A sustainable and green city

The ecological transition, required by the global warming crisis, is no longer the business of a few: it is everyone’s business and it is essential to bring people together rather than divide them into “good” and “bad”, which only increases debate and delays decisions. With the will of Montrealers, the strength of our businesses, the know-how of our institutions and the management of a rigorous administration, Ensemble Montréal is convinced that we will achieve our GHG emission reduction objectives and, by doing so, protect the health and quality of life of all Montrealers.

Montreal, as a modern metropolis, has the duty to be a leader in the adaptation and the fight against climate change. Actions must focus on the target of carbon neutrality: Ensemble Montréal wishes, to this effect, to join the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. Our party is determined to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. 

With the green energy available in Quebec, the actions to reach this ambitious target must allow to :

  • Decarbonize all buildings in the Montreal community by 2045;
  • Decarbonize our industries by accelerating green innovation. As a metropolis, Montreal can help its leading industries align themselves with the energy of the future. 

Montréal has all the assets to become a leader in the ecological transition. To do so, the City of Montreal must also rigorously monitor its efforts in terms of GHG reduction, without which it will be difficult to measure what remains to be done. To this end, Ensemble Montréal will propose to :

  • Adopt a carbon budget;
  • Analyze the carbon budget each year in a joint public session of the Commission sur l’eau, l’environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs and the Commission sur les finances et l’administration;
  • Publish more systematically the inventory of GHG emissions of the City of Montreal and the Montreal community and improve local data collection.

A plan for eco-friendly responsible buildings

Buildings in the residential, commercial and industrial sub-sectors are major contributors to GHG emissions in Montréal. The City of Montréal must be a model by acting on its existing and future building stock.  Ensemble Montréal is committed to making Montréal’s municipal buildings carbon neutral by 2045.

The City of Montreal must also be a leading partner in helping Montrealers make the transition to carbon neutrality. A Coderre-Gelly administration is committed to :

  • Promote “green” construction and renovation:
    • By creating an “expertise and support desk” to facilitate and support Montrealers’ “green” renovation projects;
    • By making it mandatory to convert roofs to white, green or solar roofs during renovation for all categories of use throughout the territory;
    • By providing incentives for the renovation of parking lots in order to give preference to honeycombed and certified eco-responsible paving stones;
  • Offering Montrealers a subsidy corresponding to the increase in the general property tax resulting from construction, expansion or renovation work once LEED certification has been obtained;
  • Prohibit the installation of oil heating systems in new constructions from the beginning of the mandate in 2021 and prohibit oil heating in existing buildings by 2025;
  • Facilitate the green transition by supporting the conversion to more energy efficient heating appliances;
  • Encourage the installation of geothermal systems through regulations for new construction (residential, industrial and commercial);
  • Leading by example with City buildings (built or to be built):
    • Convert all roofs to white or green roofs on City buildings; 
    • Dedicate 1% of the city’s new construction budget to greening;
    • Constructing City buildings to WELL and LEED certifications;
    • Making the City’s parking lots environmentally responsible.
  • Greening school grounds:
    • Develop a standard for “green” school grounds until the City of Montreal takes over responsibility for school buildings;
    • In parallel with the process of the City of Montreal taking over responsibility for school buildings, set aside a budget dedicated to the redevelopment (demineralization, greening, playgrounds) of school grounds and prioritize these investments where socio-economic indicators are the weakest. 

Moreover, it is with the development of knowledge that Montreal will be able to take innovative actions to meet the objective of carbon neutrality in 2045. It is for this reason that a Coderre-Gelly administration will propose to:

  • Work in concert with the Green Transition Campus, particularly to catalyze and amplify urban innovation initiatives. 

Eco-taxation

It is by stimulating more environmentally friendly behaviour that the City of Montreal will be able to achieve its ambitious objectives of reducing GHG emissions. Ensemble Montréal believes that eco-taxation is an important tool in this regard, which can be applied in several contexts.

