…And this one’s personal.
About a dozen years ago, after my dad retired from a 40+-year career as a consulting engineer, my late mother encouraged him to apply for a volunteer spot on their district’s Planning Advisory Committee (Comité consultatif d’urbanisme, or CCU). The recruiters made a wise choice, and ever since, Reuben has had a front-row seat and an opportunity to comment on most of the significant zoning and development decisions in Montreal’s Nôtre Dame de Grace/Côte des Neiges borough.
We’ve seen him push for better energy efficiency practices, rail against impractical condo designs that were bound to result in poor drainage, marvel at the transformation of some of the city’s most decrepit stretches of land, and mock architectural drawings that were all about the look of the building, with no thought to its functionality.
Last week, the CCU’s longest-standing member announced that he’d be standing down when his term expires June 21. But not without kicking over a few chairs on his way out the door.
“The nature of the challenges to our CCU has changed over the years,” he wrote in his letter of resignation. “A few among us have expressed our concern about the challenges related to global warming, but our committee does not seem to have much jurisdiction in this field. The architecture of most of the buildings proposed for the ‘triangle’ do not reflect lessons and ideas proposed for buildings in colder climates at a series of seminars I participated in way back in 1956. We appear to be repeating the same mistakes.”
“I appreciated your knowledge in the field of architecture and urban planning, but especially your wise counsel regarding the future of the City,” the committee chair replied. “I share with you the same concerns on the challenges related to global warming…Dear sir, you are for many of us a model of competence and righteousness.”