 077 views of webcasts of presentations made in information sessions

On Facebook and YouTube

ocpm.qc.ca

37 802 unique visitors

156 170 pages visited

Web site

Again this year, the Office Web site remained a primary source of information for all public consultation participants. The wealth of the Office’s bank of documentation greatly expanded with the year’s many consultations.

The consultation on the development of the Pierrefonds-Ouest sector, Montréal’s only bilingual borough, provided an opportunity to develop bilingual functions for the Web site, enabling us to post the public consultation page in both languages.

Mobile navigation on smart phones and tablets increased again this year, and now accounts for over 31% of visits. In 2016, mobile traffic represented only 22% of total traffic.

The traffic generated by Facebook is growing, and now represents more than 20% of total traffic on the site, compared with 15% in 2016.

IOPD Web site

In 2017, in addition to the Office Web site, the International Conference of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy called for the creation of an independent Web site: oidp2017mtl.com.

Created to allow a wide broadcast of all information pertaining to the Conference, the quadrilingual site (French, English, Spanish and Portuguese) now includes all speaker presentations, video clips of important moments of the Conference, and exclusive interviews conducted throughout the event. The site welcomed more than 9000 unique visitors in 2017.

Outreach

Since its establishment in 2002, the Office has developed a network of contacts in organizations with missions similar to its own, contacts that have helped to improve the OCPM’s methods of operation. The external activities of the Office promote skill dissemination, development and the sharing of Montrealers’ experiences.

Since its establishment in 2002, the Office has developed a network of contacts in organizations with missions similar to its own, contacts that have helped to improve the OCPM’s methods of operation. The external activities of the Office promote skill dissemination, development and the sharing of Montrealers’ experiences.

Over the course of the year, locally and throughout Québec, the Office was asked to present its role and activities to various groups. Firstly, to the Commission de la présidence du conseil municipal, before which the president of the Office presented the report of activities and discussed the work and future orientations of the OCPM with members of the commission. The presentation was made in the month of May. Meetings were also held with a wide variety of groups: students; groups of citizens interested in public consultation, in a number of boroughs; and groups from other organizations. In that category, it is important to note the presence of our director of communications, Anik Pouliot, as the person in charge of a plenary workshop on the use of Facebook in the public sector, at a conference organized by the Groupe Les Affaires on the theme " Médias sociaux, secteur public, " held at the end of November. We should also mention the presentation on our new consultation tools given by our president to a group of commissioners and associates of the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). We also welcomed two representatives of the City of Bologna, in Italy, Mr. Valerio Montalto, director of the mayor’s office, and Ms. Francesca Martinese, director of international relations, as well as a study mission from the École des ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris.

This year, we began an important cooperation in a project initiated by Concertation Montréal. It is known as the MTElles. In partnership with the " Coalition montréalaise des Tables de quartier " and " Relais-femmes ", MTElles supports the establishment of innovative practices in borough councils, city councils (agglomeration of Montréal), Montréal advisory bodies, and neighbourhood boards. The objective is to promote equal participation in democratic and community life for women of various backgrounds and from all social and economic walks of life. Initiated in 2017, the endeavour will continue over the coming years.

The Office also contributes to various international forums focusing on issues of participatory democracy. Of those forums, the main one is the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy, the IOPD. The Office has been a member of the network for many years. In 2017, Montréal hosted the annual Conferences of the IODP and served as its president. The Office worked closely with the permanent secretariat of the IOPD, located in Barcelona, and received, on a mission, the person in charge of that secretariat, Mr. Adria Duarte, for a week of work meetings in the month of March. The Conference was a resounding success, and allowed numerous discussions among the 500 participants and 80 speakers from 35 countries. It provided an opportunity not only to share the accomplishments of the Office, but also to gain inspiration from best practices in other parts of the world. Moreover, at the closing of the conference, the minister responsible for access to information and for the reform of democratic institutions, Ms. Rita de Santis, made public the Québec Government’s Cadre de référence gouvernemental sur la participation publique. The theme of the meeting was “Participation without Exclusion.” The Conference received financial support from the Government of Québec through the Office of Ms. De Santis, the minister responsible for access to information and for the reform of democratic institutions and the ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie, as well as that of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

