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15 wishes for Montreal in 2015<article itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/NewsArticle" id="post-430336" class="post-430336 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-local-news tag-education tag-homelessness tag-montreal tag-politics tag-social-issues l-article" style="margin: 0px; padding: 15px 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1;"><header class="entry-header" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">

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KATHERINE WILTON, MONTREAL GAZETTE

More from Katherine Wilton, Montreal Gazette

Published on: <time itemprop="datePublished" class="entry-date published pubdate" datetime="2015-01-03T16:23:47+00:00" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">January 3, 2015</time>Last Updated: <time itemprop="dateModified" class="updated" datetime="2015-01-03T16:23:49+00:00" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">January 3, 2015 4:23 PM EST</time>

</header><figure class="align-none wp-caption post-img" id="post-439490media-439490" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://wpmedia.montrealgazette.com/2014/12/montreal-que-november-25-2014-the-skyline-in-montreal.jpg?w=1000" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">montreal-que-november-25-2014-the-skyline-in-montreal.jpg?w=1000<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" itemprop="description" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);">

The skyline in Montreal at dusk Tuesday November 25, 2014.

John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

As Montrealers rang in the New Year this time last year, a gloomy cloud hung over our city.

 

In the midst of an unforgiving winter, our social peace was being threatened by a divisive debate over the Parti Québécois’s proposed charter of secular values, which would have restricted public employees from wearing or displaying conspicuous religious symbols.

With a spring election on the horizon, the fear of another referendum hung like a dead weight from many of our shoulders. Poor job prospects and political uncertainty persuaded some of our fellow citizens to leave for greener pastures in Ontario and Western Canada. No matter where we turned, it was hard to escape the bad news. The Charbonneau Commission continued to uncover tales of corruption, our road network remained in abysmal shape and commuters fretted about the safety of the Champlain Bridge.

But one year later, the mood seems lighter.

“Montreal is back,” insisted Denis Coderre, the city’s populist mayor who has been trying to set a new tone.

Coderre is already at work planning the city’s 375th birthday celebrations in 2017. He says the festivities and related development projects will have lasting benefits for residents, such as a pedestrian link from the mountain to the river.

But many wonder whether Coderre has a vision and long-term plan for a city that is still facing employment and demographic challenges.

So what’s in store for Montreal in 2015? The city will get several new hospitals when the McGill University Health Centre opens this spring, and the city’s skyline is filled with cranes — but surely more needs to done to enhance our quality of life.

We asked 15 Montrealers who are well-connected to their city for their suggestions on how to make the city a more enjoyable place to live in 2015. Here are their ideas, in their own words.

 

Raphaël Fischler, director of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning

 

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Raphael Fischler is director of the School of Urban Planning at McGill University. Courtesy of McGill University.

Picasa</figcaption></figure>The new year must see progress in ongoing efforts: reducing the high-school dropout rate, helping the homeless find permanent housing, repairing old infrastructure, greening the city. It must also see two goals reach the top of the political agenda: making public spaces, facilities and buildings universally accessible; and anticipating the transformation of older suburbs.

Montreal is a difficult place for people with limited mobility, be they children in prams, adults in wheelchairs or elderly people using walkers. The winter is an ordeal for them, but even the summer is difficult because of inadequate infrastructure in streets and buildings and in the transit system. Universal accessibility must become a priority.

As central neighbourhoods continue to gentrify, low-income households, including immigrants, are moving away from the centre, in particular to suburbs built in the 1950s to 1970s. The residents of such suburbs will need better access to public transit and services than is currently the case there. It is imperative that we start planning to meet the challenge of suburban poverty.

 

Yves Laroche, owner Yves Laroche Galerie d’Art

 

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Yves Laroche in his art gallery on St. Laurent Blvd. in Montreal.

Vincenzo D'Alto / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>I wish that Montreal could get its good mood, its collective happiness, back. I hope the people who are negotiating the public-sector contracts for the city of Montreal and the unions all put a little water in their wine and come to some agreement. This city has been in such a grumpy frame of mind lately. You can see it in the faces of the policemen and the firemen and the city workers. Visitors to the city tell me that they feel it, too. It is weighing on all of us.

But what I wish for most of all is for the young, emerging artists who make this city what it is be left alone to create their own personal imprints without being boxed in by teachers or dealers or art-buyers who tell them what will sell, what’s in vogue, what colours are best.

I wish we would begin to see outsider art from the worlds of tattooing and graffiti and comics with fresh new eyes.

 

Matthew Pearce, chief executive officer of the Old Brewery Mission

 

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Matthew Pearce, CEO of the Old Brewery Mission.

