A Little Bit of Journalism

by 38 Concordia graduate diploma students

Moonshine: under the radar

A radio documentary about modern moonshining in Canada.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | People, Politics, Radio | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transforming Turcot

Montreal’s Village des Tanneries is a neighbourhood rich in history, culture and community, but now it faces destruction at the hands of the ministry of transport. Residents have been fighting against expropriation and for the continuation of their space. This documentary explores the struggle between community and economy in modern urban centres.  For more information on the Turcot rebuild, check here.

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Politics, TV | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Road to Nowhere: Turcot Rebuild Lacks Vision, Not Funds

Urban planners have spent the last 40 years developing ways of making cities more livable.  The verdict is in: highways are out.

The Turcot Interchange, once a marvel of technology and the pride of Montreal, is disintegrating in front of our eyes.  Like anything man made, it has a life span.  It seems though, that people have been taken by surprise by the structure’s demise, shocked that money needs to be spent in order to keep the city running.

The real surprise though, is that the Turcot’s redesign and reconstruction now feels rushed and last minute.

Quebec’s Ministère des Transports has known about the need to eventually rebuild or refurbish the highway since the day it was built.  Engineers working for the ministry are intelligent people, who build room for error and life expectancy into their blueprints.

The mistake of not seeing further ahead does not lie with the designers but with politicians; unfortunately, not many infrastructure projects work on four-year cycles.

Hurriedly rebuilding a structure worth more than a billion and a half dollars is not just silly; it is suspicious.  Questionable, too, are the plans hatched by the ministry to rebuild the highway at ground level, increase the number of lanes by 50 per cent and raze 400 people’s homes in St. Henri, all without a thought about increasing public transit options.

Some say that other designs such as tunnels and newer aerial bridges would cost too much, but initial cost should not be the deciding factor in Montreal’s future.  As Canada’s second largest city, there is money to be had.

Roads built here should cost more than roads in the countryside; they are built with funds drawn from a larger pool.  A road built within the city of Montreal directly affects the quality of life of several million people, whereas one carrying the same traffic in the countryside is built under very different circumstances.  With space at a premium, how could it be appropriate to use it up with bigger roads and parking lots?

There are few things that can destroy a city’s vitality faster than a highway.  Compare Los Angeles with Paris, for example, and the problems with the car-heavy model become obvious.  Los Angeles is a divided city, carved up into blocks of territory only accessible by car.  Paris, on the other hand, is renowned for it’s public transportation and not its automobile access.

While European cities were built before the car craze came along, Montreal bought in to automobiles.  With gas prices rising and car manufacturers going bankrupt, it does not take a genius to know that change is coming to cities everywhere.  Unfortunately, that means an inevitable and comprehensive redesign of our transportation networks.

By ignoring the issue of the Turcot Interchange for the past 40 years, city and provincial politicians have swept a mountain of concrete under the rug.  Now, with the deadline fast approaching, politicians and planners ought to be working hard to create an inspiring vision of the city.  But in the lead-up to this year’s municpal election, Montrealers have received only received short sighted and cowardly attempts to court voters.

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Print | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bixi report

Team Fiddlers AKA Steph, Morgan, Rotem and me (Sarah) went out and did a TV report on the Bixi bike and helmet controversy. Here is the outcome.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Politics, TV | , , | Leave a comment