At the last public Council meeting I voiced my opposition to a zoning amendment that would allow the Cote Saint-Luc Shopping Centre to open a restaurant in its parking lot (pictured above in pink). Truth be told, I am actually in favour of allowing a restaurant to open there. A restaurant would be a popular spot and conveniently located for Cote Saint-Lucers and NDGers alike. It would provide jobs for locals as well.
What irks me is that this zoning amendment provides an opportunity to request, or demand, that the shopping centre provide more trees on its lot to create shade on what is one of the hottest spaces in the area. The “heat map” of the West End shows that the shopping centre and Cavendish Mall are hot spots, that is, areas that are reflecting a lot of heat. The City of Montreal and Montreal Public Health have published studies showing an increase in morbidity and mortality linked to higher temperatures.
Quebec’s National Institute of Public Health says: “In Montreal, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense. The phenomenon of urban heat islands is exacerbating this trend to global warming and increasing public health problems associated with these high temperatures”.
This short film shows the phenomenon of Urban Heat Islands in Montreal:
These studies show a direct link between outdoor temperatures and the health of the community. The more trees, the cooler the surrounding area. That’s why we should demand that parking lot owners plant trees to absorb the heat and cover as much asphalt as possible. It’s in the public interest to plant more trees and to maintain and protect the tree canopy that we have in many areas of Cote Saint-Luc. Our health depends on it.