Volunteers Needed!

    Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook is a lively, dynamic group whose mission is to transform Meadowbrook, a 57-hectare green space that straddles the city of Cote St. Luc and the borough of Lachine, into an urban heritage nature park accessible to all. The group is also involved in a great many ways in the fight to preserve green spaces on the Island of Montreal.

    If you would like to make a contribution and bring your special expertise to the table, here are a few suggestions:

    Communications Committee

    If you are a WordPress or a Wiki wizard, we would like to hear from you for help with our website (www.lesamsidemeadowbrook.org) and our ecomap project (www.montrealecomap.com). We could also use some help on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/sosmeadowbrook) and Twitter (@ParcMeadowbrook) pages.

    Les Amis are celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2019. We have many projects in mind. So if you would like to lend us a hand, you are most welcome! Money, as always, is the crux of the matter, so any fundraisers would also be welcome.

    Guardians of Meadowbrook

    This is a special initiative to protect Meadowbrook until it becomes a nature park. A number of projects are under consideration: bird boxes and feeders (Meadowbrook is well known to birdwatchers), cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter, access routes to the area, etc.

    Good research, collaborative and negotiating skills are required in this case.

    Sauvons la Falaise

    Les Amis and Sauvons la Falaise (www.sauvonslafalaise.ca) are partner organisations.  Sauvons la Falaise’s mission is the protection of the Falaise Saint-Jacques ecoterritory that stretches 4 kilometres from Montreal West to Westmount along St. Jacques Boulevard.

    Here is a special assignment, one best suited to geography buffs. We need to make a map of the Falaise with GPS coordinates. For those with a more political bent, we also need volunteers to follow the proceedings of the Bon voisinage Turcot meetings in NDG and the Sud-Ouest, as well as volunteers to attend municipal council meetings.

     

    Please contact us at lesamisdemeadowbrook@gmail.com to find out more and help us make Meadowbrook accessible to all!

    Thank you for your interest!

     

    Les Amis Supports Creation of Falaise Saint-Jacques Nature Park

    Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook (Les Amis) expressed full support for the creation of a Falaise Saint-Jacques Nature Park in a brief presented to the L’Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) on November 20.

    The OCPM hearings focused on the City of Montreal’s proposal to create a 30-hectare nature park beside the new Turcot interchange, including a lake, forested areas and a north-south link over the highway for pedestrians and cyclists.

    “The City of Montreal’s determination to create a Falaise Saint-Jacques Nature Park that brings together the forested Falaise Saint-Jacques —currently designated as an Eco-territory—and the former Turcot Rail Yards is applauded by Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook and other environmental groups, as well as thousands of residents from the CDN/NDG and Southwest boroughs, and residents from across the island who want the City to protect wilderness, wetlands, green spaces and former farmland from development as much as possible,” the brief said.

    A park on the Falaise, a long escarpment beside the Turcot area, would help relieve pressure on the overused Mount Royal Park, Les Amis continued, adding that a similar park at nearby Meadowbrook would do the same. Both would decrease vehicular traffic across CDN/NDG, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve overall traffic flow.

    Les Amis was created by citizens 29 years ago to protect the Meadowbrook golf course from residential development. Its current goal is to turn that 57-hectare property into a nature park. The brief noted that, although the Falaise Saint-Jacques and Meadowbrook are not contiguous, they are interconnected since wildlife use both areas. The existing railway corridor provides a link for animals to travel between the two sites. In addition, a pedestrian and cycling corridor could be created between these two parks.

    The brief added that the Falaise Saint-Jacques has been the site of illegal dumping for years. As a park, it would be cleaned up, replanted with native plant species where necessary, and the animals that live there would be better protected.

    The Falaise Saint-Jacques Nature Park would also provide an opportunity to highlight the history of Lac à la Loutre, also known as Lac Saint-Pierre. The lake, which no longer exists, was fed from the west by the St. Pierre River which has been buried for decades. One of the few remaining open sections of this river is at Meadowbrook.

    Les Amis noted that the plan for the Turcot section of the park calls for the creation of a lake, and this lake could be part of a project to daylight a section of the St. Pierre River. Storm water carried by collector sewers could be brought back to the surface to feed a larger lake here, with all of the advantages of a lake, including biodiversity, flood mitigation, and bioremediation.

    Finally, Les Amis expressed the hope that the city will create a green corridor of parks around downtown Montreal with Meadowbrook, Mount Royal, the Falaise, the new Turcot park and Angrignon Park as its main components.

    You can read our full brief at:

    http://ocpm.qc.ca/sites/ocpm.qc.ca/files/pdf/P98/7.11_les_amis_du_parc_meadowbrooks.pdf

    You will also find all the documents pertaining to the consultation and the briefs of other groups and individuals at the following address:

    http://ocpm.qc.ca/fr/parc-nature/documentation

     

     

     

     

     

    Daylighting Rivers

    by Sally Cole

    Daylighting:  A Global Trend Transforming Cities in the 21st Century

    Waterways were once the lungs and arteries of urbanization.  Yet, most of the world’s cities have buried their founding streams under concrete or incorporated them into sewer networks under roads and expressways and housing and industrial developments.  Burying rivers has degraded habitats and increased pollution and the costs of water treatment and waste management.  It has also increased flooding and damages due to flooding that are increasing with climate warming.

