Tur­cot Green­belt Con­sul­ta­tions Were they a Farce?

Montreal Times - - News -

the hook without ful­fill­ing any of its en­vi­ron­men­tal prom­ises. The first prom­ise in­volves cre­at­ing a new greenspace and the sec­ond in­volves build­ing a bi­cy­cle bridge over the re­built High­way 20.

Con­sul­ta­tions were held Oc­to­ber 18 with en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions to dis­cuss the on the “Bande Vert,” a new lin­ear green belt promised at the bot­tom of the falaise St. Jacques (Es­carp­ment) be­tween NDG and the new High­way 20. This green­belt, which will av­er­age 30 me­tres in width over al­most 4km, is also sup­posed to in­cor­po­rate a pedes­trian and bike path.

"We were shown beau­ti­ful plans on Oct. 18,” said Lisa Mintz of Sau­vons la Falaise. “But we were not al­lowed to take any pho­tos. If this such great project, why is it secret? That is a warn­ing sign; do they have the money to do this?”

Mintz de­scribes the plans for lin­ear green­belt as in­clud­ing the bike path, grassy ar­eas and for­est, a stream, a small lake, trails and look­outs.“Al­most too good to be true,” as she put it.

“The MTQ pre­vi­ously made prom­ises about the Dalle-Parc bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian bridge in 2010, but now claim that they have no money for it. At an es­ti­mated $40 mil­lion, the bridge rep­re­sents only about one per­cent of the $3.8 bil­lion Tur­cot bud­get. Why does the MTQ al­ways find money for mo­torists, but not for cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans?” She also points to how the MTQ “tem­po­rar­ily” closed the Mercier Bridge bike path in 2009 with a promised re-open­ing in 2011. To­day there is still no bike path on the MTQ's por­tion of that bridge nor any timetable given for when it might be com­pleted. The south­ern half of Mercier Bridge is ad­min­is­tered by the federal gov­ern­ment and there is a bike path there; un­for­tu­nately it stops half-way across the river... “We have been ask­ing for these con­sul­ta­tions for two years, but what they showed us is un­be­liev­able; I doubt it will ever be­come a real project. The MTQ is just try­ing to ap­pease us.They ask us to trust them to in­te­grate the new green­belt with rest of project, but it is not con­nected to any­thing else. I am ex­tremely skep­ti­cal; dis­gusted ac­tu­ally.” Mounds of dirt some 20 me­tres high re­main to­day where the bike path is sup­posed to pass. Mintz sug­gests that the KPH con­sor­tium work­ing on the Tur­cot re­con­struc­tion project does not want to pay to move these mounds.

In 2010, for­mer Trans­port min­is­ter Sam Ha­mad promised many “green mea­sures” in the Tur­cot project, pre­sum­ably in an ef­fort to “sell” an un­pop­u­lar project to the gen­eral pub­lic.The project is sur­rounded by less af­flu­ent neigh­bour­hoods like St. Henri, St. Pierre, and St. Ray­mond where many res­i­dents do not own cars.

Felix Gravel of CRE Mon­tréal says,“It is very im­por­tant to en­sure that the last bit of green in­fras­truc­ture in the Tur­cot project, is ac­tu­ally built and is con­structed to be a use­ful part of the project. Ide­ally, this green­belt would con­nect West­mount to St. Pierre with the Dalle-Parc bridge at the cen­tre.”

View from the top of a mound of dirt be­side the St. Jacques Eco-Ter­ri­tory; the peo­ple be­low look like ants...

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