UPDATE (Dec. 2, 2011): Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay has announced that a public consultation on urban agriculture will be held this spring. The city clerk has confirmed that the petition meets the criteria for the right of initiative and contains 29,068 valid signatures.
They did it. On November 15, 2011, the Work Group on Urban Agriculture (GTUA) announced that it had collected 25,082 signatures on a petition calling for public hearings on urban agriculture. This is well beyond the 15,000 signatures required to meet the City of Montreal’s criteria for launching a public consultation by right of initiative.
In effect since January 1, 2010, the right of initiative allows citizens to initiate a public consultation on any matter that concerns the City or their borough. In the case of a City matter, the petition must be signed (on paper) by at least 15,000 people, ages 15 and over living on the territory of the city of Montreal, within a three-month period. The GTUA is the first group to successfully make use of this new tool.
The GTUA hopes the City will mandate the Office de consultation publique de Montréal to begin public hearings soon. This would allow citizens and experts to express their points of view, and would help establish a profile of the state of urban agriculture in Montreal, the group explained in its Nov. 15 press release.
“The reflection process will foster the emergence of a concerted vision as to the place that urban agriculture should have in the Montreal of tomorrow,” the group stated (in French). “It will allow for recommendations for reaffirming the necessity of gardening in the city, on the social, economic and environmental levels.”