Marie-France Coallier / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, I want Montrealers to join the Old Brewery Mission in imagining a city where every citizen has a place to call home and no large numbers of people are resorting to shelters and soup kitchens for their survival — month after month, year after year. Further, I want us all to resolve to own the social phenomenon of homelessness and each contribute in our own way to significantly reduce the amount of men and women who find themselves on the street.

The city and the province have recently issued their respective action plans on homelessness and so, for 2015, I want to see … action. Specifically, solutions to homelessness exist when we act collectively to create diverse affordable housing options with the appropriate counselling supports, adapted health care services and preventive measures to ensure people remain housed. See the end of homelessness as we know it today. It will work.

 

Coralie Deny is the director general of the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal

 

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Coralie Deny, director general of the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, behind a staircase that was built from wood recovered from Georgian Bay in Lake Huron.

Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, there will be a lot of talk about planning and development in the Montreal region. We hope that it will be done with sustainable development in mind and that the changes will improve the quality of life.

Some of the important issues will be the adoption of Montreal Island land-use development plan, urban plans for each city on the island, a parking policy, an updated transportation plan and the plan for repaving Ste-Catherine St. W.

These plans will provide us with guidelines on how Montreal will be shaped. The plans must be precise and visionary and take into account principles that will be followed in all parts of the island. There must be improvements in public transport service and more bike paths. We need to promote Montreal as a walkable city, develop our streams and improve access to the river. We should also establish a network of connected green spaces, revitalize neighbourhoods and spruce up their commercial streets.

If we work together, 2015 can be a pivotal year for Montreal.

 

Heather O’Neill, author

 

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Author Heather O’Neill lives in Montreal and writes about the city. She is photographed with her dog Muppet at home on April 25, 2014, at her desk where she spends most of her time writing.

Marie-France Coallier / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>There’s an unhealthy fixation on young people in our society now. We try to micromanage every minute of their day and spend absurd resources on them. And I think they should be just left in peace to lie around in the libraries and daydream and doodle strange sea creatures in the margins of their notebooks and to engage in philosophical discussions with their pet mice.

On the other hand, I think that we as a city should take better care of our elderly citizens. Transportation is really difficult for many of them. There are so many elderly who are abandoned and alone and neglected, prisoners in their own homes. There is no place for them in society and they are treated as though they are burdens. I just think they need to be valued and respected more. We’ve become a little callous in our attitudes toward the elderly. Everyone needs to accept that this is a part of life and one of our basic obligations. Better aid needs to be given to home care for seniors and those family members, often only one person, who have to shoulder all the responsibility of taking care of them.

 

Eric Dupuis, chef-owner Dominion Square Tavern and Balsam Inn

 

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Eric Dupuis, chef and co-owner of the Balsam Inn poses for a photograph at the newly opened restaurant in Montreal, Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

Graham Hughes / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>We should exploit our European side more, with its lifestyle and traditions. That way we would make our city more vivante and exciting for residents and tourists. Let’s create more vibrant neighbourhoods by letting them develop their own personalities instead of passing so many laws and rules meant to over-protect our society.

And as individuals we should stop being insular and share more time with our neighbours.

Montreal should have terraces everywhere, even in winter. We should have more small markets where producers come to sell their goods. These are both ways of encouraging outdoor living in winter.

We should let parents bring their kids into bars (not night clubs) when they go out for a drink with their friends.

We should have l’apéro every evening of the week, not just on Thursdays.

Bring back that old European spirit we had back in the day!

 

Kim Arrey, nutritionist

 

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Kim Arrey, a dietician/nutritionist prepares a yogurt and apple snack in her home in Montreal, Wednesday December 17, 2014.

Vincenzo D'Alto / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>This will be the year that we show the world that Montreal really is different from other cities in North America and that we take very seriously the challenge of providing nutritious, healthy, delicious food to all our citizens at an affordable price. We will start with our hospitals and long-term-care institutions, ensuring that the meals served to patients will play a key role in establishing better health. Budgets will be adjusted so that food is considered medicine, and an integral part of the care plan of each patient. Rooftop gardens at the superhospitals will provide the kitchens with fresh, nutritious, tasty produce. Grocery stores on site will help our patients purchase affordable, nutritious food, as prescribed by our dietitians and doctors. Insurance companies will reimburse clients for the visits that they make to the dietitian, and the government will give us a tax credit for purchasing health-promoting food. The goal would be not just to prevent nutrition deficiencies but to promote good health through good nutrition.

