Comité d'actions nord-ouest

Front row: Marie Benoite, Voisins en action, Antonio Del Sonno, citizen, Luciano Della Rosa, Voisins en action, Ginette Goulet, Joujouthèque de Saint-Michel, Isabelle Tremblay, Joujouthèque de Saint-Michel, Michèle Daniels and Danielle Lacroix, Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM), and Mohamed Maazani, Le Phare de l’espoir. Back row: Guillaume Chapron, student, Jean Panet-Raymond, Vivre Saint-Michel en santé, Marlène Dessources, SPVM, PDQ 30, poste de quartier Saint-Michel, and Olivier Chatel, Tandem VSP (Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension).

April 2013

Ease tensions that undermine daily life in a ghettoized area of the Saint-Michel neighbourhood: this is the mission of the Comité d’actions nord-ouest, which consists of a group of residents, community partners and institutional representatives who are trying to make this neighbourhood more harmonious and united. A Centraide-funded agency, the Joujouthèque Saint-Michel, has provided the necessary conditions to get this initiative off the ground. 

Since 2010, the northwestern area of Saint-Michel has been in the throes of deep intercultural and intergenerational tensions. A climate of distrust has notably persisted toward young people, who are accused of creating a feeling of neighbourhood insecurity. 

It is against this backdrop that the Joujouthèque Saint-Michel came up with the idea of gathering citizens and a wide variety of partners to increase safety in the area and make the community more inclusive and stimulating. 

Aside from citizens and the Joujouthèque Saint-Michel, the many other partners in this vast project include the City of Montreal and its police department, the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM), the Vivre Saint-Michel en santé (VSMS) round table, les Monarques (the local high-level athletics association), Tandem VSP and the Carrefour Populaire de Saint-Michel. 

Through door-to-door surveys and citizen meetings, residents were asked to express their dissatisfaction and wishes regarding the neighbourhood. The group developed an action plan, and the citizens involved in the mobilization process were trained on how to actively participate in the process and play leading roles in their community. All partners helped create a tenant association and an organization dedicated to filling the lack of recreational and homework assistance services for youth. Citizens carried out clean up and enhancement operations in the area, which in turn has helped create a sense of community. 

A sign that these initiatives are working is that nearly 200 people attended a first neighbourhood block party in this community where tensions used to be very high. As a symbolic gesture, the gathering was held in a courtyard that local residents previously viewed as problematic. 

Centraide has supported the Joujouthèque Saint-Michel  since 2010, Vivre Saint-Michel en santé (VSMS) since 1996, and the Carrefour Populaire de Saint-Michel  since 1975.
Comité d'actions nord-ouest is the winner of the Solidaires Mobilization 2013.