Montréal, December 3 2018
The City of Montreal conducted a pilot project from June 3 to October 31, 2018, prohibiting vehicular traffic on Mount Royal, specifically on the Camillien-Houde / Remembrance segment of the road. As a result, our entrance on Remembrance was inaccessible for five months.
Our concerns about the pilot project and its potential permanence
The Cemetery’s management team publicly conveyed its concerns and hesitations over this project as soon as it was announced. Indeed, many of our bereaved families and visitors frequently use the Remembrance entrance located at the heart of the Cemetery. Our employees, many of whom come from east of the mountain, use this road daily. The detour set up to access the two other Cemetery entrances was a source of stress for many, and caused a number of late arrivals for funeral services. Public transit is not a solution for everyone and, according to the survey respondents, the transit system is not adapted to the reality of visitors, families and employees travelling from the east to the west side of the city.
Keep in mind that the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is Canada’s largest in terms of surface area. It covers 138 hectares, or 72% of the expanse of Mount Royal Park. The Cemetery has 32 kilometres of roadways, and it is difficult for many elderly people and anyone with reduced mobility to walk, often uphill, for some 40 minutes from the Decelles and Côte-des-Neiges entrances. Quebec’s population is ageing and we feel that a truly inclusive policy should take into account the needs of seniors.
We therefore published a brief, which was presented to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal. And we advocated our position publicly on November 28, 2018 at the public hearings. Click here to read the brief (In French only)
We are asking that, in taking its next steps, the municipal government maintain access to the Notre‐Dame‐des‐Neiges Cemetery at its Remembrance entrance for vehicles coming from either the east or west, since our elderly are the people most affected by this municipal project. Secondly, we are asking that this empathetic approach be reflected in the methods implemented to ensure safe access to the mountain in general, for all visitors—cyclists, pedestrians, transit users and cars.
We launched a survey to better understand the usage habits of our families and visitors. More than 800 of you filled it in, either online or on paper at our offices.
Here are the key results.
- 82% of respondents were against implementing the pilot project;
- 55% of respondents were aged 51 to 70 and 16% were over the age of 71;
- 37% estimated that their usual route to the cemetery took them 15 to 30 minutes longer than normal and 32% took a detour of more than 30 minutes;
- 19% said the detour had delayed funeral services;
- 87% used a personal vehicle to get to the Cemetery and 5% used public transit;
- 55% of respondents who used public transit said they had difficulties;
- 46% of respondents said that if the pilot project became permanent, they would visit their loved ones less frequently.
The Office de consultation publique must submit a report to the City, which is to render a decision on this project, likely in spring 2019. Rest assured that we will be vigilantly monitoring this project, and that we will keep you duly informed.
We wish to thank all those who completed the survey.
Cemetery management team