Have Your Say:
UNESCO World Heritage status

Summit Woods deserving of status for its natural significance as the last of its kind in an urban setting

July 4, 2024

In popular culture, the phrase, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one” resonates deeply. This line, spoken by Spock in The Wrath of Khan, carries significant weight. Spock first uses it to justify handing command of the Enterprise to Kirk, highlighting the importance of sacrificing individual desires for the greater good. The second time he utters these words, he is explaining his decision to sacrifice himself to save a ship full of cadets and his friends.

Paradoxically, last month, the mayor of Westmount, who is known for her statement “Je suis la fière propriétaire de Charm” (I am the proud owner of Charm), along with her six disciples – all dog owners – passed a by-law that overrules provincial law #128, Article 20, chapter 38.002, which mandates dogs be leashed in public areas. This new by-law designates the unfenced, beautiful forest area known as Summit Woods, formerly Summit Park, as a dog-run facility despite Westmount City already boasting the luxury of three fenced dog runs – a rare privilege in the heart of an urban center.

Summit Woods is one of the last stretches of land considered a sanctuary for wildlife. It deserves not only National protection but also UNESCO World Heritage status for its natural significance as the last of its kind in an urban setting. It’s disappointing to see its deterioration, and the disregard and thoughtlessness shown by most of the Westmount council towards this environmental treasure is disgraceful.

This green space is not just for the enjoyment of a select few with unleashed dogs; it is a communal area meant to be preserved as a wildlife reserve and shared by all residents, both present and future generations. It’s selfish and inconsiderate for dog owners to disregard the safety of others by allowing their dogs to roam unleashed and freely in this unfenced space, disturbing not only wildlife but also humans. It’s time for a shift in mindset, prioritizing the well-being of the community and environment over the desires of a few.

The mayor’s remark, “While you have this council voting on it, … in November 2025 there is another election,” underscores the council’s awareness of the baselessness and irrationality of their actions. This indicates a need for accountability and a reminder that public officials should act in the best interests of the community, not personal agendas.

Reference of remarks by the major of Westmount, Westmount Council, 2024-05-06 Regular meeting of the Council | Regular Council Sitting. Reference of the remarks: YouTube video, timestamp 1:58:00, and 1:34:47.

Diana Hernandez
Saint-Catherine Street, Westmount

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca or its publishers.

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  1. Maryam Kamali Nezhad

    Dear Diana,

    Thank you for this poignant and well-documented article. It is crucial to remind ourselves that decisions favoring the interests of a few at the expense of the general welfare and preservation of our natural heritage are irresponsible. Summit Woods is an environmental treasure that deserves stringent protection. Hopefully, this situation will prompt deeper reflection and more responsible actions from local authorities.

    Best regards,
    Maryam Kamali Nezhad, ing.PhD

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