Mount Royal, Montreal’s green lung, will undergo a $60 million facelift over the next five years, in particular to better preserve its natural sectors and redevelop certain trails.
Posted at 12:00 a.m.
On September 7, the executive committee of the City of Montreal adopted a loan by-law to finance several construction sites, which will also affect Jeanne-Mance park, located at the foot of Mount Royal.
“There is a lot of restoration work to be done,” explains Caroline Bourgeois, head of large parks on the executive committee. “For example, there are informal trails that have been created and that need to be naturalized to protect the mountain, in addition to adding signage so that people stay on the official trails. »
According to the documents unveiled during the meeting of the executive committee, there are plans, on Mount Royal, for the redevelopment of the Smith House sector and the parking areas, the development of the south flank and the Cedar Street entrances, the development of the belvedere Camillien-Houde, development of the escarpment path, development of the Place de l’Amérique-Latine, restoration and modification of the lighting system and structure of the cross, restoration and reconstruction of stairs, bridges, paths and various infrastructures, the installation of furniture and signage, and preliminary archaeological excavation work.
At Parc Jeanne-Mance, the work concerns the redevelopment of the wading pool sector and the monumental axis, soccer fields and trails.
All the details of these projects are not yet known, but will be revealed gradually, indicates Caroline Bourgeois.
The fate of Camillien-Houde still unknown
The redevelopment of the Camillien-Houde route, which allows access to the summit from the eastern flank, will be part of the discussions. “You have to have an overview of traffic, and we’ll see how Camillien-Houde can be well integrated into the mountain,” says Caroline Bourgeois.
In May 2019, a report by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) recommended transforming the Camillien-Houde and Remembrance access roads (on the western flank) into a “pleasure path”.
Achieving this requires reducing speed, narrowing the traffic lane, adding greenery and trees, and providing green and tree-lined medians, the report said, to ensure the safety of all types of mountain visitors.
Some of the OCPM’s 16 recommendations specifically affected the Camillien-Houde lookout, which offers a view of eastern Montreal. It was recommended to modify the access so that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can enter and exit in a safe manner, in addition to converting part of the parking spaces into green spaces.
The Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, then declared that her administration would respect these recommendations to end the “Camillien-Houde highway”.
Work has been done on Remembrance Road, but cyclists complain about the lack of space reserved for bicycle traffic.
Lack of toilets
The organization Les amis de la montagne is delighted to see such a sum released by the City for Mount Royal, because the needs are enormous, underlines Maryline Charbonneau, spokesperson for the group.
“With the pandemic, we have seen a big increase in attendance. It is the most popular place with tourists after the Old Port, note Mme Charbonneau. The priority must therefore be the restoration of natural environments. »
But she also deplores the lack of buildings or adequate infrastructure to receive the flow of visitors, such as toilets, garbage cans and recycling bins in sufficient numbers.
Beyond the redevelopment of the Smith House sector and its parking lot, Maryline Charbonneau points out that the house itself, a historic building, needs to be restored.
“The toilets are closed to the public because they are obsolete,” she recalls. It has an impact on our ability to meet the needs of visitors. »
More than 200,000 visitors passed through the Smith House in July and August, she reveals. But its renovation would have been postponed until after 2028.