Investigative journalism requires a general curiosity, a precise search for information as well as an ability to promote issues that serve the population and that advance society. It is therefore in continuity with his journalistic career that Alex Norris was elected as city councillor on the Plateau-Mont-Royal in 2009. His greatest passion as an elected official is to make it possible for citizens to reclaim public space and to progressively green the borough (in which he has lived for over 30 years). Alex likes to meet with residents and merchants and listen to their concerns. His fluency in four languages (including Portuguese, which is widely spoken in his district) helps him connect easily with people.
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Alex chairs the Public Safety Commission, where he is working to bring about a new era of transparency and dialogue between the police service and civil society. The adoption of a bylaw requiring a minimum of 10 Commission meetings per year, that are open to the public, is contributing to this objective. Alex is proud that the Commission was able to deliver a unanimous report on police stops, a delicate exercise that required great diplomacy and good faith.
For Alex, the measure of success for an elected official is visible change on the ground. On the Plateau, he is the instigator of the transformation of Tara Hall Avenue: this public thoroughfare in Milton Parc was originally built entirely of concrete and located between two parking lots; it is now a linear park that contributes to the fight against heat islands. Alex was also instrumental in convincing the City to acquire the Notman Garden, the last remaining relic of the great villa gardens of yesteryear along Sherbrooke Street, in order to preserve its exceptional heritage value and its century-old trees. He also led the long legal battle to ban billboards in the borough, a victory against visual pollution won in 2020.
An important part of Alex's day-to-day work is writing arguments that will convince the public service and the population of the merits of his administration's initiatives. He knows that it takes clear and operational proposals to get things done and to win the support of the citizens of the Plateau. For example, the complete revitalization of Pine Avenue will be a major project that, once completed, will bring life back to a corner of the borough that has long been thirsting for greenery. Alex believes that by taking the time to explain the rationale for this major work, his team was able to gain acceptance for the many changes that will be implemented along the avenue between St. Denis and Parc. Evidence he says that transparency and boldness are needed when bringing about radical transformations.
Since its first election, Projet Montréal has been gradually transforming the Plateau-Mont-Royal into a green neighborhood, one which is increasingly unified and human-scaled. With renewed energy, the local team continues to focus on improving the quality of life of residents, thanks to micro-interventions throughout the borough, and by completing large-scale projects. It’s a comprehensive urban vision, which will enhance the collective social, cultural, heritage and ecological richness of the Plateau. Energies will be focused on seven main priorities:
-Access to affordable housing
-Protection of our assets
-Quality of our neighbourhoods
-Culture, leisure and social development
-Economic and commercial vitality
-Efficient, transparent and democratic administration