“It was important for our administration to move forward with this project inspired by and for the people of Montreal,” Caroline Bourgeois said.

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Montreal’s executive committee approved an $8-million loan bylaw Wednesday to develop the Falaise St-Jacques ecological park.

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Mayor Valérie Plante announced in 2020 that the city would preserve the escarpment, which runs parallel to the south side of St-Jacques St. W. in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, as a 60-hectare urban park.

“This loan bylaw is the kickoff of the magnificent project of the Falaise ecoterritory park,” said Caroline Bourgeois, vice-chair of the executive committee and the administration member responsible for large parks.

The loan will finance the acquisition of buildings, as well as landscaping work in the park, she said.

“It was important for our administration to move forward with this project inspired by and for the people of Montreal,” Bourgeois added.

Lisa Mintz of the environmental group Sauvons la falaise hailed the news.

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“I think that is fantastic,” said Mintz, who has been pushing for preservation of the green space for seven years.

“I’m really glad they’re getting moving on this project,” she added.

The funds will enable the city to make further progress on the park, which stretches from the Turcot Interchange to Montreal West/Lachine and straddles the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Sud-Ouest boroughs. Among the projects it will finance are:

  • A green space dedicated to biodiversity in the former Turcot rail yards
  • Trails for cycling, walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
  • small parking lots
  • Picnic areas and playgrounds
  • Mountain bike trails
  • A visitors’ chalet
  • Diverse water environments
  • Grasslands, woodlands and topographical features
  • A park entrance near the Lachine Canal
  • A north-south link
  • Stairs and other infrastructure
  • Street furniture and signage

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It will also enable the city to acquire buildings, carry out preliminary archeological, geotechnical and environmental surveys and cover professional fees for planning, design and supervision.

The loan bylaw will come before city council in May and requires approval by Quebec’s Municipal Affairs ministry.

For many years, Mintz and other volunteers have given nature walks in the Falaise, a haven for birdwatchers where more than 65 species have been identified. They have also organized cleanups of the green space, used in the past as a dumping ground for old tires, garbage and landfill.

Mintz is also a co-founder and executive director of the non-profit educational organization. UrbanNaturewhich was recently awarded $20,000 by Canadian Heritage to produce an audiovisual history of the Falaise.

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