City of Montreal unveils plan to update one of Park Extension’s favourite parks
Jarry Park, one of the largest green spaces in Montreal’s northeast, brings to mind many different things to city dwellers. Relaxation, family, youth and an oasis in the city were but some of those brought up by citizens during a public consultation last Wednesday.
The City of Montreal unveiled its long-term development plan for Jarry Park during an online public consultation attended by politicians, city employees and citizens alike. The park is one of the busiest in the city, attracting more than 1.3 million people every year.
The park will see a major overhaul in the coming years, with the addition of many new trees, the moving of several key installations and the addition of a small stream through the central field.
More green space
In order to better equip the city to deal with the effects of climate change, planners want to increase vegetation in the park and reduce the number of heat islands, mainly concentrated around asphalt sports installations and the parking lot in the parcs’ northwest corner.
“The pandemic has underlined the importance of green space,” said borough Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli, who gave a commencement speech at the event. “Nature is an inclusive right,” she added.
More trees, bushes and grasses will be planted across the park, including around the large field at the center. The projected 800 additional trees will help cool down both the park and the surrounding area.
“We want to multiply vegetation and trees,” said Sylvia-Anne Duplantie of the Service de la mise en valeur du territoire, adding that the city also aimed to modulate space by landscaping small hills and creating varied terrain.
These initiatives would help attract pollinating insects, cut down the effects of wind and ensure healthy biodiversity in the park.
The plan also includes the resurrection of a naturally occurring stream that had long been buried. It would flow out from the pond on the south side and follow the contours of the central field, as to not obstruct its use.
The city would also work to remove invasive phragmites reeds which have proliferated around the pond, blocking the view and restricting access to the water’s edge.
Citizens will also see the addition of a small aquatic play area for kids close to the basketball courts, which will bring refreshing relief during the summer months.
There will be many changes to the various sports installations. Many are ageing, going unused or placed in inappropriate locations.
Notably, the cricket ground will be moved from the central plain to the soccer fields in the northwest, as it has been deemed dangerous to share the space with children and families taking part in unorganized activities.
Other sports installations are also ageing and will be renovated, including the paddling pool, the permanent skating rink and the skate park. Baseball diamonds in the middle of the field will also be removed as they are going unused.
The plan aims to address the disparity between park infrastructure which was installed at different times and for different reasons. The objective is to reorganize the space in a holistic fashion which would follow the mission of creating a space that is inclusive, diverse and mature.
Other changes include the moving of the dog park next to the upgraded parking lot on Jarry. The move aims to address complaints from residents living on Gary-Carter about excessive noise from the dog park.
Users will also see a clearer division of paths to favour shared use between cyclists and pedestrians, as well as better lighting for nighttime use. All park infrastructure will be made more accessible to accommodate all people regardless of their level of mobility.
The plan comes after a survey was issued to citizens in 2018 to get their view on what they wanted most. Findings included better accessibility for park installations, a more environmentally-friendly space and a better sharing of infrastructures like footpaths and grassy areas.
The city claims it based its planning around what would best accommodate all Montrealers. This is the ADS+ system, which “aims to take into account the different needs of the diverse population of Montreal, with a particular view at ensuring equitable access to all public spaces.”
The plan has not yet been finalized and will still be subject to changes. The city emphasized the consultative nature of the project and encouraged citizens to voice their opinions. Yet since the outset of the pandemic, the consultation process has been held exclusively online.
“A development plan doesn’t happen in a few months,” said Marie-Claude Séguin, a division chief at the City of Montreal, adding that the process allows them to “adjust the needs.” Virtual public consultations will continue from May 28 to Jun. 13 and a final plan will be presented to Montrealers in the fall with an implementation schedule ranging between 5 to 15 years.