Montreal contests order to bury St Pierre River at Meadowbrook Golf Course

st-pierre-river-on-meadowbrook-golf-course-min

Meadowbrook Golf Course – Montreal is appealing a court order to bury the last vestige of the St. Pierre River that still runs above ground on Meadowbrook Golf Course in the borough of Lachine. The order results from this stream being contaminated with sewage from improperly connected pipes upstream in Cote St Luc and Montreal West.

Formerly this stream flowed some 15km, first west from Mount Royal to Lachine, and from there east to the Old Port. Today a mere 200 metres of the stream still flows above ground; the other 99 percent of the stream has been channeled into sewers.

A lake 5 kilometres long (Lac St-Pierre) was also once part of this waterway. Historically, this was a very important stream for Natives and for early colonists in Montreal because it afforded a way for canoes to bypass the treacherous Lachine Rapids. Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal, also first stepped ashore onto Montreal Island beside where the St. Pierre River joins the St. Lawrence.

Côte St-Luc mayor Mitchell Brownstein says that the matter is very complex. If cross connections exist, they took place without authorization from the city, probably way back when the city was being built in the 1950s. He added that Côte St-Luc is working with Montreal on this dossier. The Times also reached out to Montreal West mayor Beny Massela but did not hear back by deadline.

I do NOT support covering the St Pierre on Meadowbrook as it is historical but also for its ecological value, local environmentalist Louise Chênevert emailed The Times. Water attracts amphibians as frogs. Insects breed, which attract birds and bats. It is a source of drinking water (although presently unclean) for mammals…

Portion of old map (from 1739?) showing the St. Pierre River flowing from Mt Royal west to Lachine, then east toward the Old Port. Arrow marks approximate location of Meadowbrook Golf Course today. Photo provided by L. Chênevert.

Chênevert attended a film projection last week about Lost Rivers that have been channeled underground, such as the St. Pierre River. Around the world, such rivers are now being restored as surface-flowing streams. There are similar plans for downstream portions of the St. Pierre River as part of the Turcot Highway reconstruction project.

This underground St. Pierre River seems to have achieved cult status fame: adventurer Andrew Emond has written fascinating articles about his attempts to follow the stream underground from Meadowbrook Golf Course toward Place d’Youville in Old Montreal.

This reporter has written articles suggesting that the former Iroquois village of Hochelaga—as described by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535—was on the St. Pierre River near Meadowbrook Golf Course. Old maps, Cartier’s written accounts, and botany feature among the evidence.

Chênevert is also organizing an August 26 bicycle ride to follow the approximate path of the St. Pierre River. Her 30km ride starts from Richard Schwartz Park in Côte St-Luc at 9:00 on Sunday and is free for participants.

Join Danielle Plamondon, featured in the film Lost Rivers to discover what lays underground and its ecological impacts, reads a description on Eventbrite. Louise Chênevert, will discuss its value to First Nations’ culture and its trade history. This is a one-way, bilingual, guided bicycle ride covering history, culture, urban planning, and environmental issues. There will be several stops including one for lunch. Please bring your own lunch and water. More information at the Facebook page Balade de la Rivière – st Pierre – River Ride or email: [email protected]

By: John Symon – [email protected]
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