Annual Report 2014
The year 2014 brought many changes to the OCPM,
including the departure of Louise Roy, who left us in June after serving two terms as Office president. Ms. Roy made her mark on the Office in recent years by establishing credible, transparent and innovative consultation mechanisms, and we are very grateful to her for those initiatives. Her legacy will shape the life of the OCPM for years to come. We all wish to thank her for her excellent work.
2014, a year of change.
The Office also has the mandate of promoting best public consultation practices.
New technologies create an environment conducive to expressing opinions, co-creating solutions, exchanging and sharing knowledge. These rapid advances combined with citizens’ often expressed desire to be heard and to more systematically participate in public decision-making mechanisms have led us to focus on public consultation practices relying on the immense potential of digital means.
The networking of individuals, the advent of new forms of communication and the decentralization of idea circulation promote the re-appropriation of public space and its governance by citizens, but also present a real element of risk in terms of developing new forms of digital divides and exclusions. That is why we held the Wikicité event in February. The seminar raised a great deal of interest in a variety of areas and reached new audiences. It showed us that the phenomenon of citizen participation through digital tools is developing quickly. It poses many challenges and problems, but also offers promising new courses of action for the future.
Upstream consultation on the future of Plateau Est
Among the actions required to ensure planned development of the area based on a shared vision, the Office rethought the traditional consultation process. We organized practical workshops with interactive models using augmented reality to facilitate the development of various scenarios and organized a forum with City representatives, citizen and community groups, experts, representatives of the economic and institutional communities, and residents to allow a more in-depth examination of the issues and broad experimentation of the tools.
The OCPM: an important asset for Montrealers
The OCPM contributes to social cohesion by fostering peaceful dialogue among citizens, project developers, and representatives of civil society and the municipal administration. It offers them a forum where they can talk about their city within the framework of an established transparent procedure that ensures that everyone is heard and taken into account. By highlighting points of convergence in its analyses, the Office also continually contributes to the decoding and recognition of common social values. Its role as a neutral third party, a model unique in America, promotes participation.
A survey conducted at our request in 2012, revealed that almost one Montrealer in five was aware of the office and that, among those, 86% had a favourable opinion of it, 85% believed that it was useful, and 80% found it credible.
Our internal statistics show that our consultations are attended by a large variety of individuals and organizations, and that more than one-third of them are citizens who are stakeholders or directly concerned, and one-quarter are social and community groups from the territories in question.
Challenges for the coming years
It is important that we make the process even more accessible to citizens and easier to use. In addition to existing tools, we must diversify our methods to include groups that are more difficult to reach, such as immigrant citizens and vulnerable people, who are not very comfortable with written documents or who are living in precarious situations. We must ensure that a variety of stakeholders’ points of view are expressed and heard at all times.
We could also more systematically assume a training role for elected officials and municipal bodies responsible for consultations at various levels.
Many other forms of contribution are possible, such as exercises involving mediation, conciliation and decision co-construction.
The model for capitalizing on our developed expertise remains to be invented. But, regardless of the paths chosen, I want to reiterate our enthusiasm and determination to continue to make the Office de consultation publique de Montréal a tool that is attuned to the citizens and at the heart of Montréal’s democracy.
of the Office
The mission of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, created under section 75 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, is to carry out public consultation mandates with regard to land-use planning and development matters under municipal jurisdiction, and on all projects designated by the city council or executive committee.
The Office de consultation publique de Montréal, in operation since September 2002, is an independent organization whose members are neither elected officials nor municipal employees. It receives its mandates from the city council or executive committee.
Briefs were filed
public notices and advertisements
in seven daily
and weekly newspapers
of the Office Web site
from Social networks
15% TWITTER 80% FACEBOOK
in the consultations of
the Office last year
OCPM’s Web site
In 2014, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal was entrusted with a number of mandates. The Office gets its mandates either from the city council or the executive committee, pursuant to section 89 or section 83 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal. The Charter also provides that the agglomeration council may mandate the Office to hold a consultation on its territory when a project covered under section 89 of the Charter falls within the Agglomeration’s jurisdiction.
Real estate project on Saint-Antoine Street West
It is resolved that the draft by-law entitled “Règlement modifiant le Plan d'urbanisme de la Ville de Montréal (04-047)” concerning the height and density of an area located to the south of Saint-Antoine Street, between De la Montagne, Torrance and Jean-D’Estrées Streets, shall be adopted, and that the file shall be submitted to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal so that it may hold the public consultation meeting in accordance with the law.
