By Hélène Montpetit
Is Montreal Really an Environmental Dunce?
Adopted in April 2016, the Charter for the Protection of Montreal’s Green Spaces and Natural Environments was signed by over 100 city planners, biologists, sociologists, economists, public health and social housing experts, as well as about 40 citizens groups. On April 20th, to mark its first anniversary, Forum Nature Montréal handed the City a Green Report Card. The final grade came out of a survey in which participants assessed Montreal’s performance on priority environmental issues such as the protection of natural environments and biodiversity, the reduction of urban sprawl and the accessibility of green spaces for all residents. How did the City fare? An overwhelming majority of respondents gave it a poor (D) or miserable (E) rate on all counts!
The Future Looks No Brighter
In a few days, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal will be holding public hearings on a planned real estate development project that would swallow 185 hectares of L’Anse-à-L’Orme. One of the last remaining natural areas on the island of Montreal, the site borders the Cap-St-Jacques Nature Park and the Bois-de-la-Roche Agricultural Park, both of which would also be impacted should the project move forward.
Citywide, though, this isn’t just about “a few hectares and a bit of dust.” Heavy equipment has already invaded the wetlands located in the Ville-Saint-Laurent borough, completely destroying the habitats of small animals, amphibians, reptiles and nesting birds. The Falaise Saint-Jacques, Hudson’s Sandy Beach and the Dorval Golf Club are only a few of the other endangered spaces in the Greater Montreal area.
Other than providing us with beautiful settings in which to recharge and get a little exercise, these natural spaces sequester carbon, store and filter water, cool the atmosphere, form soils, cycle nutrients and shelter organisms, plants and animals that are vital to the life cycle. As is the case with much of the planet, destroying them ultimately amounts to destroying ourselves.
What can you do about it?
Several citizens groups have been formed to try to put an end to the destruction of these vital spaces. Find out about them and about their efforts, sign their petitions, contribute to their fund-raising campaigns.
UpTheMountainAndDownAgain also invites you to participate in a flashmob to raise public awareness on our duty to protect these spaces and their inhabitants. We are planning on holding it next June 10th and if it is to have real impact, we require hundreds of participants. For more information on this unique event, click here, or commit today by filling out the registration form.
Thank you for reading!
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