Tag Archives: Environment

TWIM: Dion’s carbon tax idea

Somehow, despite working 42 hours this week, I managed to put together another bluffer’s guide, for the Liberal carbon tax plan. Liberal leader Stéphane Dion calls it Green Shift, which I guess is not to be confused with this Green Shift. From the video, it seems to have something to do with stock photos of plants and animals, combined with people in suits clapping awkwardly in a white room.

The 48-page plan (PDF), which ironically wastes quite a bit of space by having blank pages and one-word all-green title pages, explains far more details than non-Liberal politicians would have liked, because now they can’t attack Dion for being unclear.

That doesn’t mean they won’t attack the Liberals though. The Tories have already setup a they-think-it’s-funny website mocking Dion and his plan, saying everyone but the tooth fairy and leprechauns will have to pay more taxes as a result of it.

Basically all you need to know about the plan is this:

  • It would tax polluting fossil fuels and cut income taxes to balance the money difference
  • It exempts gasoline, because politicians are too scared to admit that high gas prices help the environment when suburban soccer moms are griping about how much money it takes to fill up their SUVs. This makes the plan useless for its intended purpose.
  • It’s a Liberal plan, and the Liberals have to become the government and get support from a majority of MPs before they can implement it.


I’m glad to hear that the global warming/energy crisis has been solved, and local businesses can go back to cranking up the air conditioning full blast and throwing open their doors so they can cool the sidewalk in front of their stores.

I’m not sure what’s more outrageous: the fact that this happens, or the fact that consumers fall for it and/or don’t care enough to protest.

Not to mention the fact that air conditioners displace heat, so for all the air that’s cooled in front of a store, hot air in the back is heated even further. The result is a net increase in heat that just makes hot days in the city even hotter.

Bouchard-Taylor love wasting paper (literally)

So as I was taking a short break from doing my job yesterday, I downloaded this report that everyone’s talking about, in its original French. I expected a long report taking up far more paper than is necessary, and I wasn’t disappointed.

But I noticed something on one of the pages of the report:

I thought that was funny because the report had so many blank pages in it, to serve as bookends for the title pages. I did a quick count of the blank pages and mentioned to my boss that of the 310 pages in the report, 34 were entirely blank (not a single dot of ink).

She asked me to give her a couple of paragraphs saying that, and it turned into the shortest article I’ve ever written, in today’s paper. (It was a bit longer than that to begin with, but it was cut down for space, and also because it went on a bit too long, by a ruthless copy editor who ironically turned out to be myself).

Admittedly, both the environmental policies and the blank pages are common practice in government reports. The Johnson Commission report (PDF) has a similar notice (though it actually calculates how much of the planet you’re saving), and also has blank pages (though not as many).

Without the blank pages and title pages (including pages that repeat the title page or just include photos of the commission chairs, but not including the environmental/copyright notice above which is on an otherwise blank page), the Bouchard-Taylor report would have 60 fewer pages, for a 19% reduction in paper use.

Wouldn’t that have been better for the environment?

YAGB: Environment, culture

My evil misunderstood overlords at The Gazette have launched two new blogs this week, bringing its total to 1,425:

Stage and Page, which I have to admit is a kind of catchy title, is the blog of new “culture critic” Pat Donnelly. Formerly the books columnist, she’s taken over Matt Radz’s theatre beat as well, bringing herself to a level of cultural aptitude that simply puts the rest of us to shame.

Green Life, by reporters Monique Beaudin and Michelle Lalonde, is the environment blog, which was launched last Tuesday as part of the whole Earth Day thing. It’s part of a larger “website” devoted to environment issues. There will also be a weekly column on the environment on Mondays (including a big splash in today’s Arts & Life section on reducing your carbon footprint in 12 easy steps). The column will alternate between the two as they teach us new and disgusting ways to make us greener.

(UPDATE – April 30):

Showbiz Chez Nous, by Brendan Kelly, follows the same subject matter as his weekly column: TV and movies in Quebec.

Editor and Publisher aren’t scooping anyone

Editor and Publisher has a short article (via J-Source) about The Gazette’s Green Report Card, in which the newspaper looks at its own environmental impact and comes up with some sobering results (they use a lot of paper). E&P calls it “groundbreaking,” which makes me wonder what took them so long: the report was published in April.

I realize magazines have long lead times between writing and publishing, but this is kind of silly.

