Colette Roy LarocheLyon, Wednesday December 3 2014 — The citizen’s undertaking “Reinvent the City”, in progress in Lac-Mégantic in order to rebuild the downtown core, radiates throughout Europe. The mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Mrs. Colette Roy Laroche, presented the strategy at the International Conference – Sustainable City Solutions – held at the Eurexpo Complex in Lyon, France.

In a perspective of sustainable development, the citizen’s participation is central in this process. The participation and commitment of the citizens are in effect enshrined in the Québec legislation on sustainable development and cities are invited to follow.

”Instead of using the typical public consultation process, we chose to start from the ideas and dreams of our citizens to elaborate the reconstruction plan, said Mrs. Roy Laroche. The preliminary plan in this sense translates the desires and aspirations of our citizens. And we will continue to work with the citizens on the planning, in light of the possibilities and constraints that will come up”.

We chose citizen participation over citizen consultation, indicated Mrs. Roy Laroche; for us, the nuance is important.

The mayor of Lac-Mégantic was part of a panel that included participants from China, Korea, France and Japan. The objective was to present the attendees different approaches within the concept of sustainable city solutions.

She recalled the dramatic consequences of the rail tragedy in the summer of 2013; which left the town with 47 deceased and destroyed a major part of their historic downtown. She then moved on to present the citizen participation undertaking to foster the success of the rebuilding and recovery activities.

“It is not simply a question of getting back up on our feet, said Mrs. Roy Laroche, but to do it by becoming stronger, with a city that is better than before. We have an opportunity – a sad opportunity evidently – but nonetheless an opportunity to improve our quality of life in Lac-Mégantic, and become a city that is even more attractive.”

The mayor of Lac-Mégantic is spending a few days in the Lyon region where she will meet with different partners interested in the reconstruction project, more specifically in the Nord Isère region. The Nord Isère Region Chamber of Commerce and Pôle Innovations Constructives (PIC) have built friendly relationships over many years.