According to a study, Montreal has one of the lowest percentages of greenspace of any major North American city. One of the largest pieces of undeveloped greenspace is Montreal’s West End is Meadowbrook Golf Course. Meadowbrook has been repeatedly threatened with residential development by Groupe Pacific, for over 20 years. A local environmental non-profit group, Les Amis de Meadowbrook, has led efforts to prevent development.
One of the complications of the Meadowbrook issue is conflicting political jurisdictions. With an area of 57 hectares (141 acres) and partly bordered by rail yards of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, half of the golf course lies in the suburban municipality of Cote Saint-Luc and the other half in the Saint-Pierre section of Lachine (a borough of the City of Montreal); these halves are separated by another railway track. The Cote Saint-Luc half is zoned as recreational, whereas the Lachine half is zoned residential.
- It serves as a buffer between Lachine industrial parks to the west and West End residential areas to the east;
- With more natural areas than many other golf courses, it harbors a variety of plant and animal species, and has one of the last remaining streams on Montreal Island;
- Residential development would be constrained by the location of the rail lines and by railway noise;
- From an urban design perspective, traffic congestion would be chronic because there would be only one access point to the outside world for any residential development;
- It could economically benefit the area by fostering recreational and nature tourism;
- It has historical landscape architecture value, having been initiated as a park for Canadian Pacific workers.
As a regional park, Meadowbrook would enjoy public accessibility which it currently lacks as a golf course. What challenges do you forsee the several political groups having in order to creatively repurpose Meadowbrook as greenspace?
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