Concordia Student Sees Politics From the Ground Up
Daniel Attard Hopes to Nurture Community Spaces if Elected to City Council
Daniel Attard, a 27-year-old Concordia student and resident of Anjou, is running in the Nov. 3 municipal elections with the Projet Montréal political party, looking to become the city councillor for the borough.
Attard said Projet Montréal is often seen as a party that’s only strong in Montreal’s denser central boroughs. But he said the party has a lot to offer voters throughout Montreal, with a slate of diverse candidates coming from a variety of professional backgrounds, including lawyers, urban planners, academics and community organizers.
“My whole platform is really [about] citizen involvement,” he told The Link, promising a borough administration that will work hand-in-hand with residents.
Attard completed a bachelor’s degree in political science at Concordia in 2011, and is currently pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in public policy studies there while simultaneously working towards a master’s degree in political science and government at the Université de Montréal.
He previously worked as an administrative clerk in the city’s department of cultural affairs and social development within the borough of Anjou.
On Involving Citizens
Attard said more attention must be given to citizen engagement in the borough of Anjou.
“One big thing [the candidates for Projet Montréal] want to do in Anjou is hold public forums between [borough officials] and citizens at least once a month,” he said.
Attard said these public forums would differ from the regular borough council meetings that already take place, in that citizens would be encouraged to not only bring with them complaints but also suggestions for how city services could be improved.
Attard added there’s a need for the borough’s different community organizations to be further developed. As an example, he said many residents of Anjou would like to get involved in community gardens but aren’t able to do so because of a long waiting list for spaces.
“A lot of these community gardens are small,” he said. “They’re not as big as they can be. There’s space to make them bigger.”
Attard said he would work to expand existing community gardens where possible, as well as try to open another centrally located community garden in Anjou’s industrial area.
“There’s empty space where we can do that, and where the city can develop it so that [participants] can grow things,” he said. “It’s really not a huge expenditure to make lines [marking] where each lot is on the earth.”
The Environment and Improving Libraries
Attard also said there’s room for improvement at the borough’s libraries.
“I’d like to have better services at our libraries for students,” he said, adding that “updating and modernizing” Anjou’s two libraries would benefit students who live in the area, many of whom currently commute to their university libraries or the Grande Bibliothèque downtown because their local libraries don’t provide as many resources.
Environmental issues are also important to Attard, who would like to see a small eco-centre created in Anjou where residents could get rid of waste materials that can’t be disposed of in household garbage or recycling bins. Anjou used to have a small dump at the public works office for such materials, but it eventually closed, according to Attard.
“In the industrial area, we do have the space,” he said. “Let’s create some type of place where [residents] can get rid of certain materials that are hard to get rid of.”
In the longer term, Attard would like to see solar panels installed at municipal buildings to help protect the environment and save money on electricity, money that could later be “put back into community development.”
“I know the cost may be hefty,” he said. “That’s why it’s [an idea] that’s going to have to be developed and really looked at carefully and scrutinized. But if it’s doable and in the long term, if it proves to save money and be more efficient for [municipal] buildings, then let’s start at [Anjou’s borough] hall and maybe it’ll catch on.”