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Sprucing up of NDG escarpment highlights need for more green spaces

Click to play video: 'NDG escarpment gets much needed spring cleaning' NDG escarpment gets much needed spring cleaning
Green spaces are valuable to any urban environment and as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, residents in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce were busy Saturday with rakes and garbage bags, trying to salvage an urban oasis of their own – Apr 28, 2018

The Saint-Jacques Escarpment is an urban forest that runs for four kilometres from close to the Vendome metro station all the way down to the Ville Saint-Pierre interchange.

Lisa Mintz and other residents cleaned the area last spring, and the spring before that and were at it again on Saturday.

Mintz expressed her frustration as she surveyed the garbage that residents and businesses alike have dumped at the green space just south of Saint-Jacques Street in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG).

“As you can see people are dumping all kinds of crap,” she fumed. “There are some pallets that have been dumped over there. There’s all this construction equipment. There are newspapers. There’s plastic…”

READ MORE: Group strives to save trees in Saint-Jacques Escarpment

Mintz organized another cleanup this year hoping to underscore the importance of the urban forest because the city just doesn’t have enough green spaces.

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“Do you know that Montreal has the least amount of green space of any other large city in Canada?” she asked.

That may soon change as the borough says it has big plans for the area.

“Eventually our administration wants to bring this back to its natural beauty and turn it into a park,” Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor Sue Montgomery told Global News.

READ MORE: Complaints of noise pollution over Turcot Interchange construction prompts change

There is no timeline yet for that to happen but with the completion of the Turcot project and the space around that, they don’t want the area to be neglected.

Mintz agrees, calling the escarpment the lungs of NDG and the southwest.

“This green space inhales all the pollution from Saint-Jacques and from the Turcot project,” she explained.  “This keeps us breathing!”

READ MORE: Activists work to save downtown Montreal green space from destruction

Furthermore, it’s home to 65 species of birds and a variety of animals including foxes.

Mintz and other residents like Michael Tessler hope that the cleanup will help make people think twice before littering in the area.

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“Well you wouldn’t want to live in a garbage dump, would you?” asked Tessler.

He hopes that once it becomes a park, there won’t be a need for cleanup events like this.

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