Anyway, the report is still worth reading, if only for its surprisingly honest self-assessment.

My Rogers nightmare continues


Today was bill-payment day, when I login to my bank’s website, remember that Firefox somehow causes Desjardins an “internal error,” switch to Safari, login again, and pay my bills for the month.

Two bills, for cable/Internet and hydro, I get in the mail. One bill (credit card) still goes to my parents’ house, but I have all the info online anyway so I don’t need it.

And then there’s Rogers. A few months ago I switched from paper billing to online billing because I wanted a copy of my call history. And the only way I could get that for free was to have online billing. But since then it’s been a nightmare trying to get access to my bills. And even when I do get access, my “call history” is either entirely blank or throws up an error when I try to read it.

Today, my login was “unsuccessful” and my account suspended for no apparent reason (the password was good, and it was my first login attempt). I gave up and decided I’m going to have them switch me back. And since I can’t login to their website, it’ll have to be by phone.
My request was simple: switch from online to paper billing

I press 8 for English, and go through their voice menu. I have to answer a bunch of questions (is my problem “billing” or “account management”?), get stuck in dead-ends (no I’m not trying to pay my bill) and after a half-dozen of these menus (finally telling it I want to speak to a representative), I get another menu asking me if it’s for wireless, cable, Internet or other, then another asking if it’s about a cellphone, blackberry, pager or other, then another asking me to enter my 10-digit phone number, then I’m put on hold.

First representative asked for my phone number, my name, my postal code and my date of birth. She’s very nice and after I tell her my problem she explains that she’ll need to send me to something called “E-care” and they’ll fix it right away. She also says I can do it online much easier, but when I tell her Rogers.com is a nightmare to use she’s sympathetic and says something along the lines of how some people have problems.

Second representative asked for my phone number, my name, my postal code and my date of birth. I tell him my problem and he says the system that takes care of this is “not available to (him) at the moment”, so he’s going to transfer me to another representative who’ll take care of it right away.

Third representative asked me for my phone number, my name, my postal code and my date of birth. I tell her my problem and she explains that her computer can’t make that change and she’ll need to send me to “e-care” so they can reset it. She also says I can do it online. I am confused, because I already thought I was at “e-care”, but she corrects me. So I guess Rep #2 screwed me there.

Fourth representative has a thick Indian accent. He asks me, one at a time, for my phone number, my name, my postal code and my date of birth. I tell him my problem, and he asks me why I want to change. Rather than spend 20 minutes trying to argue with this guy about the hellhole that is Rogers.com, I bite my tongue and just say I prefer paper billing. He explains I can do it online, but he can do it himself as well.

He explains he’s made the change and now my previous bills (that were only online) are now inaccessible. I ask him how the heck I’m supposed to get copies of them for tax purposes now. He says he can put me back on online billing, and I can download the bills and then switch back. I figure now I have to tell him about not being able to login, and he unlocks my account lockout. I login (with the same password I used before) and I get access to the system. He explains (“Do you see the girl on the couch? Just under her…”) what to do and I end the call.

Total call time: 12:37.

I go to this month’s bill, and click on the button that gives me a PDF version. I get this:

System Error / Erreur système

We’re sorry, the epost service you have requested is temporarily unavailable. Please try again shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Désolé, le service postel que vous avez demandé est temporairement inaccessible. Veuillez essayer à nouveau un peu plus tard. Nous nous excusons de tout inconvénient que cela pourrait vous causer.

So I can’t download my bills, which means I can’t unsubscribe from online billing, which means I just wasted 20 minutes.

Thanks Rogers.

Online billing, paper bullshit

But, I hear you ask, what about all the trees I’ll be hurting?

Well, since I’ll need to print my bills out anyway, the effect is pretty minimal. They pay postage, so that’s not a factor.

Besides, Rogers doesn’t really seem to care about the environment themselves, as evidenced by a letter I received in the mail this month.

The letter, by Rogers Wireless president Rob Bruce, has nothing but bullshit marketingese like “continued loyalty”, “never take for granted”, “working hard”, “committed”, “exceed your expectations”, “unprecedented”, “Canada’s Most Reliable Network” (capitalized, of course), “clearest reception and fewest dropped calls.*” (their footnote, not mine), “moving forward”, “even more innovative technology”, “improve your experience with us”, “our commitment” and “work relentlessly”. And he wishes me and my family a “happy upcoming holiday season.”

