News from the Biodiversity Conference


A number of very interesting activities directed towards the goal of conserving Meadowbrook were conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 27 and 28, at the summit on biodiversity and the greening of Montreal held  at the Gelber Centre on Cote-St-Catherine Road.

Hosted by the Conseil Régional Environment Montréal, the City of Montréal and Health and Social Services of Québec, the conference attracted 258 local and international delegates. In this international year of biodiversity, the purpose was to share greening experiences and to mobilize the decision makers of Montreal to protect biodiversity.

Three members of Les Amis de Meadowbrook attended the conference as well as three members of the Green Coalition.

On Wednesday morning, as delegates entered the conference centre, they were each given a transparent folder which contained information about Mayor Tremblay’s statements abroad on the need to conserve biodiversity and detailed information on Meadowbrook and why it needed to be conserved. In 2008, speaking at the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, Mayor Tremblay stated:

Younger generations are insisting that elected people have the responsibility to act.  We are elected representatives, most of us by universal suffrage, and consequently we should bethinking about the future of our citizens, but also about the future of the next generations, and not only about money.”

Les Amis, in the document, asked Mayor Tremblay to keep his promise to conserve Meadowbrook and to adopt the recommendations of Montreal’s own Labrecque Commission which formally “recommended that this 57 hectares of natural space be conserved as a park open and accessible to all”.

Meadowbrook came up a number of times at the conference, sometimes through questions. When mentioned by the panelists, it was in favour of its preservation. Patrick Asch of Héritage Laurentien responded to a question on the biodiversity of Meadowbrook indicating the richness of the site and how it could be enhanced.

On the panel dealing with greening the urban environment, I asked the panel on their opinion of the role of brownfields in greening Montreal. There are 5,000 hectares of brown fields in Montreal, more than all of the conserved natural spaces combined. The question was that while developers prefer to build on green spaces, for the obvious reason that green spaces appeal to home buyers, should we not be saving the very limited green spaces we have in Montreal for citizens use, and build our housing developments on brownfields.

The panelist from Public Health of Montréal responded that such an approach seemed obvious.

Photos by Jacqueline Fortson


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