Montreal plans to create the largest urban park in the country

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The City of Montreal wants to create the largest urban park in Canada in the West Island.

The proposed 3,000 hectare “Great West Park” will stretch from Sainte-Anne de Bellevue to Ile Bizard and be eight times the size of Central Park in New York and 15 times the size of Mount Royal.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante supported the project on Thursday and explained how the city will find the money to buy the land needed for the park.

“We are not alone,” she said. “This is why I have conversations with the federal and provincial governments, but it is worth it. This is how we need to change the paradigm.”

The developers already have projects in some of the affected sectors, but the Plante executive committee and other borough mayors will have a right of first refusal and will be able to bid first on any property in question.

“It takes a lot of courage because we all depend on taxes from building homes and condos, which for me is not the right way to go,” said Plante. “There should be other sources of income, but right now it’s our system. For me, letting the builders build here doesn’t make sense.”

Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa said she faced a similar fight to protect green spaces and won.

“In 2017, Ste-Anne faced a $ 35 million lawsuit from developers and developers and today that lawsuit is gone,” she said. “This land is now part of the regional park. Things have changed and the courts see it very differently than before.”

Plante said the park, which will bring together five existing parks and green spaces, will be a boon in the fight against climate change. The Green Space Coalition, which has fought to protect the region’s environmental integrity since 1980, said the announcement was a victory.

“This means that at this moment Montreal can place itself among the cities of the world that value biodiversity,” said spokesperson David Fletcher. “It will become a model. Internationally, people will look at what Montreal has done and try to emulate it.

Unveiling the plan is the first step with many more to come. Public consultations will take place over the next few weeks.

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