    What is Daylighting?

    Daylighting is the process of removing concrete and culverts that are covering and obstructing original rivers, creeks and drainage paths and of revitalizing original wetlands and drainage flow.  Daylighting is part of a larger flood management and water treatment strategy and an attempt to redress the thoughtless neglect of cities that continue to pollute their rivers.

    Why Daylight?

    Bringing back lost urban rivers by removing culverts and integrating flowing rivers into cities again –daylighting – is part of a global movement to rediscover urban rivers in cities worldwide.  In the 21st century, forward-thinking cities and citizens – in London, New York, Seoul, Zurich, Berkeley – are daylighting their historic rivers in a bid to halt pollution end environmental degradation, and increase the liveability and future viability of their cities.

    These cities report that their daylighting projects have:

    – reduced water treatment costs

    – aided flood management

    – increased property values

    – revitalized natural habitats with the return of indigenous plants, trees, fish, birds    and other wildlife

    – added greenbelts, bike routes and walking paths that have produced connectivity within and between neighbourhoods

    – increased social health and volunteer citizen engagement;

    – created tourism and related business opportunities.

    Montreal has an opportunity to join this progressive urban trend and invest in the future of our city by daylighting our historic St. Pierre River, the river on which our city was founded.

    The Lachine Canal bike path crosses where the bed of the St. Pierre used to be.

    Models of Successful Daylighting in Cities Around the World

    Since 2009, London has opened up more than 17kms of waterways.  Throughout the U.K. – where daylighting is known as deculverting — municipal governments have incorporated deculverting into legislation on water and flood management.

    Zurich, which has undertaken more daylighting than any other city in the world, has tracked, documented and analyzed the combined social, environmental and economic benefits.  The city has found the economic rewards of daylighting in reduced wastewater treatment costs.  Channeling clean water out of sewers and back into original rivers and streams reduces the volume of water that flows to sewage waste management facilities for treatment.  Zurich also reports an increase in public desire and civic engagement to recapture lost spaces and to improve the quality of life in the city.  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/daylighting-is-a-new-trend-that-s-transforming-cities/

    The daylighted Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, South Korea, transformed a polluted, urban, crime-ridden wasteland into a major flood relief channel and a 10.9km public downtown recreation space that has revived the city centre and attracts more than 60,000 visitors each day.  Restoration of two historic bridges over the restored river, along with managed changes in the downtown traffic system, has reduced by 2.3% the volume of cars entering downtown Seoul each day and increased bus and subway use.  Along with reducing air pollution, daylighting the Cheonggyecheon has created an environment with clean water and natural habitats that also helps to cool temperatures in the downtown area to 3.6 C lower than other parts of Seoul.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheonggyecheon

    Daylighting the Sawmill River in Yonkers, New York, has created a vibrant green corridor in the city and revitalized the downtown.

    http://www.sawmillrivercoalition.org/whats-happening/daylighting-the-saw-mill-river-in-yonkers/.

    In an effort to reduce future flood risk, after hundreds of basements flooded in a 1999 storm, the city of Dubuque, Iowa invested in an engineering study.  The key recommendation of the study was to restore, through daylighting, a one-mile section of the buried Bee Creek that flows under the city centre. https://www.americanrivers.org/conservation-resource/daylighting-streams-breathing-life-urban-streams-communities/

    To manage frequent flooding in the downtown area of Kalamazoo, Michigan, city engineers found that it was cheaper to daylight the buried Arcadia Creek than to rebuild and expand the century-old culvert system.

    Friends of Meadowbrook Are Daylighting the St Pierre River!

    The first step in daylighting is to map the route and extent of a buried river under the city.  The route of the St Pierre River is well known — from its source on Mont Royal through its various tributaries and down to its original outlet into the St. Lawrence River at Pointe-à-Callière.

    The St. Pierre River in 1834. source: carte de l’ile de Montreal, 1834, by A. Jobin, BAnQ http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2243990?docsearchtext=ile%20de%20Montreal%201834

    The next step in daylighting is called cultural restoration of the river.  Cultural restoration celebrates a buried river through markers, public art and activities to inform the public of its historic path and ecological role, and to raise awareness of the environmental issues and economic costs that have been created over time.

    In the case of Montreal, the city has buried the St Pierre River and channelled it into its sewage system until only 200 metres of the original river remain above ground today – in the Meadowbrook golf course.  And those 200 metres are severely polluted through the continued crossing of sewage and floodwater pipes.  Members of Friends of Meadowbrook have begun the work of cultural restoration of the St Pierre River by organizing an annual bike ride along the river’s route from Meadowbrook to Pointe-à-Callière.

    The ultimate goal of daylighting is natural restoration: to revitalize some or all of a river to recreate its original ecology and habitats and its rightful place as the centrepiece – the lungs and heart — of a community.