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Release of the report on the consultation on reducing Montrealers’ dependence on fossil energies

Montréal, June 15, 2016. The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) makes public this morning the report on the public consultation on reducing Montréal’s dependence on fossil fuels. It is important to note that this consultation mandate originated from a citizen’s request under the Right of Initiative provided by the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities. Its objective was to draw out “concrete, ambitious and achievable initiatives that Montréal could implement to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

 Underscoring the extraordinary mobilization resulting from the mandate, OCPM president Dominique Ollivier stated: “At the start of this consultation, we said that we wanted to draw on Montréal’s collective intelligence to identify solutions for the city, associating Montrealers’ energy with the debate surrounding fossil and renewable energies. In five months, over 3500 citizens and organizations answered our invitation”. 

In addition to the traditional meetings for the presentation of written and oral opinions, the consultation provided a variety of other means to gather the advice of citizens: an online consultation in a platform that allowed the debate of ideas, citizens’ workshops (self-organized consultations using a downloadable kit), meetings with experts and a creative marathon. These resulted in 92 briefs, more than 50 activities, almost 500 solution paths, and some 20 projects. 

The Office notes that for the majority of consultation participants, reducing dependence on fossil energies is part of a broader goal to ultimately reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate changes. Therefore, the proposed solutions affect all of society’s consumers and extend beyond the strict framework of its consultation mandate. “The overall results of the process constitute a wealth of information, suggestions, and references to local and foreign experiences that were particularly difficult to translate into a few recommendations on how to reduce Montréal’s consumption of fossil fuels.” added the president. 

In keeping with the wishes expressed by the mayor and the collectives of citizens behind the consultation request, the OCPM commission attempted, based on the information it received, to pinpoint major areas of activity conducive to a significant fossil energy reduction, to identify promising avenues and concrete initiatives to be incorporated into City policies or that are in keeping with its responsibilities and, lastly, to highlight the efforts that the citizens themselves are ready to make and how Montréal can support those endeavours. Nonetheless, the proposed solutions remain available on the OCPM site at ocpm.qc.ca/energies-fossiles

The report made public today proposes, initially, major transversal recommendations that require changes in principles and paradigms, followed by specific solutions in terms of buildings, freight transportation, modal shifts, etc. 

In the wake of the consultation, the commission believes that, to achieve a true energy transition, Montréal must take advantage of these favourable conditions to quickly set out clear orientations that will have to be globally entrenched in principles in all of the City’s activities and policies. They are divided into four major themes as follows: 

The City should adopt effective measures and indicators to track the progress of its plans and policies, and mandatorily provide regular updates to citizens in order to build a culture of success. It should prioritize actions that will change the paradigm of a car-driven society and develop a city that is less dependent on fossil fuels. It should develop mechanisms and exercise strong leadership to allow the financing of the energy transition. The City should be exemplary in its practices and its own management in order to become a model for Montrealers and its partners, to imprint the movement and support the mobilization of the community in all areas where the reduction of fossil-energy consumption is possible. 

A list of the recommendations is available in the press kit (French and English versions), while the complete report (in French) is available here.