Politicians and environmentalists celebrated the latest addition to the Dalle Park project Saturday afternoon, inaugurating the bande verte multi-purpose trail, which runs parallel to the Saint-Jacques escarpment.
Activists say the bande verte is another piece of the Turcot Interchange nature park, but a huge piece of the puzzle is still missing.
“In order for the Falaise grand park to actually be a grand park, we need the bridge,” said Lisa Mintz, Sauvons La Falaise founder.
The Dalle Park pedestrian and cycling bridge would cross over highway 20, connecting the Sud-Ouest boroughs and NDG.
“This Dalle park project will connect four or five neighbourhoods immediately from a natural transit, it would be good for local economies and be good for inter-neighbourhood participation,” said City Councillor Craig Sauve.
The walkway was left out of the final plans for the Turcot interchange, but in 2018 the Quebec Liberal government announced the bridge would be built. Then a month later the CAQ government was elected.
“We’re ready to go. you know, we’ve already taken major steps to reserve some land at the top here. We bought the garage right beside the current entrance from st george, so we’re planning how to turn this into a park,” said NDG city councillor Peter McQueen.
Montreal city councillors say they are waiting on the provincial government. Although in a letter from June 1, Quebec’s transport minister Francois Bonnardel said “the next step is for the city of Montreal to complete the preliminary draft, which will make it possible to specify budgets and implement the schedule.”
Both Liberal and Quebec Solidaire candidates running in NDG promise to move the project forward.
“This is a really important project in terms of promoting and protecting green spaces and also connecting it with environmental education for young people, but people of all backgrounds,” said Liberal candidate Désirée McGraw.
“As a resident of Saint Raymond in NDG, I know how hard it is to cross actually to the Southwest. And so it’s crucial to improve the active, active transportation in the sector,” said Élisabeth Labelle, Quebec Solidaire candidate.
Regardless of who is elected on October 3, activists say the municipal government needs to work alongside the province to get the project rolling.