Susan, Roger, Marke and I met with representatives of the arrondissement to discuss the maintenance of the field on September 11th. Short story: They will leave the field alone in the short term future (in terms of maintenance).
What follows is a text that Susan wrote summing up the points made during the meeting. We'll soon get an official 'entente' from the arrondissement to avoid the mowings like the one we saw in August. (The willow we planted is long gone, as are many other specimens that were attracting butterflies and certain birds). This is a positive development as far as we are concerned; Sprout Out Loud will be able to continue with our tours and gardening, as well be able to get the city's help disposing of garbage in our future maintenance. The city will contact us before they intervene with the terrain from this point on. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me. Thanks- Emily
Date: Sept 11, 2009. 10:00 - 11:30.Location: Mayor's office, 502 avenue Laurier Est, 5e étage.
People present: Mile End Citizen's Committee/ Sub-committee 'Le Champ des possibles': Marke Ambard, Susan Bronson, Roger Latour and Emily Rose Michaud.
Arrondissement du Plateau Mont-Royal: Luc Gosselin (Chef de la division des parcs et installations, Direction des travaux publics) et Nancy Vallée (Bureau des élus)
Subject: Maintenance of the Field ('Le Champ des Possibles'), property of the City of Montréal, south of the train tracks and to the East of Henri-Julien.
1- This meeting between the representatives of the arrondissement and representatives of the Mile End Citizen's Committee was inititiated by the borough mayor in order to resolve questions concerning the maintenance of Le Champ des Possibles in the short term.
2- Mr. Gosselin explained that the mowers that were passed in the field in August 2009 were to eliminate ragweed, which is a plant that is very present on the property. He said he was ready to ask his team of workers to no longer intervene on the property except unless it was necessary for reasons of public health, security, or some major reason and that it would be possible to inform a rep from the committee before doing any interventions on the property in the future.
3- Different methods for eliminating ragweed were discussed; we stated that the cutting of ragweed doesn't solve anything in the long term and that an appropriate method would be to remove the plants manually, systematically before they flower (which is usually twice per year).
4- We explained to Gosselin the importance of respecting the impressive and diverse flora and fauna, as well as the field being a potential zone reserved to highlight the wonders found in this ecosystem. We highlighted the various people that use and appreciate this space: i- The volunteer initiatives of Sprout Out Loud (our work in the Roerich Garden and surrounding land, regular working bees removing garbage) ii- the daily use by residents and workers of the district iii- the unanimous interest expressed by many Montreal dwellers to this day to save the wild nature of this space.
We added that over 200 citizens have participated in multiple walking tours of the Saint-Viateur-East neighbourhood, including the field, that have been offered since last April: In July a visit accentuating the biodiversity of the field was led by Bronwyn Chester (trees), and Roger Latour (plants) and attracted over 40 people; In September, a medicinal herb walk was facilitated by herbalist Lana Kim McGeary. We also mentioned that our sub-committee (Le Champ des Possibles) is made up of a diverse group of twenty enthusiasts who have been working since last June on the priorities and propositions for the future of the field.
5- It was agreed that:
i- Following the requests of our committee (in order to ease the daily maintenance of the field), the Arrondissement would install garbage bins near entrances to the field, in areas that would be easily accessible for the pick up without needing to enter the field with their trucks.ii- The committee would advise Mr. Gosselin of the S.O.L maintenance bees and garbage clean ups to organize a special garbage pick upiii- Mr. Gosselin would ask his specialist to inspect the poplar tree in the middle of the field whose branch has been ripped, and take care of it's removaliv- Mr. Gosselin would advise a rep from our committee in advance if any interventions in the field by the city were to take placev- The manual removal of ragweed would be encouraged in the futurevi- Mr. Gosselin and Mr. Francois Lebrun would prepare a first draft of the agreement between the Arrondissement and the Mile End Citizen's Committee / Sub-committee of Le Champ des Possibles to clarify the responsibilities of each, and to identify the contact people. Ms. Vallée would advise the committee as soon as this draft is ready to be reviewed by the Committee and Sub-committee.
Prepared by MA, SB, RL and ERM on September 11, 2009