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With the arrival of warm weather and vacation season, just about everyone will soon be taking a well-earned break. Town government, however, will continue to work on projects and issues important for our community. Here are two that the recent COVID-19 health crisis has made pressing.

The last few months have been hard, especially for our local merchants, who have had to deal with the slump caused by the lockdown. While many of you supported Town merchants during the confinement period, the slowdown in business activity has resulted in a significant drop in revenue that could eventually put their survival at risk. That is why the Town has enthusiastically joined the participatory fundraising campaign to support the businesses and front-line organizations hardest hit by COVID-19. Here in TMR, the campaign launches on July 16 on the La Ruche website, and you can have your say by contributing either with a donation or simply by buying gift cards for participating merchants. For example, when you buy a $20 gift card for a participating Town merchant, you’ll receive an additional $10 to spend at the merchant’s place of business.

In addition, the campaign may obtain financial support from Desjardins Group through the Pay It Forward Sponsored by Desjardins program, which will match donations up to the campaign goal of $25,000. All funds raised be split among the community organizations associated with the campaign in Town of Mount Royal.

For details, check the announcements to be published on the Town website and in local media in coming days. I encourage you to show your loyalty to participating businesses, especially by buying gift cards. It may be a small act but it’s one that means a lot to them and that will help protect our living environment.

My second issue is urban agriculture in the Town. The recent pandemic-related events have prompted reflection on many things, including the source and quality of the food we eat. For several weeks now, our administration has begun thinking about the orientations to adopt in preparation for developing a food and urban agriculture policy for our Town.

We want to encourage citizen initiatives – a number of you already have a kitchen garden in your backyard – and improve our offer beyond our current community gardens. Here, too, you will have a say, as our planning process includes an online public consultation and the creation of an urban agriculture committee that will oversee development and implementation of an action plan. I encourage you to look over the discussion paper that will be posted on the Town website and to answer the online questionnaire. Space has also been provided for your to share your suggestions for the future food policy with us.