Borough of Ville-Marie
January 28, 2014
Presentation of briefs:
February 25, 2014
May 6, 2014
May 20, 2014
Les ateliers Castelnau real estate project
It is resolved that the draft By-law entitled “Règlement autorisant la reconversion à des fins résidentielles de l’ancien site Transcontinental situé sur le lot 2 589 396 du cadastre du Québec” shall be adopted, and that the file shall be submitted to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal so that it may hold the public consultation meeting in accordance with the law (January 28, 2014).
Borough of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension
February 17, 2014
Presentation of briefs:
March 18, 20 and 24, 2014
May 29, 2014
June 16, 2014
Establishment of an organic material treatment centre
It is resolved by the agglomeration council to adopt the draft By-law entitled “Règlement autorisant la construction et l’occupation à des fins de centre de traitement de matières organiques par compostage en bâtiment fermé sur un emplacement situé du côté nord-est des boulevards Métropolitain et Saint-Jean-Baptiste sur le territoire de l'arrondissement de Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles”, and to submit the file to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal so that it may hold the public consultation meeting in accordance with the law.
Borough of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles
October 22, 2014
Presentation of briefs:
November 12 and 13, 2014
February 2, 2015
February 16, 2015
Employment sector - Plateau Est
It is resolved that the Office de consultation publique de Montréal shall be mandated to accompany the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal in a participatory process targeting the development and adoption of a special planning program for the Plateau Est employment sector.
Borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal
October 28 and 30,
and December 8 and 15, 2014
December 6, 2014
Presentation of briefs:
January 20 and 21, 2015
Early May 2015
Ville de Montréal’s Smart and Digital City Office (SDCO)
The OCPM became involved in the work of the Ville de Montréal’s Smart and Digital City Office (SDCO) within the course of its citizen consultations. Throughout the fall, the Office accompanied the SDCO in holding citizen discussions in five libraries around the city, and organized, on November 23 last, a co-design day dealing with the vision of a smart city. On that occasion, the Office utilized new tools in its communications, its use of technologies and animation alike.Consult the document (French only)
The OCPM informs citizens of any upcoming public consultations. It begins by publishing a public notice in a daily newspaper at least 15 days before the meeting. The notice is also posted on the Office Web site.
In 2014, the Office published 13 public notices and advertisements in seven daily and weekly newspapers and issued 41 press releases. Two advertising campaigns on Facebook and Google and two radio campaigns were also conducted. In some cases, in addition to the notices, the Office also sends special invitations to citizens and organizations directly concerned by the ongoing consultation project.
Usually, the Office distributes information flyers announcing the consultation to citizens that will be affected by a given project. Depending on the consultation, the distribution may cover between 1500 and 40,000 homes. Last year, some 80,000 flyers were distributed in sectors neighbouring projects that were the subject of consultations. Flyers and posters were also distributed to concerned organizations and in Ville de Montréal service points.
The Web platform of the OCPM continues to regularly inform citizens and groups interested in public consultations. In 2014, almost 26,000 people visited Web pages on our site, for a total of almost 43,000 visits. It is interesting to note an increase in the number of visits this year from tablets and mobile phones, which represented a total of some 3700 interactions with the OCPM site. This new reality is inducing the Office to take steps to adapt its offering to those new consultation modes.
Among the pages on public consultations, those on the real estate project on Saint-Antoine Street and Les ateliers Castelnau received the largest number of visits. However, they were surpassed by the consultation relating to Wikicité.
The sources of users are also evolving. Social networks now represent a greater percentage (6%) of Office Web site traffic. The large majority still comes from Facebook, which provides 80% of social network traffic, compared with 15% from Twitter.
and new technologies
While the Office has used new media to inform and consult the population since 2008, the year 2014 was especially rich in consideration and development of new practices. Firstly, it is important to mention that technological tools do not replace traditional public consultation methods, but are an addition to them.
The Wikicité event, the creation of the Wiki 101 Web portal, the various activities in partnership with the Smart and Digital City Office (SDCO), and the development of new virtual tools used in upstream public consultations on the Employment sector of Plateau Est presented opportunities to redefine our consulting methods.
Four main goals motivated this technological advancement:
- Taking advantage of the variety of opportunities presented by information and communication technologies (ICT) and, at the same time, of their effervescence;
- Increasing awareness of the Office and reaching new publics, such as young people and ethnocultural communities, that rarely participate in traditional consultations;
- Enhancing the reputation of the OCPM and promoting citizen participation in its activities;
- Facilitating and strengthening the public information mission of the Office.
