This afternoon I attended a press conference outlining a vision for Meadowbrook along with Councillor Dida Berku. Les Amis de Meadowbrook, along with the Conseil regional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal) and landscape architecture firm Catalyse Urbaine, shared their vision of an urban nature heritage park, accessible to all.
These three organizations believe this vision will provide a solid basis for transforming this green space into a public park, and hope that city officials will study the report in this light.
“Meadowbrook is the last intact large green space in the heart of the island of Montreal that could be developed into a park for all Montrealers,” says Les Amis de Meadowbrook spokesman Patrick Asch. “It is now time for the City of Montreal to follow up on the recommendations of the 2009 Montreal Agglomeration Council commission on large installations and agglomeration activities and add Meadowbrook to the city’s network of parks.”
Currently a public golf course, Meadowbrook is a 57-hectare green space bordered by railway tracks and rail yards on the south and west, and has only one entrance, located on the north side. It is, however, close to existing bicycle paths, the Lachine Canal and the AMT commuter line. New pedestrian entrances and cycle paths could easily open up access to Meadowbrook and integrate it with existing green corridors.
The new park could be connected through a greenway to a network of parks, including the Falaise Saint-Jacques, and a pedestrian infrastructure could make it accessible to all Montrealers, including the densely populated areas of Lachine and Saint-Pierre.
During a day-long workshop in early December 2012, residents, social services and health experts, biologists, students and elected officials visited the site and brainstormed. “We didn’t worry about implementation,” says Juliette Patterson, a landscape architect with Catalyse Urbaine. “We just imagined what we would like to see, and the results were unanimous: a park where people can go to observe nature and to learn about the historical and cultural aspects of the site.”
Coralie Deny, executive-director of CRE-Montreal, says, “We are convinced that, with a document like this in hand, the elected officials of the Montreal Agglomeration will agree with the importance of carrying out this public project. It fits perfectly with the spirit of the Montreal Development Plan currently being discussed.”
A new Meadowbrook Urban Nature Heritage Park Accessible to All, would offer Montrealers:
• A 57-hectare park in the heart of the island, where over 500,000 residents of the southwest region currently lack access to nature.
• A precious preserve of biodiversity located on a major spring migration flyway. Meadowbrook’s trees and streams also provide a rich resource for ducks, geese and songbirds.
• Heritage aspects of the area include First Nations archaeological sites, a history of agricultural use and a role in Canada’s railway history.
• A 1.4-km multi-use trail for pedestrians, cyclists and cross-country skiers, a 2.8- km year-round path for pedestrians and skiers, an additional 2 km of paths, as well as gardens and an outdoor theatre.
The full report can be downloaded from Les Amis de Meadowbrook website at lesamisdemeadowbrook.org.
Les Amis de Meadowbrook is a citizen’s movement dedicated to protecting Meadowbrook from development and transforming it into an Urban Nature Heritage Park Accessible to All.
CRE-Montreal is an independent non-profit organization committed to environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development on the island of Montreal. http://www.cremtl.qc.ca
Catalyse Urbaine is a landscape and architecture design firm that exists to fulfill the seamless integration of nature into urban design – an endeavour that combines environmental sensitivity with public well-being.
In my opinion: