Open letter – A gesture by the municipality is greatly needed for the creation of a large park for Anjou and the east end.

When actions and decisions made in the past no longer align with current visions for the future, it is necessary to make allowances and find the means by which to change them. This is as true at the metropolis level as it is on the borough level. Anjou is no exception, and its golf course, which is currently earmarked to become industrially zoned, could actually have a bright future.

The eastern part of the Island of Montreal is home to tens of millions of square feet of space just aching to be revitalized. The potential for economic development is huge, without even touching an inch of the actual golf course. Today, the consolidation and creation of employment on this part of the island can no longer be a valid argument against the concept of a Great Park of the East-end, which would also encompass the area on which the current golf course resides.

The municipal administration has an opportunity to embrace and put into practice the vision for a Montreal of the 21st century that is shared by its citizens, social and environmental organizations, the public health sector and economic players alike. A city that boasts a healthy living environment, that is dynamic, equitable, durable and reliable. How can the administration do this? By preserving the large green space that is Anjou’s golf course for the purpose of transforming it into a Great Park.

Montreal cannot afford to miss this opportunity, and neither can the borough of Anjou. Given the anticipated plans for the development of the eastern tip of the island over the next few decades, the creation of a Great Park in Montreal made up of the woods and golf course in Anjou is vital for meeting the needs of the city and its citizens. These needs are currently in no way addressed, as this area of the urban agglomeration is particularly deprived of park spaces.

Those who work and reside on the eastern tip of the Island, specifically in Anjou, have everything to gain from the city halting the commercial and industrial development of the golf course site. By adjoining that area with the adjacent woods, a natural space that has been ignored for decades because it is entirely inaccessible, the city would be demonstrating its concern and interest in east/west territorial equity regarding access to recreational public green spaces. The greening of streets and private land is essential, but it in no way replaces the absolute necessity for creating a Great Park in this area.

City green spaces are considered indispensable for the health benefits they provide as well as for their part in adapting to and combatting climate change. They improve the local quality of life, aesthetically as well as practically, as much for residential areas as for commercial and industrial ones. Knowing all of this to be true, action must be taken.

We expect, therefore, that the city of Montreal and the borough of Anjou make a strong gesture and take active steps that will ultimately lead to the creation of a Great Parc of the East-end. For this end, we ask that the City of Montréal act to protect the Anjou golf course, and subsequently initiate a process for its acquisition. We also ask that the Mayor of Anjou wholly support this Great venture, creating a major recreational space and placing the borough at the center of the vision of a sustainable living environment of the major metropolis of Québec.

Signatories:

  • Coralie Deny, Executive director, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal
  • Daniel Duranleau, Executive director, Concertation Anjou
  • Andrew Gonzalez, Executive director, Centre de la science de la biodiversité du Québec et Professeur, Université McGill
  • Laurent Gosselin, Executive director, Solidarité Mercier-Est
  • Karel Mayrand, Directeur pour le Québec et l’Atlantique, Fondation David Suzuki
  • Raymond Moquin, President, Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est
  • Sylvain Perron, Coordinator, Mouvement Ceinture Verte
  • François Reeves, cardiologist, CHUM et Cité de la santé de Laval
  • Laure Waridel, eco-sociologist, professeure associée, UQAM