Wikicité – Public participation in the digital age
In recent years, the OCPM has felt the need to consider new methods of consultation employing digital means, with a view to integrating them into its activities. It is in that context that the Office organized the Wikicité event in February 2014. Wikicité was an occasion to reflect on the added value of using digital means in public consultation and on the opportunities and challenges they bring. Between panelist presentation and booth visits in the Espace Innovation, the event was a forum for discussion, the sharing of experiences, and the promotion of local digital resources and know-how.
The event brought to light the wide range of public consultation possibilities open to us through ICT. It also made us more aware of the strengths of traditional consultation. Setting it aside would represent a major loss for everyone. We must therefore identify a hybrid consultation model achieving a balance between virtual and existing methods that would benefit the greatest possible number of participants.See the video (French only)
Wikicité 101 – An online teaching tool
With a view to continuing the reflection process initiated during the event, the OCPM developed WIKICITÉ 101 (wikicitemtl.com), a Web platform promoting digital innovation in the area of citizen participation. The platform consists of a permanent public education and information tool providing access, among other things, to:
- The content and videos of the presentations of guest panelists;
- Definitions of concepts and technical terms;
- Examples of local and foreign tools and practices;
- An overview of opportunities and challenges associated with the use of digital means in public consultation; and
- The digital courses of action that the OCPM plans to pursue in the near future.
Moreover, to promote in-depth learning, an online questionnaire is available to allow users to test their knowledge.
Development of new media in public consultation
New media were also developed during the upstream consultation on the Plateau Est SPP and the partnership with the Smart and Digital City Office (SDCO).
Plateau Est SPP
As part of the upstream public consultations on the Special Planning Program for Plateau Est, several types of digital tools and traditional methods were combined.See the video (French only)
Creation of development scenarios in augmented reality with 3D printing
To allow everyone to create their own development scenario, the OCPM developed an interactive installation using augmented reality technology. The installation consists of a table on which a map of the area is laid out. Participants have a number of “markers” representing parks and residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and cultural buildings. A camera continuously films the map and displays on the screen the 3D models related to the markers. The users also have access to representations of trees, pedestrians, cars, trucks, bicycles and park benches. For citizens unfamiliar with new technologies, a second interactive table using plastic buildings printed in 3D was available.See the video (French only)
Micro Web site
A Web strategy was developed including a micro Web site designed solely for this consultation. At plateauest.com, Web users may access all information related to the project.
3D viewing program
We also created a 3D representation of the Plateau Est area directly accessible on a Web page. There is no software to download and no need for special navigation features. Using a link on the micro Web site, citizens can view the sector in 3D. They can move from left to right on it, get closer or further away from it, or turn round on themselves within it.
New applications for tablets and smartphones
Since the use of tablets and smartphones is increasingly widespread, we created an OCPM application. The app allows users to view the Plateau Est area in 3D and can also be used to view 3D models in augmented reality.
The Betaville platform proved to be one of the most useful digital means for collecting citizen’s opinions. This participative platform is free of charge and anyone can download it online (betaville.net). Users can leave comments and offer ideas directly in a 3D environment. It allowed us to gather some 30 contributions
Use of Oculus Rift
During the public forum, the Oculus Rift virtual-reality head-mounted display allowed participants to observe problem areas within the territory without having to move about. The 3D scenario used to create the virtual environment is the same one used for mobile and Betaville applications. To enhance the realism of the virtual visit of Plateau Est, trees, streetlamps, residents, cars and cyclists were imported. However, the realism of the immersion remains limited. Users can move about in it using a gamepad.
To ensure that the technologies developed could be used by citizens, four booths were set up during the citizen forum on December 6, 2014. OCPM employees were on site to guide citizens and help them to use the technologies. The participants’ response was very good.
Partnership with the Smart and Digital City Office
On October 17, 2014, the Office the consultation publique responded to the partnership request of the Smart and Digital City Office, to accompany it in its consultation process to identify major goals with a view to drawing up its 2015-2017 action plan.
The partnership was founded on section 83 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, which mandates the Office “to propose a regulatory framework for the public consultations carried out by the official of the city in charge of such consultations so as to ensure the establishment of credible, transparent and effective consultation mechanisms.”See the video (French only)
The objectives of the SDCO for the partnership were:
- To help citizens to absorb the concept of a smart and digital city;
- To validate the prioritization of issues on the basis of data collected through the various consultation channels;
- To identify paths for solutions to some of the citizens’ concerns and existing levers for their implementation;
- To validate an analysis and prioritization grid for projects by testing previously identified solution paths.
In addition to ensuring an accessible, transparent and credible consultation mechanism, the OCPM also wanted, through the partnership, to further its reflection process on public consultation in the age of digital technologies and to test various mechanisms to foster citizen participation in the smart city.
