Cap Nature Pierrefonds West, can natural and a urban development live together
Cap Nature Pierrefonds West – With the open house event to be held this Sunday as part of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal’s (OCPM) consultation process, the owner-developers of the Cap Nature Pierrefonds West project would like to underscore this innovative project’s benefits for the community. Specifically, it combines a sustainable solution to the West Island’s residential needs through the creation of an environmentally responsible neighbourhood and the preservation of 180 hectares of natural habitats, which will significantly contribute to the City of Montreal’s objective of designating 10% of its territory as protected areas.
Spanning 365 hectares, this project is designed to create a harmonious balance between natural environment preservation and responsible urban development. It includes 180 hectares of natural wooded areas, protected wetlands and other ecosystems, including 56 hectares of land (6 million sq. ft.) already donated and to be donated to the City by the owner-developers, as well as 185 hectares for the construction of an environmentally responsible neighbourhood featuring 5,500 residences and 23 hectares of conveniently located local parks and areas dedicated to rainwater management.
Among the dwellings, 1,500 will be earmarked for housing co-ops and social housing, thereby helping meet the City of Montreal’s requirement that 30% of any urban development project be dedicated to affordable housing. Upon completion, the project will enable many families to remain on the Island of Montreal, whereas over 16,000 residents had left the City in 2016 to settle in the first or second outer residential ring.1
The 180 hectares of protected natural zones included in the Cap Nature Pierrefonds West project will expand the L’Anse-à-l’Orme Nature Park, which forms part of the Rivière à l’Orme ecoforest corridor, an area spanning over 1,000 hectares, or 10 sq. kmfour times larger than Mount Royal Park.
Cap Nature Pierrefonds West is the fruit of a true partnership between five owner-developers and the City of Montreal, who have been actively collaborating since 2005 to design an innovative, eco- conscious project. Mayor Denis Coderre and other City politicians have publicly supported this initiative, one of eight priority urban projects included in the Montreal Urban Agglomeration Land Use and Development Plan, adopted in April 2015 following public consultation.
“Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre called it an exemplary project during its unveiling in 2015,” said David Cliche, spokesperson for Cap-Nature Pierrefonds West. “Indeed, it is the result of an extensive joint planning process that led to the development of a Special Urban Planning Program (SUPP), the 22nd version of which was drafted in 2015. On behalf of the five owner-developers, I asked for this SUPP to be made public for consultation by the OCPM, so that it might be further enhanced as part of the current process and adopted as quickly as possible.”
The Cap Nature Pierrefonds West project stands out at the environmental level, as all of its planned buildings and residences will be designed and built in compliance with the best practices in sustainable development, and all preliminary studies have met the requirements of both the City of Montreal and the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC – “Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change”), including those relating to on-site rainwater management. This project will be subject to approval under the Environment Quality Act, thereby confirming its environmental suitability.
The neighbourhood’s design will feature 10 km of new bike paths, a special focus on pedestrians and a comprehensive mass transit grid, including the nearby Kirkland station of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s new Metropolitan Electric Network. This significant level of accessibility fostering active and public transportation, combined with a road infrastructure development plan featuring the extension of Pierrefonds Boulevard, will help alleviate traffic on current roadways (St-Jean and St-Charles boulevards and Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme) for the benefit of Pierrefonds’s residents and visitors coming to enjoy the beauty of the L’Anse-à-l’Orme and Cap-Saint-Jacques nature parks.
Moreover, the Cap Nature Pierrefonds West project will include the construction of three elementary schools and eight daycare centers to meet the needs of newly arrived families, who will also get to enjoy fully developed parks spreading over 23 hectares, or more than 10% of the project’s total land area.
The overall project, featuring contributions from both the private and public sectors to the Cap Nature Pierrefonds West initiative, will generate approximately $2 billion in economic growth and activity over the next 20 years. It will also lead to the creation of sustainable employment, first in the borough itself through newly established businesses and professional offices within its multifunctional hubs, then across Greater Montreal.
With its guarantee to preserve natural heritage through the development of a critical mass of natural habitats on both banks of Rivière à l’Orme, the project had been defined as part of the Montreal Metropolitan Community’s Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan in March 2012. The Pierrefonds West sector was identified as an urban development target as early as 2004 and Cap Nature Pierrefonds West is one of the key projects of the Montreal Urban Agglomeration Land Use Development Plan, adopted in 2015.