Climate Café to feature Trainsparence presented by John Symons

“If you care about greenspaces or about transportation, or just about how much you will be paying for the new Skytrain, whether you use it or not, come out to hear all the reasons why this project should be rejected and alternative solutions that are much more suited for the needs of Montrealers,” says founder of John Symons. On Friday, February 17 at 7 p.m. Westmount Park United Church’s Climate Café, 4695 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West will feature guest speaker John Symons.

Trainsparence was created to stimulate a real debate on the REM electric train proposed for Montreal. “Despite the current popularity of this project, many believe it does not hold up to close scrutiny, will be much more expensive than the estimated $5.5 billion, and does not respond well to the transportation needs of Montrealers,” says John. “Trainsparence applauds the government’s intention to invest in public transportation, but the REM proposed by Quebec’s Caisse de Dépôt and its subsidiary, CDPQ Infra, is a badly designed, problem-filled project that should be rejected.”

John Symons first became involved in the environmental movement as a teenager in the 1970s growing up in BC. His first environmental battle was one of the rare victories for the movement, forcing a local port authority to expand harbour facilities elsewhere but into an estuary. John helped initiate curbside recycling in Nanaimo, his hometown, also as a teenager. By the early 1980s John was an editor of the Pacific Yukon Environmental News magazine and became involved with the BC Green Party.

He came to Montreal for university in the mid 1980s, learned French and picked up degrees in geography and in commerce. Now working as a freelance journalist, he often writes articles on environmental issues and bicycle advocacy.

John ran twice as a candidate for the Parti vert du Québec as well as two times for Projet Montréal municipally. In 2016, John co-founded the group, Trainsparence, which seeks a proper debate on the $6 billion SkyTrain proposed for Montreal. This last issue is very poignant, because the SkyTrain’s promoters hope to receive perhaps a $1 billion subsidy from Quebec’s Green Fund (Fonds vert) but, under close examination, is this really a “green” project?

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The Climate Café is a non-religious event open to everyone, organized by Westmount Park United Church. It is  part of the church’s Faith in Nature Centre, a community committed to building lasting relationship and partnerships for the well-being of the environment.

The community is invited to come to meet the growing number of neighbours who are concerned and want to make a difference. Hosted the third Friday of the month the Climate Café is a series of free monthly events for people of diverse background with common interests in personal connections, community and action around climate change, biodiversity, living systems, gardening and holistic ecology.

The program features guest speakers, workshops, and films on current topics, followed by question and answer periods. A CASH snack bar and free socializing are served. All are welcome, admission is free.

If you are interested in presenting contact Reverend Neil Whitehouse or Shelagh McNally at 514.937.1146. The organizers are very interested in connecting with like-minded businesses, community groups, non-profits and individuals.


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