Contribution of the Office
Within the framework of that operation, the contribution of the Office focused primarily on two activities of the SDCO work plan:
- The organization and carrying out, between October 26 and November 16, 2014, of five citizen discussions in Montréal libraries;
- The development and animation of the co-design workshop on November 23, 2014.
In terms of the citizen discussions, the contribution of the Office consisted in:
- Disseminating the announcement of the events and dates through the OCPM network;
- Co-animating the discussion-workshops held in city libraries;
- Participating in the collection and analysis of data stemming from those events.
With respect to the co-design workshop aimed at bringing together the different points of view collected through various means and channels, the Office assumed responsibility for:
- The approach to designing the day and drawing up the support materials;
- The animation and logistical coordination;
- The creation of idea-collection and note-taking tools;
- The animation of the “smart room” and social media;
- The visual and sound recording of the event;
- The analysis and report on the day.
Electronic voting system
The OCPM used an electronic voting system for the first time on the occasion of the co-design day on November 23. Firstly, the system allowed us to collect socio-demographic information about the participants. Secondly, participants were able to rank, by order of importance, the various courses of action that the City should consider and the three priorities on which it should focus first. Later, participants were able to vote on the proposals stemming from the work-group discussions. The electronic voting system was also used to conduct a satisfaction study at the end of the co-design day.
The electronic voting system allowed us not only to view the participants’ opinions in real time, but also to compare the opinions collected before the co-design workshop and the opinions of those who attended the workshop.
To promote interaction among participants in an innovative context, the set-up of the hall employed imagery and social networks. Participants were invited to post their experiences and the content of their discussions directly on the news thread.
The participants’ smartphones and tablets also played a role: photos and messages posted on Twitter were projected onto the screens.
Since its establishment in 2002, the Office has developed a network of contacts in organizations with missions similar to its own, contacts that have helped to improve the OCPM’s methods of operation. The external activities of the Office promote skill dissemination, development, and the sharing of Montrealers’ experiences. Firstly, for 2014, let us mention the interactions of the Office with the City of Gatineau. The secretary general, Mr. Luc Doray, was invited to present the model of the Office to the municipal elected official responsible for public consultations, with a view to creating in that city an organization inspired by the activities of the OCPM. The presentation allowed the secretary general to cover all angles of the interventions of the Office in the execution of its mandates.
Mr. Doray also participated in the annual convention of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD), held in the Brazilian City of Canoas, where he presented the consultation model of the Office and, more specifically, advances involving the use of new technologies in our consultation practices. The IOPD is one of the only international networks bringing together municipal players involved in citizen participation.
In 2014, the Office also rejoined the ranks of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). The network primarily connects public participation practitioners active in public, private or institutional communities. The OCPM had already been a member of the association during its first years of operation. The annual convention of the IAP2 was held in Montréal in 2006, and the Office played a large role in it. We intend to resume a sustained presence in that organization in coming years.
We also established a partnership with the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) for the organization and staging of the seminar on new technologies and citizen participation, held in February 2014. On that occasion, we also solicited the contribution of our colleagues from Lyon. In fact, the director of futurology and public dialogue of Greater Lyon, Mr. Pierre Houssais, was one of the main speakers at the seminar.
In the month of April, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal participated, for the second time, in the biennial exhibition Le Montréal du Futur, held at Complexe Desjardins last April 22 to 28. Organized by BOMA QUÉBEC (the Association des propriétaires et des administrateurs d’immeubles du Québec), the architectural exhibition aims to present and highlight commercial, residential and institutional real estate projects that will contribute to Montréal’s urban and economic development over the next few years. The projects presented were not necessarily official or approved, but all foresaw a creative vision for the future. This fifth edition of the exhibition is believed to have attracted more than 75,000 visitors.
Among the meetings held in 2014, it is important to note the visit of senior executives of France’s Commission nationale du débat public (CNDP). Its president, Mr. Christian Leyrit, accompanied by its two vice-presidents, came to discuss trends in public consultation with the OCPM president and secretary general.
Lastly, throughout the year, the Office was invited, in a number of boroughs, to present its role and activities to groups of students and members of citizens groups interested in public consultation. In that context, the president of the Office also participated in meetings of both the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec and the Ordre des architectes du Québec.
OF THE OFFICE
In compliance with the Charter of Ville de Montréal, the city council provides the Office with the funds required to carry out its mandate. Under sections 83 and 89 of the Charter, the Office must hold all consultations requested by the executive committee or city council. The financial statements of the OCPM are audited by the auditor of the city and presented to city council.
