Montreal Plans to Create One of Canada's Largest Urban Green Spaces

This is the city's most important conservation initiative in 150 years.

Aug 31, 2019

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City planners have known for years that open green spaces adds to the quality of life of city residents. They give city dwellers a place for recreation and to experience nature first-hand. The more parks and green spaces, the better.

Now, the city of Montreal is planning to create the largest urban park in Canada. Mayor Valérie Plante told Global News that when the park that will be located on West Island, is completed, it will be eight times larger than Central Park in New York City. The park will be 15 times larger than Mount Royal Park in downtown Montreal.

The mayor said that this proposed  project is the most important conservation efforts in the 150 years since Mount Royal Park was built.

The Great Western Park – what the city has named the project – will comprise of five existing smaller green spaces: l’Anse-a-l’Orme, Bois-de-l’île Bizard, Bois-de-la-Riche, Cap-Saint-Jacques and the Rapides-du-Cheval-Blanc.

The new green space will be a sustainable project that will protect wetland and will help prevent rising waters in the area which is now very prone to flooding according to Canoe News.

“We are completely changing the nature and spirit of the West Island,” Plante said. “We are taking decisions with the future of the city and agglomeration in mind.”

Plante said that the new green space is part of her administration's plan to protect 10 percent of the city's green spaces.

The city council established the proposed parks boundaries, but part of that area belongs to developers who planned to build over 500 homes in the area. The developers oppose the planned green space.

“Citizens mobilized against such a foolish plan, and with our political will, not only did we protect this important wetland and its biodiversity for now, but for generations to come,” Plante told Global News.

Environmentalists who have been fighting for decades to conserve the area welcomed the news. “I think that saving green spaces is the best thing we can do for ourselves, our health, our nature, everything,’ s Lisa Mintz, the Green Party candidate for Pierrefonds-Roxboro said

To Montreal’s credit, it is creating an urban park area that will be the envy of the world,” said David Fletcher, vice-president of the Green Coalition.

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue's mayor Paola Hawa is also thrilled that the land isn't being developed for housing because of the flooding problems there. “We are living through climate change,” she said. “We have seen flooding for the last three years. We are showing the political will and courage to do what’s right.”

This is just the first step in establishing the new park, there are many steps remaining. Public consultations are planned for the fall so Montreal's residents will get to have their say. The city hopes to have a plan in place by 2021.

Open green spaces are important for the earth's health. Trees and plants will grow and help stabilize the soil, clean the air, and remove greenhouse gasses. This will be a big win for the people of Montreal, for Canada, and for the planet.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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