Archive for ◊ September, 2009 ◊

• Thursday, September 24th, 2009

John Rahaim, the Director of urban planning for the City of San Francisco, will give a free lecture sponsored by the McGill University School of Architecture lecture series.

What can we learn from the San Francisco experience? How can we apply these learnings in the context of Montreal initiatives such as “Green Areas”, the “Neighborhoods green, healthy and active” project and various proposals for Rethinking Urban Transportation in Montreal?

The lecture is FREE, in English with simultaneous French translation.

October 5th from 18 to 20h at the McGill’s Macdonald Harrington Building, Room G10, 815 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal. METRO: McGill.

More about John Rahaim: architect, planner and urban designer. Director of Planning, City of San Francisco. Oversees the long-term planning, human development and environmental studies for most physical development of the city.

• Wednesday, September 02nd, 2009

***Update: Westmount has offered an online poll for residents to cast their votes on which sustainability issues are most important ***

I don’t know what is most disturbing about the process by which Westmount is attempting to institute “sustainable” measures in its borders.

First, Westmount is using the term “Sustainable Development” without any hint of duplicity that the term itself is an oxymoron.

Second,  the public is asked to comment further on 200 “initiatives” which simply smacks of posturing for public input since the real decisions will be left to city council.

Third, and my biggest peeve, is that not one of the sustainable initiatives (except bringing in organic farmers from the outside to set up a farmer’s market) moves the city towards sustainable food production for at least a portion of its diet.

The assumptions of the city residents and politicians seem insurmountable to me. “Of course the trucks from Metro supermarket will continue to arrive FOREVER.”

Nevermind a natural catastrphe, a Flu epidemic, a terrorist attack or just plain scarcity due to soaring food prices down the road. The lack of imagination or simple vision to see the present risks listed above astound me and make me want to live elsewhere.

Overlooking the most basic needs of its community, namely food, water, air, clothing, heat in the winter, will be Westmount’s downfall eventually.

From Joshua Wolfe, Sustainability Coordinator

Thursday, Sept. 10, Westmounters can participate in prioritizing sustainable development actions.

The Action Plan contains over 200 specific actions to make Westmount more sustainable. They were obtained from input from members of the general Westmount public, as well as other stakeholders, and from best practices developed by innovative cities throughout North America and elsewhere.

Of course, not all these ideas can be put into practice immediately. In addition to the concerns listed in this Plan, the City must maintain its infrastructure, parks, lighting, and ensure the effectiveness of current waste management practices, etc in a sustainable manner. Of the many actions listed in the 6 chapters* of the Sustainable Development Action Plan, City Council has developed a short list (see attached). The Sept 10 meeting will focus on prioritizing among these for 2010. There will also be time to discuss more long term actions.

Thursday Sept. 10 7:00 pm

Lodge Room, Victoria Hall

The Sustainable Development Action Plan is scheduled to be adopted by Council by early October. Municipal staff will then calculate the personnel and resource costs of implementing these priorities.

If you would like to provide input on priorities and cannot attend the Sept 10 meeting, fill out the survey at

Feel free to email your comments, reactions and suggestions.

*The six chapters are:

1. Energy & Greenhouse gas reduction
2. The three waters: Water, wastewater and precipitation
3. Nature & Biodiversity
4. Public Health
5. Wasted Resources
6. Access and Transportation