In 2017, the Office also joined the Commission d’Inclusion Sociale, Démocratie Participative et Droits Humains of "Cités et Gouvernements Locaux Unis" (CGLU). The organization is the most important local government player in the world. It represents and defends the interests of local and regional governments on the international scene. "Cités et Gouvernements Locaux Unis" supports international cooperation between cities and their associations, and fosters the establishment of programs, networks and partnerships aimed at strengthening the capabilities of local governments. The organization promotes the role of women in local decision-making and offers special access to information on local governance throughout the world. The City of Montréal is a member of the group. As to the involvement of the Office, it is at the level of the Commission d’Inclusion Sociale, Démocratie Participative et Droits Humains. The mandate of that body is to help to build the common voice of CGLU cities in matters pertaining to social inclusion, participatory democracy and human rights, with a view to providing guidance to local governments in designing such policies. To that end, it promotes political debate, sharing of experiences, and collective creation of new knowledge leading to the establishment of directives for the design and implementation of sustainable local policies pertaining to social inclusion, participatory democracy and human rights. The Office fully intends to play an active role in those endeavours in the coming years.

Over the course of the year, the Office was also invited to participate in a number of missions. The first was to Bordeaux, where the president presented the Office at the Premières Rencontres nationales de la participation, co-organized by several institutions, including two partners of the Office, “Décider ensemble” and the “Commission nationale du débat public” (CNDP). Notably, Ms. Ollivier participated in a round table on participatory mechanisms that promote inclusion and in a panel on citizen participation in matters pertaining to the environment. A few days later, she attended a seminar held at the Institut Léon Blum Paris-Sorbonne on today’s democratic experimentation, where she had the opportunity to explain participatory mechanisms featured by the Office.

The Office president also accepted two invitations from the “Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques” (OCDE), with which the Office established a formal partnership in June. The protocol associates the Office with the production of OCDE information materials for its training programs in the Middle East and North Africa. The first invitation involved a seminar in Morocco on strengthening the capabilities of local communities and public participation mechanisms to stimulate local development. The second mission, again in Morocco, consisted of a seminar on public consultation as a mechanism for drafting laws and policies more sensitive to the equality of men and women in that country. She also participated as an international expert in the participatory democracy training of Moroccan parliamentary women.

The 17th Conference of the IOPD in Montréal, under the theme “Participation without Exclusion,” allowed us, over the course of four days, to find out about, share and promote best practices in participatory democracy.

Fernando Pindado Sanchez, Secrétaire général de l’OIDP

Budget

In compliance with the Charter of Ville de Montréal, the city council provides the Office with the funds required to carry out its mandate. Under sections 83 and 89 of the Charter, the Office must hold all consultations requested by the executive committee or city council. The financial statements of the Office are audited by the auditor of the city and presented to city council.

In 2017, the number of mandates received and the scale of the various activities of the Office resulted in the funds allocated at the beginning of the year in the annual City budget being insufficient to carry out all of the mandates. Consequently, the executive committee granted the Office additional credits of $450,000, as provided for under section 82 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal. It is the first time since 2013 that additional credits were required during the course of the year, but the fifth time in the history of the Office.

Remuneration 790 000 $
Employee benefits 155 000 $
Transportation and communications 190 000 $
Professional and administrative services 1 100 000 $
Rent and maintenance 320 000 $
Non-durable goods 25 000 $
Total 2 580 000 $

List of employees and collaborators

Employees

  • Louis-Alexandre Cazal
  • Luc Doray
  • Lizon Levesque
  • Élise Naud
  • Faustin Nsabimana
  • Anik Pouliot
  • Gilles Vézina

Collaborators

  • Raphaëlle Aubin
  • Matthieu Bardin
  • Estelle Beaudry
  • Alain Benoit
  • Michèle Bernier
  • Loïc Bouffard-Dumas
  • Brunelle-Amélie Bourque
  • Richard Brunelle
  • Hadrien Chénier-Marais
  • Élisabeth Doyon
  • William Dumas
  • Joanne Gibbs
  • Guy Grenier
  • Nathan Huber
  • Félix Jobin
  • Laurent Maurice Lafontant
  • Marilena Liguori
  • Christelle Lollier-Théberge
  • Marta Massana
  • Arminda Mota
  • Denise Mumporeze
  • Caio Pâques Lucon
  • Olivier Rinfret
  • Joseph Tchinda Kenfo
  • Samuel Tremblay
  • Nicole Uwimana
  • Akos Verboczy
  • Stéfanie Wells

Production of the annual report

Writing coordination

Luc Doray

Writing collaboration

  • Louis-Alexandre Cazal
  • Luc Doray
  • Lizon Levesque
  • Anik Pouliot
  • Gilles Vézina

Revision

Lizon Levesque

Translation

Joanne Gibbs

Photographs

  • Thomas Branconnier
  • Josée Lecompte
  • Frédéric Tougas

Design

Élisabeth Doyon