Last August 8th, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante announced her proposal to build a 3,000-hectare ‘Grand parc de l’ouest’ (Great West Park) in the West Island – part of her plans to help in the fight against climate change. On October 16th, the City’s executive committee approved the purchase of almost 10 hectares of green space in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue at a cost of $5.1 million. Having received support from the Federal government with an investment of $50 million towards the project, the City will then need to invest another estimated $75 million.
Despite the expected criticism from opposition party Coalition Montreal and a pending lawsuit from three developers seeking $175 million in damages (because of their plans to build 5,500 homes on close to 360 hectares of land in part of the proposed park), Mayor Plante is ready to move forward. She is a strong proponent of a global initiative to ‘reduce carbon emissions and increase cities’ eco-footprints’. “Rather than destroying hundreds of hectares of natural spaces and wetlands, we will create the largest urban park in Canada, eight times the size of Central Park,” Plante recently said in her speech to world leaders at the United Nations climate summit in New York.
“This purchase of high-quality natural environment is part of our vision to protect this beautiful green space,” she told the media concerning the 10 hectares of green space. It is a significant moment towards realizing the city’s goal. The Great West Park could be be fifteen times the size of Mount Royal park and at least eight times the size of Manhattan, New York’s Central Park- and the largest municipal park in Canada. It will combine parks running from St. Anne de Bellevue and across to Ile Bizard.