The Plateau Mont-Royal, while great at drawing people in to socialize, live and eat, needs to work on becoming a greener borough, environmental groups said during a community forum March 3.
And the area’s residents, attending the forum in strong numbers, seem to agree.
“There was a huge turnout because people are very interested in talking about “greening,'” said Miriam Fahmy, a member of the local borough council for Projet MontrÃ©al and one of the event’s organizers. “Having them come together shows that people from the Plateau are very engaged with their community.”
A presentation from the Mile End Citizens’ Committee during “Greening of the Plateau” suggested the neighbourhood lacked biodiversity as a result of a decrease in the amount of natural spaces, and an increase in the number of cars that fill the streets.
The forum, organized by municipal party Projet MontrÃ©al, who holds all the seats on the borough council, gave seven groups a stage where they could give short presentations on their eco-friendly initiatives. It also gave members of the community at large the opportunity to share ideas of how to increase the sustainability in the area.
Santropol Roulant, a meals on wheels organization at the corner of Duluth Ave. and St. Urbain, focused its discussion on agriculture and community gardens which, it said, would allow residents to cultivate their own vegetables and use compost to fertilize their gardens.
Fahmy said the presence of politicians provided a great opportunity for the area’s residents to discuss the issues that were affecting the neighbourhood. “We had the idea of letting our officials know about the population’s concerns, so we decided to make a forum where citizens could discuss various topics and share their ideas.”
Fahmy also said that the large presence of citizens showed a collective concern about environmental issues.
Jessi Smith, 23, a Plateau resident and student of human environment at Concordia University, said she was very happy to learn about the initiatives and familiarize herself with the local groups that were offering sustainable changes to the neighbourhood.
“The idea of greening the Plateau is something that definitely interests me, I think it’s really important,” Smith said. “In a lot of places around the world we are seeing positive environmental changes. I think that’s what is motivating people to become more involved and directly active in their community.”
The evening’s organizers said they believe the input of citizens will have a major role in the development of these environmental projects.
Projet MontrÃ©al said it plans to continue with a series of community forums, and will hold another discussion some time in mid-April.