Petition to stop $3.45M granite tree stumps on Mount Royal takes root

A petition opposing a City of Montreal plan to spend nearly $3.45 million on 27 granite tree stumps has 1,000 signatures and counting.

Petition author Amanda Cockburn calls sculptures 'incongruous' in natural park setting

An artist's rendering of the proposed project depicts the 27 statues that will dot various locations in Montreal. (City of Montreal)

A petition opposing a City of Montreal plan to spend nearly $3.45 million on 27 granite tree-stump sculptures has 1,000 signatures – and counting.

Launched by a Dawson College English teacher, Amanda Cockburn, the petition calls the project "redundant and stupid" and urges the city to spend the money on creating more green space instead.

The 27 granite statues, which will also serve as benches, are to be scattered across various locations, including Mount Royal and the campus of the Université de Montréal.

The petition reached Cockburn's goal of 1,000 signatures by 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The petition is to be delivered to the City of Montreal, Mayor Denis Coderre and Quebec's Culture Ministry.

Comments left by those signing the petition described the project as "frivolous," "ridiculous," "abusive" and "hideous."

Interviewed on CBC Montreal's Daybreak Tuesday, Cockburn added "ugly" to that list.

"I think they're really incongruous in the natural setting of the mountain," she said.

"I take aesthetic issue with the stumps. They assault my sense of taste."

Mayor defends sculptures

Coderre has countered that the sculptures aren't stumps.

"It's a piece of art. It's a signature project," he said.

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre says the artwork will increase accessibility because the statues also serve as benches. (City of Montreal)
The contract for the granite statues was awarded to Aménagement Côté Jardin Inc. and approved by a majority vote at a May city council meeting. The project has yet to be approved by the Quebec Culture Ministry.

The sculptures are one of the many projects being undertaken for Montreal's 375th anniversary.

Cockburn said she's not opposed to marking the anniversary, but she doesn't see the granite sculptures as the way to do it.

"It would have been a great opportunity for the city to put out a public call to the citizens of Montreal to come up with a project collectively," she said.

"I don't see the value in this one, and I'd like to stop the installation."