 

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada

 

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President and CEO of Via Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano in the Montreal offices, on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>My wish for 2015 is to see more Montrealers travelling by train to Québec City, Ottawa or Toronto, and any points in between or beyond. Every time Montrealers choose the comfort and safety of the train, where they can put their time to good use — they are helping to reduce their environmental footprint, reinforce the importance of their national public transportation service and support the growth of Canada’s economy in the 21st century.

Montrealers, like all Canadians whether they live in large metropolitan areas or in smaller communities in between, have in VIA Rail a reliable rail system that allows them to get wherever they need to be without the use of their cars. At VIA Rail, we believe that inter-modality is everyone’s business and, in cooperation with our public transportation partners, we offer an alternative that helps unclog our highways and makes getting in and out of our cities easier and more enjoyable.

 

Robert Green, a history teacher at Westmount High School

 

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Westmount High School history teacher Robert Green.

John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, I would like to see an end to politicians attempting to accomplish their goals at the expense of vulnerable public-school students. Last year, it was teachers and students from various religious minorities being stigmatized by the Parti-Québécois government’s proposed charter of values; this year, it’s (Quebec Premier Philippe) Couillard attempting to balance the budget by asking vulnerable students to pay for all the tax cuts the previous Liberal government had doled out to the rich. Montreal’s public schools have a high numbers of students with special needs and students from low-income families. These are inevitably the students most affected when budgets for education and other social services are cut. When Mr. Couillard was running for election, he stated that he saw education as an investment in Quebec’s future. It would be nice if in 2015 he showed this was more than empty rhetoric by doing two things: 1) reversing the cuts to public education; 2) dealing fairly with the province’s teachers in upcoming contract negotiations.

 

Craig Sauvé, Projet Montréal city councillor for Saint-Henri — Petite-Bourgogne — Pointe-Saint-Charles district

 

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Craig Sauvé, Projet Montreal city councillor, at city hall.

John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>For 2015, I hope that improving the quality of life for citizens is truly a high priority for all levels of government.

I hope that Quebec seriously re-thinks its transportation strategy: the government should reconsider its plans for the $600-million Highway 19 project and instead reinvest the money in important public transit projects such as the LRT (light-rail train) on the Champlain Bridge, a West Island mobility plan and the extension of the métro’s Blue Line.

At the city level, I hope that Mayor (Denis) Coderre shows some leadership on transport. In 2014, the STM has had to cut bus departures because of budget cuts; they are now in catch-up mode. Our neighbourhoods need more bus and métro service, not less. We also need more investment in bike paths to promote healthy, active transport.

Affordability and economic fairness are on the minds of all Montrealers, our governments need to implant measures that will make it easier for families to make ends meet: keep housing affordable, stop hiking STM fares and hydro rates, protect affordable, quality daycare and education.

I also hope that all levels of government invest in greener neighbourhoods, green energy initiatives and protecting our valuable green spaces, such as Meadowbrook Park.

I hope that 2015 is a year of peace, joy, understanding and working together.

 

John Archer, wealth adviser for RBC Dominion Securities

 

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Financial adviser John Archer in Montreal.

Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>From a financial adviser’s point of view, the state of an individual city does not really impact financial markets or investment portfolios (unless, of course, you own Montreal’s municipal bonds in your investment portfolio or within your mutual fund or pension plan). However, the city does affect the adviser’s quality of life and that of his or her family.

From a quality of life point of view, I have three items on my Montreal wish list:

Firstly, I would like to see a drastic improvement of our homelessness issue. Just once I would like to walk freely from Atwater Ave. to Peel St. without being accosted for money every block or so.

Secondly, I would like to see an improvement in programs and employment opportunities to help our youth thrive economically in the city. If our children cannot see a future here, and they continue to abandon us, then that will be our greatest loss.

Thirdly, I would like to see a coordination of road construction along with our traffic flow and control. There is nothing more frustrating than driving on one of our many streets under construction than waiting for an intolerably long light and seeing that there is absolutely no work nor reason for the closed lane to be blocked off with orange construction cones. Surely our traffic flow can be better managed under these situations.

Maria Liliana Madriz, co-owner of Cachitos, a Venezuelan restaurant on Ste. Catherine St.

 

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María Liliana Madriz in Montreal on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013.

Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>I wish for the sharks not to bite so much.

When you start a small business with all your savings (and countless working hours), you expect a fair amount of permits, taxes, and expenses to bite at your hard-earned income. My wish concerns the hidden taxes that keep biting at you every day: like the 30 free parking spaces that were removed in my area, only to become viciously hounded metered spots, leading clients to pay $52 for the few extra minutes they take to say goodbye. Or the added 25 cents per litre we’re charged for gas in Quebec, affecting our shopping, commute and errands. Or the hikes in rent due to raised school and property taxes. Or the felony of having an English sign that, God forbid, is close in size to the French one, even though the most profitable season is summer, which brings English speaking tourists. To name a few.

