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Montréal Community Sustainable Development Plan

The objectives according to the plan

Improve Montréal’s green infrastructures

Improve Montréal’s green infrastructures by increasing the canopy cover to 25% from 20% by 2025 compared with 2007

Improve Montréal's green infrastructuresBiodiversity is suffering an unprecedented decline worldwide. Climate change and urbanization are two of the reasons for this. The presence of vegetation and a canopy cover are two of the indicators of biodiversity within a given territory. The increase in the canopy cover, in addition to increasing the number of plants and encouraging the infiltration of rainwater, helps filter the air and reduces heat islands in the urban environment. These are all decisive elements in facing the challenges of adapting to climate change. These elements also have an effect on the quality of life of residents of these urban areas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines green infrastructures as natural or built infrastructures, such as parks, natural environments, trees on streets, roofs and green walls, filtering ditches and marshes. These provide ecological services that reproduce those of natural environments.

Montréal, with its many green spaces, is well placed in terms of the canopy index—the projection of tree cover on the ground—compared with other major North American cities. One of the means to increase canopy cover and biodiversity is to add plants in densely built areas, particularly by creating a green infrastructure. Montréal currently assesses its canopy index at 20.5% and would like this index to grow to 25% by 2025.

Action 31 : Establish a collaborative framework for protecting and developing highly biodiverse territories

In Montréal, several ecoterritories and highly biodiverse areas require special attention in order to protect and enhance them. The Ville de Montréal has 18 major parks and approximately 1.2 million trees on public land, as well as various forested areas on private land. Montréal’s natural spaces and protected areas significantly enhance quality of life for locals and visitors, in addition to increasing the region’s ecological wealth. It is important to enhance these natural habitats by granting them special conservation status, highlighting their unique features and making parts of them open to the public.

To do this, it is necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of the spaces’ and habitats’ biogeographical features. As such, in 2004, the Ville de Montréal set a target to protect 6% of its land, and the city has pursued its efforts by identifying, in collaboration with its partners, the most strategic and rich natural spaces.

Montréal therefore undertakes to:
  • Establish a collaborative framework with stakeholders working on the promotion of biodiversity in Montréal by 2013.
  • Meet the target of protecting 6% of Montréal’s land.
  • Record protected spaces associated with the 6% target in its “Répertoire des milieux naturels protégés de l’agglomération de Montréal” (listing of protected natural environments in the agglomeration of Montréal) by 2015.
  • Create a man-made landscape, as defined in the Natural Heritage Conservation Act (in French), on farmlands.
Among other things, partners agree to:
  • Contribute to the development of a collaborative framework for creating, protecting and promoting highly biodiverse lands.

Action 32 : Make use of green infrastructures and ecological services in the city

The parks, green spaces and various green infrastructures found throughout the city provide invaluable “ecological services” to the local population. Their optimal integration into the existing built environment and real estate development projects under way will make it possible to enhance these ecological services, including by reducing surface runoff levels in the sewer system or greening certain areas to eliminate unwelcome heat islands.

Montréal therefore undertakes to:
  • Adopt and implement a Stratégie de biodiversité et de verdissement (greening and biodiversity strategy) with partners.
  • Develop management methods specific to each habitat type (woods, shorelines, unimproved land, wetlands).
  • Preserve wetlands of particular interest.
  • Develop a new program to push for the creation of green streets that would cut across the city’s most densely populated areas.
  • Assess long-term investment needs for preserving and enhancing natural habitats.
Among other things, partners agree to:
  • Help implement the Stratégie de biodiversité et de verdissement (greening and biodiversity strategy).
  • Set up green infrastructures on private land (planting, creating green roofs, alleyways, walls and parking lots).

Action 33 : Publish information to raise awareness of biodiversity and encourage the public to protect it

Montréal is home to major parks and large institutions that are devoted, among other things, to the preservation of natural habitats and biodiversity. Its museums feature collections of living and introduced animal, inspect and plant species. A number of biodiversity initiatives are carried out across the city, and there is every reason to promote them and make the existing knowledge accessible.

Montréal therefore undertakes to:
  • Launch a common platform for information on biodiversity by 2012, in collaboration with the partners specializing in this field.
Among other things, partners agree to:

Action 34 : Reinforce the eco-friendly management of the city’s green spaces

Preserving biodiversity involves more than just land conservation; it depends also on the quality of maintenance and enhancement of green infrastructures and natural habitats. Most notably, monitoring and controlling pests through the ecological management of green spaces (in French) enables us to preserve the health of our natural heritage, improve the ecological services offered by the city’s green infrastructures and protect residents’ quality of life. Further to its adoption of the by-law governing pesticide use (in French), the Ville de Montréal plans to sustain its efforts by introducing a program for the ecological management of green spaces.

Montréal therefore undertakes to:
  • Identify the efforts in ecological green space management throughout the city, with a view to developing a program by 2015.
Among other things, partners agree to:
  • Participate in developing a program for eco-friendly green space management.