In 2014, the Office was allocated a budget of $1.8 million, an amount that has remained unchanged since 2003. This amount is meant to cover all budgetary items: the remuneration of commissioners and permanent staff; the fees of analysts/researchers and other professional resources required to hold public consultations; the publication of public notices; the printing of commission reports; rent for the offices; and general administrative expenses.
The amount was sufficient to carry out all the mandates entrusted to the Office by the executive committee and city council. Given the small number of mandates in 2014, the Office ended the year with a surplus of $200,000, which will be returned to the City coffers. However, the situation may be very different in 2015. Depending on the number of mandates it receives, the Office may have to request additional funds over the course of the year. That practice has been a recurring one, since the budget has been maintained at the 2003 level and is usually insufficient to cover the costs of holding consultations that have become increasingly complex.
OF THE OFFICE
The office has established credible, transparent and effective mechanisms for its consultations, upon completion of which it produces a report on the opinions expressed by citizens in attendance at the hearings.
In keeping with its obligations and responsibilities, the Office oversees the commissions and manages their activities. The general secretariat is responsible for supporting commissioners in their work and for the general administration of the Office.
The OCPM offices are located at 1550 Metcalfe Street, on the 14th floor. In addition to spaces for its secretarial staff, the Office also has rooms for preparatory meetings for consultations and for public hearings.
The Office team comprises commissioners appointed by city council, administrative staff, and external collaborators hired on a contractual basis. The latter are responsible for preparing the consultations and supporting the commissioners in their work.
In September 2014, the city council appointed Ms. Dominique Ollivier as president of the Office for a four-year term. On the recommendation of the Office president, a number of part-time commissioners are appointed by city council to hold consultations. The latter cannot work as City employees or as municipal elected officials.
The commissioners are responsible for chairing the public consultations and for producing a report to city council in which they make any recommendations they deem appropriate.
Ad hoc commissioners in 2014
André Beauchamp, Bruno Bergeron, Nicole Boily, Jean-Claude Boisvert, Nicole Brodeur, Jean Burton, Jean Caouette, Viateur Chénard, Irène Cinq-Mars, Alain Duhamel, Habib El-Hage, Ariane Émond, Claude Fabien, Judy Gold, Michel Hamelin, Peter Jacobs, Hélène Laperrière, Marie Leahey, Gaétan Lebeau, Renée Lescop, Hélène Morais, Jean Paré, Michel Séguin, Luba Serge, Joël Thibert, Nicole Valois, Joshua Wolfe.
To assist the commissioners in preparing for and holding the consultations and in drafting their reports, the Office has established an administrative structure.
The Office’s now smaller general secretariat is composed of a secretary general, Mr. Luc Doray, supported by a small team of employees. Mr. Doray is a permanent employee of the Ville de Montréal, assigned to the OCPM by the executive committee in the fall of 2002. Contract employees are also hired as needed. The Charter of Ville de Montréal stipulates that Office employees are not employed by the City, but that the city council may assign any employee it designates to the functions of the Office (section 80).
The Office depends on the assistance of a loyal network of collaborators to carry out its mandate. To help citizens and commissioners to understand the projects and relevant issues, the Office relies on the support and experience of borough and central department employees, professionals, officers and elected officials.
Furthermore, a good number of external resources have put their knowledge and expertise at our disposal. Without their collaboration, the Office would have been unable to disseminate relevant information to citizens with a view to gathering their opinions on projects submitted for public consultation.
LIST OF EMPLOYEES
AND COLLABORATORS IN 2014
José Fernando Diaz
Laurent Maurice Lafontant
Nhat Tan Le
Michael J. Simkin
Design + Developement
Legal deposit - Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec, 2015
Legal deposit - Library and Archives Canada, 2015
ISBN 978-2-924002-73-5 (Print)
ISBN 978-2-924002-74-2 (PDF)
Electronic version available at: www.ocpm.qc.ca
Version française PDF disponible sur le site Internet
The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) would like to thank all of its collaborators who contributed to the promotion of Office activities in 2014.
The OCPM would also like to take this opportunity to thank the groups, organizations, citizens, civil servants and developers who participated in the various public consultations.
The Office owes the success of its public consultations to the involvement of borough and central department employees, professionals, management personnel and elected officials, who gave their help and expertise to help citizens and commissioners to understand the projects and issues involved.
Without everyone’s good will and co-operation, the OCPM’s public consultations would not have achieved their primary goal of providing Montrealers with pertinent information and data on the various projects, with a view to gathering their opinions and comments.