And then, at the end of the day, while drinking a scotch to forget all of the above, you realize that the scotch also cost you more than it ought to, and that there’s nothing you can do about it, except to drink it slowly and hope that the bites won’t bleed you out.

Geoff Molson: Owner, president and CEO of the Club de hockey Canadien, Bell Centre and Evenko

 

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Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson speaks at the funeral for former Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, Wednesday, Dec.10, 2014.

Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS</figcaption></figure>I think this city thrives when the Montreal Canadiens go a long way in the playoffs. I hope we can bring that to the city.

And I hope that businesses start to thrive in Montreal and this becomes a destination for businesses to invest in. I can feel it coming.

There’s a new wave of optimism in the city. It’s refreshing because it wasn’t always that way in the past decade or so. Just look around the city and see all the (construction) cranes. That’s one reason to be optimistic.

But also look at the world economy. Compared to what’s happened in the rest of the world, Montreal and Canada survived quite well in difficult times since 2008.

From where I sit, I need to equip Marc (Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin) with a winning organization for the fans to enjoy. From a business perspective, to do my part, I just need to keep investing in our city and bringing new festivals, a winning hockey team and more business, like the condominiums around our (Bell Centre) building. I hope others do that, as well.

 

Debbie Friedman, trauma director for the Montreal Children’s Hospital

 

<figure id="attachment_439478" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">debbie-friedman-is-trauma-director-of-the-montreal-childrens.jpg<figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);">

Debbie Friedman is trauma director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the McGill school of medicine.

</figcaption></figure>I consider it a true privilege to work in the field of health care. Collaborating with many committed individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others is rewarding and meaningful. Diminished budgets, cuts in salaries, corruption scandals and new laws often detract from what health care should be about namely: the patients and their families.

Working in the field of trauma you are reminded all too often about how precious life is and how essential it is to be able to offer timely, expert care.

This year, a new chapter begins in the history of the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and the McGill University Health Centre at the Glen site. As trauma director, I am committed to seeing our Pediatric and Adolescent Trauma Centre flourish in its new home.

I am confident that despite the challenges we face in health care today, the people I work alongside will be focused on what we do best: providing the highest level of specialized care to our patients and their families. As well as training a new generation of health care professionals, conducting research, and working closely with the public, the media and governing bodies to develop and implement effective injury prevention strategies.

As for Montreal, I would hope that a city that has so much potential would get back to the business of thriving and embrace its unique heritage, thereby encouraging our youth to build their lives here in Montreal.

Life is precious and those of us working in the area of trauma see the tragic reality of injuries all too often.

 

Danny Maciocia, head coach of the Université de Montréal Carabins football team

 

<figure id="attachment_439494" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">montreal-que-march-06-2011-universite-de-montreal-head.jpg<figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);">

Universite de Montréal head football coach Danny Maciocia.

Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>People giving back … as far as professional athletes or even university football players (and others from) athletics. Just trying to give back to the community … getting involved, trying to make an impact, trying to make a difference, trying to influence people’s lives on a positive note. Because at the end of the day, I’m sure they look at several of these individuals as role models. So, just give back, make an impact and, like I said, try to make a difference and bring some core values in their message in 2015.

</article>

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J'aime bien certaines des idées mais celle de Eric Dupuis attire mon attention car tout ce qu'il mentionne ne coute presque rien à faire. Ce n'est pas vraiment une idée mais plutôt une mentalité. Il demande à l'état et/ou à la ville de se retirer, de donner plus de liberté aux gens, aux commerçants et de laisser court à la créativité des quartiers pour que ceux-ci puissent retrouver une personnalité forte, bref, tout ce qui a fait la renommé de Montréal mais que nous avons perdu en voulant faire un GROS Québec uniforme en plein cœur d'une grande ville multiculturelle et diversifiée.

 

Eric Dupuis, chef-owner Dominion Square Tavern and Balsam Inn

 

We should exploit our European side more, with its lifestyle and traditions. That way we would make our city more vivante and exciting for residents and tourists. Let’s create more vibrant neighbourhoods by letting them develop their own personalities instead of passing so many laws and rules meant to over-protect our society.

 

And as individuals we should stop being insular and share more time with our neighbours.

 

Montreal should have terraces everywhere, even in winter. We should have more small markets where producers come to sell their goods. These are both ways of encouraging outdoor living in winter.

 

We should let parents bring their kids into bars (not night clubs) when they go out for a drink with their friends.

 

We should have l’apéro every evening of the week, not just on Thursdays.

 

Bring back that old European spirit we had back in the day!

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