Plans to create a nature park along the Turcot Interchange should be expanded to include the Saint-Jacques Escarpment, according to a report from Montreal’s public consultation commission.
In its report, the commission points out that the reconfiguration of the Turcot Interchange allows for a large plot of land to be converted to a green space, complete with wetlands and wooded areas — something it says residents support.
The commission has made 20 recommendations, including expanding the nature park, which runs alongside Highway 20, to allow it to be a green entryway into the city. It also suggests including Terry Fox Park on Saint-Jacques Street in the project.
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It proposes expanding the park’s borders to the Saint-Jacques Escarpment, which was not included in the original plan. The report states that the proposed north-south pedestrian walkway and bike path crossing over Highway 20 should boast a “unique, innovative and emblematic look.”
It calls for a 10-metre green zone of trees and fauna to protect the forested area, which sits between the Turcot Interchange and the Town of Montreal West.
“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this project,” said Sue Montgomery, Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor.
The escarpment is one of 10 eco-territories identified by the City of Montreal in its nature conservation plan.
City officials say the hope is to increase the number of protected environments while at the same time giving residents a new park and improving the look of the entrance to the downtown core.
Sauvons la Falaise founder Lisa Mintz told Global News she is happy with the report, saying the modifications suggested are what she had hoped for in order to protect the area’s ecosystem.
“This is a great step forward, but these are still only suggestions. We want action,” she insisted.
With plans to make the nature park accessible all year round, the report asks that a citizen committee be created to make sure the public continues to have its say in the project.
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The park is expected to take up about 30 hectares of land, sitting between the Sud-Ouest, LaSalle, Lachine and Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce boroughs.
The project to build a bridge near the Turcot Interchange was first floated in 2010 by Transports Québec but was later was scrapped due to its estimated $40-million cost before being revived once again.
An information session is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Saint-Raymond Community Centre at 5600 Upper Lachine Rd.
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