I had a chance to speak with Montreal City councilor Alan DeSousa last night during the first major public hearing on project Griffintown. I wanted to get more specifics on Montreal’s participation in Earth Hour 2008.
Apparently the resolution will be tabled and voted on during the next council session and a press release will follow.
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However this is where it gets ugly. Pressed on whether Montreal will attempt to set limits on energy reduction like Sydney did last year, he stated that “Since this is a last minute decision we won’t have time to set specific targets.” Also, “Montreal is powered by hydro-electricity, so we wouldn’t be saving on greenhouse gases.” Then when asked if companies and city buildings would be asked to join in on the event, to which he stated, “Well we aren’t going to be turning off the waste water plants, because you wouldn’t like it if you had no water, and of course we won’t turn off the street lights and let the crime rates spike.”
No one assumed you would be turning of treatment plants or any other essential services, but at the very least they should mandate all city buildings to turn off non-essential power and send out information to large commercial establishments downtown on how they could better take part. Sydney had set a 5% energy use reduction target for that night, they ended up saving 10%. It’s quite sad that Montreal will get any mention in WWF press releases as participating in this global event. A token gesture from City Hall should not be deemed acceptable by the global community.
So that’s where Montreal stands on this event.
And as far as our member of the Executive Committee responsible for sustainable development and economic development at the city of Montreal, well, he sits in the bleachers with a majority of Quebecers when assuming that since we use hydro electricity then we really shouldn’t have to try and conserve energy at all… disturbing.