Please write the mayor – We must save the St. Pierre River!

Following a recent Quebec Court of Appeal decision concerning the St. Pierre River where it crosses the Meadowbrook golf course, Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook is concerned about the future of the river, and it has launched a letter-writing campaign to try to save it.

The environmental group Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook has been working for over thirty years to preserve the green space on the Meadowbrook golf course as an urban nature heritage park, accessible to all. This 57-hectare tract of land, half of which lies in Lachine (Montreal) and half in the City of Côte Saint-Luc, is traversed by a two-hundred metre stretch of the St. Pierre River.

Dec. 2020. Photo Nigel Dove

The situation

The storm sewer collector that feeds the river is contaminated by sanitary sewer cross-connections, so the court had ordered that all pollution of the river must be stopped. As of last summer, most of the water was able to be deviated from entering the golf course except during periods of heavy rain. This was already of considerable concern to us as it led to a drying up of the river through most of year, thus stressing the river ecosystem.

A January 2021 Quebec Court of Appeal decision may seal the fate of the river. It forbids any water from the storm sewer collector, contaminated or not, from flowing on the golf course. This would in effect permanently kill the river.

The City of Montreal recognizes the importance of rivers and streams on the Island of Montreal. In fact, in 2014, it gave nine reasons (Resolution CM14 1141) why rivers and streams should be protected, ranging from ecosystem protection to reduction in flooding, and thenunanimously adopted a motionto protect and manage existing urban rivers and create or recreate new ones.

We believe there are solutions to the contamination of the St. Pierre River flowing through the golf course other than a permanent deviation and we are asking Montreal to find a solution.


The environmental issues

  • Streams increase the capacity and available surface area to evacuate runoff water, particularly during intense storms or during thaw periods, and reduce the risk of flooding and overflows.*
  • Streams and their vegetated banks are islands of natural coolness and play an important role in the health and well-being of Montrealers.*
  • Streams are important elements of an ecosystem since they are habitats and refuges for several species, and their presence contributes to the richness of biodiversity.*
  • The water quality of the St. Lawrence and Rivière des Prairies depends on the quality of their tributaries; *
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of access to nature: Meadowbrook shows tremendous potential as an urban nature heritage park accessible to all.

*an unofficial translation from the 2014 Resolution CM14 1141 referred to above


The heritage significance

Some thirty-six rivers and streams used to flow across the island of Montreal. Urbanization and industrialization caused their complete or partial disappearance.

  • The St. Pierre River had its source at the foot of Mount Royal and originally emptied into the St. Lawrence River in Verdun. At the foot of the Falaise Saint-Jacques, it formed a shallow lake, Lac Saint-Pierre or Otter Lake, where the Turcot Interchange now sits.
  • In Montreal’s early days, the river was a route across the island that avoided the Lachine Rapids; it provided water for people, crops and livestock.
  • In order to provide water power to the Sulpicians’ mills, in 1697, water from the St. Pierre River was diverted into the Petite Rivière which flowed into the St. Lawrence at Pointe à Callière. In the 19th century, the Petite Rivière was buried in the William Collector.
  • There have been several failed attempts to daylight the St. Pierre River in recent years.


To learn more, please seean article on the St. Pierre Riveron our website.  Also, here isour group’s presentation about the riverprepared by Louise Legault at an international conference on daylighting rivers held in Florence, Italy, in 2020.


Stand up for the river     –     Please write the mayor!

Please write to the City of Montreal asking them to preserve the St. Pierre River in line with the sentiments expressed in the 2014 Resolution.

We have prepared a form letter inFrenchandEnglishfor your convenience. Please rewrite or modify as you like.

And, feel free to pass along this note to anyone you think would be interested in the issue.


To:    Madame Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal


  • Responsible for housing, real estate strategy, large parks and parc Jean-Drapeau
  •  Responsible for water/waterworks, infrastructures, and the Commission des services électriques
  • for our files

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