First of all, outdoor parking lots, both public and private, represent large heat islands that have harmful impacts on the environment and on the health of Montrealers. If the City of Montreal must set an example with its own parking lots, Ensemble Montréal is convinced that there are ways to encourage the conversion of private commercial parking lots into eco-responsible parking lots through eco-taxes. In order to do so, a Coderre-Gelly administration would like to :

  • Extend the property tax on parking lots to all outdoor commercial parking lots over 500 square meters under the principles of eco-taxation:
    • To tax all outdoor commercial parking lots at tax level C, which corresponds to the minimum amount set out in the By-law concerning the property tax on parking lots, without changing the tax level of the downtown area or that of the Montreal business center;
    • Issuing a blank bill in the first year and incrementally implementing it over five years; 
    • Exempt from taxation all certified environmentally responsible parking;
    • Create a tax incentive for obtaining eco-responsible certification for outdoor commercial parking lots.

The City of Montreal has several tools that would allow it to play a significant role in the development of green projects. A responsible Coderre-Gelly administration, committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, proposes to :

  • From the refinancing of the current debt, issue a $100M to $200M bracket of green bonds to finance specific greening projects, including actions related to socio-economic inequalities in the face of greening; 
  • Review, from the first year, the investment guidelines of the pension fund of the employees of the City of Montreal in order to gradually decarbonize the financial investments of the City of Montreal.

Nature for all, without exception

More than 60% of the population of Montreal is renting. A large portion of them do not own gardens and have access to nature only through parks. But this access is not equal for all Montrealers, while the scientific community agrees that nature is eminently beneficial to the health and psychological well-being of all. While the entire population has been affected by the pandemic, those who were already vulnerable have suffered even more: our seniors, our poorer citizens, those with reduced mobility and the sick. The same situation will be repeated with the climate crisis if no action is taken with intelligence, proactivity and determination. 

No more tree-free streets in Montreal

Not all citizens are equal when it comes to access to a developed canopy near their homes. Some areas are still huge heat islands. The most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Montreal are also sometimes the least “green”. However, it is no longer necessary to demonstrate that nature has virtues as much for the environment as for the health and quality of life of citizens. Planting trees in parks is easy, but planting trees where they are most needed requires political will. A Coderre-Gelly administration is therefore committed to :

  • Create a new indicator: map and grid Montreal’s streets to better green the areas lacking cool islands, prioritizing the most disadvantaged areas;  
  • Annually present the evolution of greening by sector to measure our efforts before the Commission sur l’eau, l’environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs;
  • Prioritize the development of the least “green” and most disadvantaged areas through the practice of “micro-forests”, very dense urban forests that become shelters for biodiversity and reduce heat islands.
  • Increase tree production through the creation of a new municipal nursery or the expansion of the Assomption nursery;
  • Ensure that the tree maintenance budget is adequate.

Protecting green spaces 

  • Preserve the Grand Parc de l’Ouest by not allowing real estate development there;
  • Preserve the current zoning and the territory that forms the humanized landscape of Île-Bizard, while respecting the property rights of the owners there;
  • To reach the target of 10% protection of the territory of the agglomeration of Montreal as natural environments;
  • Identify and include all local parks that can contribute to the achievement of the 10% target for the protection of natural environments and maintain all of Montreal’s protected natural environments;
  • Develop the network of biodiversity corridors throughout the city.
  • Work with the agglomeration and the federal government to protect federal lands north of Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Airport in Saint-Laurent and Dorval, including woodlands, fields, marshes and other natural areas, and protect the Monarchs field; 

Protect, beautify and make accessible Mount Royal 

  • Allow the installation of a terrace café on the raised outdoor portion of the Kondiaronk lookout and give a vocation to the Mount Royal chalet so that it becomes an ephemeral exhibition hall for First Nations and Inuit art, among others;
  • Pursue the process for the recognition of the heritage status of Mount Royal at UNESCO;
  • Secure the Camillien-Houde trail by promoting harmonious cohabitation between all mountain users;
  • Implement a pilot project with the STM to link the summit of the mountain, the incentive parking lots and certain tourist attractions by means of a shuttle bus;
  • Restore the Henry William Morgan pool to a municipal pool.

