August 17, 2017 Montreal – Mayor Denis Coderre announced on Monday, as part of his action plan for the Downtown Strategy, that a public primary school will be built on the former Montreal Children’s Hospital site. While the inclusion of a school on the site was one of several recommendations from the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), the Mayor’s announcement appears to be premature.
The President of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), Catherine Harel-Bourdon, confirmed with Radio-Canada on Tuesday that Quebec government regulation does not allow school boards to rent private property for public schools. This regulation would make it impossible for the CSDM to rent space from Devimco, the developers and owners of the site. The CSDM is currently in conversations with Education Minister Sébastien Proulx to try to change these regulations, but nothing has been confirmed thus far. There are currently 330 children residing in Peter-McGill without access to a public primary school in their own neighbourhood.
This announcement is not the only precarious part of Mayor Coderre’s overly ambitious plan. The City relies too heavily on revenue from private developments and property taxes to fund its activities, inevitably leading to increased densification of the downtown area. As such, the action plan includes expanding the downtown population by 50,000 people before 2030. This disconcerting proposal encourages an influx of people in the downtown core without first addressing longstanding issues affecting the 34,000 residents of Peter-McGill. Residents of the neighbourhood have been deprived of ample green and recreational spaces, outdoor sports facilities, social housing, as well as the aforementioned public primary school for many years.
The Peter-McGill Community Council urges Mayor Denis Coderre to focus first on the issues affecting current residents of downtown before attempting to increase the population further. The Council also implores Minister Sébastien Proulx to work with the CDSM to change current education regulations so that this much needed school can be built.
ABOUT THE PETER-MCGILL COMMUNITY COUNCIL:
Peter-McGill Community Council is a non-profit organisation that brings together people who reside, study or work in the Peter-McGill area, as well as community organisations and institutions that serve them. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in the Peter-McGill district by supporting the development of neighborhood life and promoting citizen participation.
The Community Council has more than 200 members, including 125 residents of the district and 75 organisations and institutions that serve a diversity of residents in the area.
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For further information:
Corey Gulkin, CIP Communications Officer
Peter-McGill Community Council