February 5, 2018 7:58 pm

City to expropriate and preserve Notman Garden

WATCH: The City of Montreal is planning to expropriate the land at Notman Garden to prevent it from being turned into condos. As Global's Matt Grillo reports, the hope is to turn the area into a park.

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For years, community activists have been pushing to preserve the Notman Garden.

The green space sits in a populated area at the corner of Milton Street and Clark Street in downtown Montreal.

For those activists, their wish has come true.

The city plans to expropriate the land and preserve it.

“There’s no place like this left on the entire island of Montreal,” Alex Norris, city councillor for the district, said. “These are rare trees, these are ancient trees. This is a part of town that sorely lacks green space.”

READ MORE: Protesters demand protection for historic Notman Garden

Tony Antakly estimates he’s been fighting for about 15 years to preserve the garden.

He’s looking forward to working in close tandem with the city.

“The first thing that comes to mind is a big relief,” Antakly, founder of Citizens Movement for the Preservation of the Notman Garden, said. “So finally the garden is saved, it’s protected now. So the trees won’t come down.”

READ MORE: Hundreds protest at Montreal City Hall to save Pierrefonds green space

There’s even talk the land could be expanded, which could end up shrinking nearby streets.

“Milton, in particular, is at least twice as wide as it needs to be so there’s great potential to expand the park outward,” Norris said.

Norris adds the cost of the project is estimated at $3.3 million, but that number could change.

He insists the money is worth it.

“This is sort of the lungs of the neighbourhood,” Norris said. “There’s no profusion of greenery, like we have here, anywhere else in the neighbourhood.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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