Make the water accessible to all 

Accessibility to the waterfront is a major issue in Montreal, and here again, inequalities prevail. Not only must water be made accessible, but it must be made accessible to all. A Coderre-Gelly administration is committed to :

  • Create a shuttle bus from disadvantaged boroughs to waterfront parks;
  • Take over the management of the Old Port and make the Old Port of Montreal an international showcase for the city, including the creation of an urban beach;
  • Create a hybrid project for the Lachine Marina where a marina and a beach are combined and where numerous nautical activities are proposed;
  • Create a beach at each waterfront park where swimming is possible, with priority given to disadvantaged areas.

Adapting to climate change

Heavy rainfall events are a real issue, as evidenced by the spring flooding experienced by Montrealers in 2017 and 2019. These episodes affect both the safety of Montrealers and their quality of life. In addition to flooding, extreme heat events are more frequent and cause several deaths among the most vulnerable people every year. These phenomena cannot be taken lightly; we must adapt and prepare for them. This includes actions to make the city’s soils permeable, or to reduce heat islands. It is in this sense that a Coderre-Gelly administration will:

  • Equip itself with a flood prevention budget in order to prepare in advance for possible crises;
  • Equip all low-rental housings (HLMs) dedicated to seniors with air conditioners to fight against the increasingly frequent heat waves;
  • Eliminating heat islands, starting with the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods;
  • Make the City of Montreal’s parking lots certified eco-responsible and encourage Montrealers to do the same for their own parking lots through incentives.

A true urban agriculture strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of food security and protecting the local economy. At the same time, in the face of the climate crisis, it is essential to find greener ways of eating and to promote short circuits in the supply chain. This is why a Coderre-Gelly administration will propose to focus on the development of urban agriculture in Montreal through the following actions:

  • Develop a Montreal food policy, in collaboration with all the partners involved;
  • Focusing on market gardening and ecological production on all the agricultural lands in the Grand Parc de l’Ouest and on Île Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève;
  • Encourage the installation of four-season greenhouses on the roofs of buildings with a large footprint (e.g., warehouses) via a financial incentive to owners;
  • Increase by 50% the number of m2 of community gardens, with priority given to less privileged neighbourhoods;
  • Encourage the establishment of new neighbourhood and solidarity markets for the sale of urban agricultural products, in collaboration with the Corporation des marchés publics de Montréal;
  • Develop urban agriculture on rooftops and in schoolyards;
  • Adopt a strategy to protect pollinators;
  • Adopting a strategy for planting different species of native trees and fruit trees.

Towards a Zero Waste City

For any responsible city, the management of residual materials is essential. In recent years, Ensemble Montréal has proposed, among other things, to ban single-use plastic water bottles in the city, to adopt a strategy to reduce single-use plastic, and to invest in the circular economy.

For nearly four years, Montrealers have unfortunately suffered from poor management of sorting centers, ecocentres and organic material processing centers. Ensemble Montréal promises to focus on reduction at the source while ensuring efficient management of residual materials. To achieve the ambitious waste reduction objectives, a Coderre-Gelly administration commits to : 

A circular and collaborative economy plan

  • Adopt a Montreal circular and collaborative economy plan; 
  • Produce an analysis of Montreal’s material flows;
  • Contribute to the implementation of an online platform for networking businesses in the circular and collaborative economy.

Reducing waste

  • Complete the plan to build organic waste treatment centers with optimal technology, including using the waste product as energy for heating;
  • Make GPS systems mandatory for trucks transporting contaminated soil progressively starting in 2021 and evaluate the possibility of requiring trucks transporting construction, renovation and demolition materials to do the same, in collaboration with the Quebec government, with the aim of stopping illegal dumping;
  • Pursue source reduction while accompanying the actors involved in this transition;
  • Require an eco-responsibility commitment for festivals taking place in Montreal;
  • Adding 30% glass powder in the concrete of our new sidewalks, in order to recycle glass and use less cement which pollutes enormously.

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