What gets me about the letter is that it was mailed to me on thick bond paper (about as thick as a business card) in a thick envelope. Could they not have just emailed this BS to me?

The Toupin Blvd. “solution”

Faced with growing opposition from local residents, the city has come up with a solution to the northern Cavendish extension to Henri-Bourassa Blvd.: Fudge it.

Toupin “solution”

The solution to the problem of traffic barrelling down Toupin Blvd. toward a non-existent bridge to Laval would be to simply disallow it. Traffic heading north on Cavendish would be forced to turn left (toward Highway 13) or right (toward Marcel-Laurin Blvd., Route 117), the nearest roads with bridges to Laval. Traffic heading south would be unrestricted.

Meanwhile, a couple of “environmentally friendly” additions to the plan include reducing the width from three lanes to two in each direction (Toupin is two lanes, Cavendish is three), and adding bicycle paths in both directions (which is great and all, but they don’t go anywhere on either side).

Gas company critics are hypocrites

Think the Quebec government isn’t doing enough with its time to pass meaningless laws that don’t change anything?

Well, I give you Bill 41: “An Act to foster transparency in the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel.” This bill will do two things:

  1. Force gas companies to justify increases to gas prices at the pump
  2. Force gas companies to display the minimum gas price calculated by the Quebec Energy Board at the pump.

This will accomplish two things:

  1. Waste a lot of time
  2. Waste a lot of money

It’s a stupid solution to a stupid problem. You see, Quebecers (and most North Americans) hate the sky-high gas prices they see at the pump every day when they fill up their car to go to work. They reject the idea of supply and demand and want the government to do something about it. Change the laws of economics I guess.

But they also care about the environment and want the government to step in to do something about that too.

News flash folks: the No. 1 deterrent to carbon-emitting wasteful motor vehicle use is high gas prices. It’s fair, it’s self-regulating and it’s transparent.

Yes, it’s a bummer for suburban soccer moms who use their gas-guzzling minivans to bring kids to school. And it sucks for the transportation industry, which will increase the price on goods (and especially fruits and vegetables). But it’s still the best method available.

The ADQ has quickly panned on the idea (not because they don’t pander to the lowest common denominator, but because they can easily criticize a plan without offering any better solutions). If they can convince the PQ, that’ll put an end to the bill.

Greener doesn’t mean green

Meanwhile, a think tank has argued that a federal “freebate” program, which offers economic incentive for people to buy less-polluting cars, needs to be extended to pickup trucks.

This program isn’t as obviously stupid as the Quebec gas plan, but it’s based on a faulty assumption: That the economic incentive will cause people to buy vehicle X who would otherwise buy gas-guzzling vehicle Y. That may be true for some people, but others will probably choose to buy a cheap hybrid car they can afford instead of not buying a car at all. That will have a net negative impact on the environment.

The problem is that while many of these cars are better for the environment than their non-hybrid, fully-gasoline powered cousins, they are not good for the environment compared to public transit, biking, walking and other methods of getting around.

If you’re interested in a zero-emissions car, you can look at Zenn Motor Company, which builds zero-emission, no-noise cars in Quebec. But their cars weren’t even legal in Canada until this month.

These are the kinds of vehicles that have to be promoted, not Toyota’s slightly-less-emissions hybrid car or a bus that runs on 3% biodiesel.

Santa parade, zombies on Saturday

The “First Annual Zombie Walk“, which has been rescheduled at least twice by my count (I first talked about it in September), looks like it’s finally going to happen this Saturday, a few blocks away from the Santa Claus parade.

The zombies are to meet up outside the de Maisonneuve entrance to Dawson College (3040 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., metro Atwater) at noon. From there, they’ll take an unannounced course and walk zombily around downtown. There are currently no plans to interfere directly with the parade, though there are bound to be some crowd overlaps.

The parade, meanwhile, takes the Standard Downtown Parade Route, starting at Fort and Ste. Catherine and going east until St. Urbain. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and is expected to run until about 2 p.m.

Santa Parade and zombies

For an example of what a zombie walk looks like, you can check out this video of a similar walk in Trois-Rivières in September.

The zombie walk has a goal of promoting environmentalism, and has gotten form letters of support from the office of Al Gore and David Suzuki (though the latter wrote his brief letter by hand). It’s still unclear how zombies are going to help the environment.

At least one after party is already planned, though its location is being kept secret.

