Borough councillor Piper Huggins bolts Projet Montreal
Piper Huggins, seated at left, has quit the Projet Montreal to sit as an independent, making her the second star female candidate to leave the party after Josee Duplessis (top right) quit. (Image: Plateau Mont Royal borough handout).
Plateau Mont Royal borough councillor Piper Huggins has parted ways with the Projet Montreal in an acrimonious split.
Huggins had been in conflict with her party over a plan to deal with a fenced-off green space at Milton and Clark in her Jeanne Mance district, which she wanted to see protected from development and turned into a public green space.
Projet Montreal opted not to support her plan, leading her to issue a press release Tuesday stating that she will sit as an indepedent.
For its part, Projet Montreal said that Huggins had already been told that she was being replaced as a candidate in the upcoming November elections, one of several Plateau-Mont Royal candidates who were replaced by the party this year.
The decision was taken because Huggins had generated numerous complaints from individuals and merchant associations, according to Projet Montreal representative Daniel Sanger.
Huggins rejected the Projet Montreal claim that voters had been unhappy with her performance.
"The issue here is the Notman Garden and I’ve been working for months with citizens on this and doing everything behind the scenes and to get my colleagues to recognize the importance of this," Huggins told CTV Montreal Wednesday.
Huggins had recently pleaded that the green space at the corner of Clark and Milton, which is currently the site of a proposed condo project, be saved.
She said that the 1,000 square-metre space could be turned into a public green space, which would also allow some of the trees - many of which are said to be up to 300 years old - to be saved. The initiative has attracted 1,000 signatures on a petition.
A representative of Projet Montreal said Wednesday that the party shares the goal of having the space transformed into a public green space but is pursuing a different means of attaining that goal.
The party is seeking to have the property first turned into a heritage site, which they believe will facilitate financing for its eventual purchase. The Notman House is protected by heritage regulations but the garden behind it is not.
Huggins was finishing her first mandate in city politics but had previously worked for a decade for the New Democratic Party.
She said that she has not yet decided whether she will run in the upcoming elections but did not rule out the possiblity of running for another party or as an independent.
Another Projet Montreal candidate who will not be running again in the Plateau is Josée Duplessis, who had served as executive committee chair until her recent announcement that she would prefer to have more time at home to raise her son.