Denis Coderre, who launched his campaign for re-election as Montreal's mayor on Friday night, made his first election promise Saturday afternoon in a Villeray alley.
Coderre says he would add another $1 million to the the city's yearly child policy, to go towards creating more green alleyways in the city's boroughs. The money would also fund winter maintenance that that would make it easier for children to play in the alleys all year long.
The child policy currently has a budget of $5 million to fund programs that help youth access city services, including libraries and public transit, as well as a school breakfast program.
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Under Coderre's promise, boroughs would apply to convert a back alley into one of the city's more than 300 "Ruelles Vertes" — alleys that have been refurbished with greenery and spaces residents can use, like as sitting areas.
The city would then fund 50 per cent of the successful projects to help create a green or white (for winter) alley.
Coderre pledged the same percentage for alleyway art projects approved by the city.
"We need to be tangible and I felt that to say that our priority are youths … is a great way to start a campaign," Coderre told reporters in a "green alley" in Montreal's Villeray neighbourhood Saturday.
5 km/h speed limits
He also promised to reduce the speed limit in all of Montreal's 4,000 or so alleys to five kilometres per hour. The city's alleys makeup a total of 475 kilometres of pathways.
Coderre made the presentation with Villeray city councillor Elsie Lefebvre, who joined Équipe Coderre in late August. She was previously an independent councillor.
Coderre said the green alley funding was being integrated into the child policy because alleyways are one of the spaces close to home where children can play.
"When we say we want to develop community spirit, well this is it," he said. "Alleys aren't just a living environment, we're also talking about creativity, of urban art."