For more information on the Zombie walk, consult its Facebook page. (Or, if you have moral objections to Facebook, just ask me and I’ll see if I can find out.)

Marché Central is an environmental disaster

In an example of corporate chutzpah the likes of which I’ve never seen, Marché Central, the awful strip mall just above the Acadie Circle, is touting its environmental-friendliness by installing 25 recycling bins in its massive parking lots. It’s also distributed recycling bins to its stores, which means that its stores will be allowed to recycle for the first time.

Why do I think this is insane? Look at a map of the mall (click to embiggen):

Marché Central map

The red areas (which represent just about everything but the buildings) are parking lots and roads. The green areas (which are just about invisible) represent foliage (trees, grass), which fill spaces that they haven’t figured out a way to park a car in yet.

It gets worse. Besides enough space to park 4,000 cars simultaneously (600 of which are underground), the giant strip mall from hell has absolutely no provisions for pedestrians. Traffic lights have no pedestrian crosswalks. Sidewalks abruptly end forcing people to walk through parking lots. The closest bus comes only every half hour, and it doesn’t enter the mall. There are no bike paths anywhere on or near mall grounds, and very little bike parking space.

So you’ll forgive me if statements like this make me laugh:

«Ici, l’environnement, c’est devenu une priorité. Maintenant, quand le temps est venu de faire une dépense, on essaie toujours de trouver un moyen de réduire nos dépenses en énergie. C’est important de trouver des façons écologiques de gérer nos activités», précise de son côté le directeur-adjoint, Raymond St-Jacques.

«Ce projet est un bel exemple de responsabilité sociale et un effort important pour l’environnement, de dire la mairesse de l’arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Marie-Andrée Beaudoin. Nous les félicitons et il nous fait grand plaisir de soutenir ce projet par la cueillette des matières recyclables sur le site-même du Marché Central.»

Reading further, you get the real reason behind this move (which, of course, should have been done years ago):

D’ici peu, le mégacentre commercial aimerait obtenir la désignation environnementale Go Green, une certification canadienne remise aux établissements commerciaux qui réduisent leurs dépenses en eau, en électricité et autres, afin d’innover et d’améliorer leurs pratiques environnementales.

In other words, it’s a B.S. PR stunt designed to get a B.S. corporate “green” certification that doesn’t mean anything, and convince the yuppie SUV drivers that by putting a used water bottle into a green bin they’re doing their part for the environment.

Shutting Marché Central down would do the environment far better than any PR stunt they can think of.

And shame on “journalist” Philippe Boisvert and Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville for allowing a company to fool them so easily with smoke and mirrors.

UPDATE: Chris DeWolf agrees with me.

TWIM: Compost, sex shops and other things dirty

This week in the paper features a short story about people buying sexy Halloween costumes at sex shops instead of prefab Chinese plastic ones at Wal-Mart. After striking out at a few places (mostly because I stupidly tried researching this on a Sunday afternoon), I found a young lady at Il Bolero getting fitted for a costume. Surprisingly, she was very cooperative with my incessant questioning despite being half-naked standing on a small table. (Then again, considering the photos I’ve found of her on Facebook, I guess modesty isn’t an issue!)

Also this week is a Bluffer’s Guide on composting, which was prompted by the mayor’s request for $1 billion to create a curbside organic waste collection program (among other initiatives).

UPDATE (Oct. 30): The Globe and Mail, always one step ahead of the curve, discusses some girls who are bucking the trend by going less sexy and more fabric-y.

Making the case for a quieter Toupin Blvd.

This week I spoke with Nicolas Stone, a resident of Cartierville three houses away from Toupin Blvd., who is one of many in that area opposed to a northern extension of Cavendish Blvd. The plan would connect Cavendish, through a new development in Bois Franc, to Henri-Bourassa Blvd. at Toupin Blvd.

Toupin Blvd. … not so whiny

The residents (whom I dubbed “concerned citizens” as you see above) oppose it for the obvious reason that it would turn Toupin Blvd. into a throughway (even though there’s nothing beyond the neighbourhood — the closest bridges to Laval are at Marcel-Laurin to the east and Highway 13 to the west).

Stone (a husband with three hyperactive toddlers I found after he made a comment on this blog) makes a compelling case. His concerns mainly revolve around philosophical objections to creating more roads and encouraging single-passenger traffic. He takes public transit to work and used to bike everywhere.

He was a good sport about the interview, even when I flat-out accused him of being part of the problem by contributing to urban sprawl.

Killing the plastic bag won’t be that easy

Today is Blog Action Day, which as I already described is a really silly idea. But I’ll humour them anyway by talking about an environmental issue that has gotten a lot of press here recently: plastic bags.

Plastic shopping bags, especially those from grocery stores, are considered one of the bigger environmental issues facing us (they’re not actually such a huge issue, but they’re treated that way). They line streets, clog sewers, choke children and make crank-calls to your boss. They have a high volume and low weight, which makes recycling them inefficient.

So various jurisdictions are looking into ways to reduce or even eliminate this urban blight. Quebec is considering imposing a tax on them to reduce their usage, while a Maxi store in Sherbrooke has decided to eliminate them in favour of reusable bags, bins and favourable publicity.

Other countries around the world have taken different approaches to these bags since bout 2002 (Wikipedia has a roundup), most being a mixture of financial disincentives and voluntary compliance. So far (unless I missed one), no industrialized Western nation has banned them outright.

No magic answer

Plastic bags are clearly detrimental to the environment and their use should be heavily reduced. Even the plastics lobby thinks so (though their propaganda literature suggests otherwise). But the proposed solutions all have problems:

Taxes: Serge Lavoie of the plastics industry makes some good (albeit extremely self-serving) points about why this is problematic. Well, actually he makes three points, two of which are bullshit. He says plastic bags aren’t a problem, but then says they’re a minor problem, and then points to other problems and asks why we aren’t tackling those (I’ve heard similar arguments about why we shouldn’t criticize Israel for human rights violations). He also points to legislation and public opinion polls, which only proves that their lobbyists are working hard. But the point that makes a lot of sense is that people are going to find ways around the law. It’s already happened in Ireland, where people are using bags that are worse for the environment but not subject to the tax. Simply put: when money is involved, the market will find a way around it.

Voluntary compliance: The argument against this one is simple: People say things that make them look good, but greed and laziness set in when nobody’s looking. People are already aware of the problem, and many are changing some of their habits, but voluntary compliance alone isn’t going to solve the problem.

As someone who does most of his grocery shopping lugging around a big green bin, I can attest to other problems with the system as it is now:

  • Bags are still considered proof-of-purchase. It’s ludicrous when you think about it, because it’s easy to slip something into a bag, but it’s how many stores distinguish between stuff you’ve bought and stuff you haven’t. Re-using bags leads to confusion and suspicion. Half the time when I go by the cash at Loblaws, the cashier has to ask me whether or not I’ve purchased the reusable bin I’m using.
  • Minor inconveniences at the cash. Aside from the aforementioned suspicion, there’s other annoying problems. Groceries are placed in bags automatically unless you ask for something different. Rebates offered for not taking plastic bags aren’t always applied. My favourite is when trying to use the self-checkout at Loblaws. Not only is the system geared for bags (using a bin means balancing it on the scale and hoping it doesn’t fall), but you need operator assistance before you can start scanning your groceries. If a big chain like Loblaws makes it difficult, imagine what it’s like for smaller places.
  • Remembering to bring your bags. I don’t own a car, and a lot of the time I do groceries it’s on the way home from something. So I don’t have my big cumbersome bin. Plastic bags are small enough to put in your pocket, but not everyone will think ahead necessarily.
  • Merchants give good PR about protecting the environment, but in reality they just don’t care. They have no problem polluting as much as they can behind the scenes. They build massive buildings with ultra-high ceilings and keep them super-heated in the winter and super-chilled in the summer with wide open doors. Merchants in San Francisco promised to put a lid on their plastic bag use to avoid a tax on them, but ended up doing nothing.

Outright banning: This extreme step has been proposed in some developing countries as well as many small cities and towns. But they run into similar problems as taxing above: people will simply find a way around the problem, and that way might have even worse environmental consequences.

Finally, any drastic measure also ignores the fact that most households have already found ways to reuse plastic bags. There are two most common:

  1. Garbage. Put the bag in the kitchen garbage can, dump everything unrecyclable in it, tie it up and throw it in the big garbage bin at the curb. Depending on your output, households can go through at least a couple of these each week. (That would survive a reduction, but not an elimination of plastic bags)
  2. Poop scooping. One or two bags a day, per dog, are used to scoop and dispose of dog poop.

In both these cases, an alternative would need to be found. Using no bags would be impractical, because humans would have to get their hands dirty touching the slimy grossness. Purchasing bags is an option, but would probably be unpopular since we currently get them free. Instead, I can imagine a lot of dog poop going unscooped as a result of this ban.

Biodegradable bags: This is the solution that seems to be the magic solution to all these problems. BioBag Canada certainly thinks so. But these bags are still in development, and very expensive compared to plastic bags. The industry also argues that biodegradable isn’t necessarily better in landfills, because it releases methane and carbon dioxide, while plastic bags just sit there and do nothing. Despite that, I think this will eventually be a favourable option.


Finally, I’ll add one bit of ludicrous hypocrisy to this debate: Cities who are starting green projects are requiring use of disposable bags where they aren’t necessary:

  • In Côte-Saint-Luc, residents who are part of a pilot curbside compost pickup project are being given a short supply of compostable bags, which they will then have to replenish by paying for them out of pocket. They then place these bags in a special bin that will be emptied into trucks. But why the middle man? Why not just throw your food scraps directly into this container? Yeah, stuff might stick to the inside, but what’s the worst that’ll happen? It’ll decompose?
  • Even worse, Ville-Marie has phased out recycling bins in favour of clear plastic bags that look a lot like garbage bags. They seem to think it’s better that way. Maybe they’re right, but I see a lot of confusion between garbage and recycling, bags ripped open by raccoons looking for food and homeless people looking for returnable containers. Not to mention that it costs money and looks awful.

Baby steps

So what’s my solution? Everything in moderation. Voluntary measures will probably be the most successful in the short term. You don’t want plastic bags clogging your sewers? Don’t bring them home from the grocery store. Bring reusable canvas bags when you shop. Get retailers to do more to encourage use of reusable bags and bins, as well as collecting used bags.

Innovative ways to reduce bag use, combined with phasing in of compostable/biodegradable bags where preferable, will probably be the eventual solution to this problem. But any solution has to be cheap, convenient, practical and aesthetic if it’s going to succeed. Trying to force it is asking for it to backfire.

Proposed bike rental system has issues

Stationnement de Montréal is going to spend $15 million to setup a bike rental system downtown similar to the one launched in Paris in July. Except they’ll spend 1/10th the money to have fewer bikes at fewer stations. And they’ll charge 10 times as much. (See correction below)

Whereas in Paris the bikes cost the equivalent of $1.50 a day (plus a $150 refundable deposit), The Gazette reports the Montreal system would cost “as little as $1 per half-hour”.

Perhaps difference in price is meaningless for most people. If it’s necessary to get the system running then I’m all for it.

Then again, as Kate reminds me, there doesn’t appear to be any insurance against bike theft. So if someone makes off with it while you’re doing your shopping, you’re on the hook for that deposit. Enough theft of these easily-identifiable bikes might drive people away.

CORRECTION: I goofed. The Paris system is 1 Euro a day plus the rental fee, at a rate which increases the longer you use it (which to me doesn’t make any sense — it would just encourage people to return a bike and take another one).

Westmount still hates us commoners

Apparently the City of Westmount has a policy against public transit bringing people to its lookout.

The Westmount Lookout, at the Westmount peak of Mount Royal, offers spectacular views of the southeast, and is a popular tourist destination.

Unfortunately, because it’s such prestigious real estate, insanely rich people live there and they don’t want no stinking commoner buses roaring up their streets.

This means that the only way to get there is to walk up from a few blocks away, along streets whose sidewalks should be broken up into stairs.

Westmount Lookout public transit

In this image, the yellow area is the higher part of the mountain’s peak, and crossing into it is painful on the feet.

Instead of having actual bus service to this lookout, Westmount is proposing building a pedestrian walkway connecting the top of Ridgewood to a neighbouring street. From there people could walk across the park and to the lookout.

Why wasn’t this done already? Politics. Ridgewood is in Côte-des-Neiges, where the peasants live. Connecting it with a neighbouring street in Westmount would bring violence, drug use, prostitution, theft, sodomy, corporate embezzlement, profanity and bad manners into their uber-rich-and-therefore-problem-free community. So instead, people who want to walk between adjacent streets must climb down a hill, walk along Côte-des-Neiges and then climb another hill.

The pedestrian path is way overdue, and the access is an acceptable compromise (especially since the 11 bus also connects to the other two lookouts). But it’s still making it awkward to get to a public place that we should be encouraging everyone to visit.