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In a news release on August 21, the Prime Minister’s Office announced up to $50 million in federal grants to aid Montreal in protecting several irreplaceable wetlands and upgrading stormwater outfalls in order to better protect neighbouring communities against spring floods.
This will include upgrading pumping stations and valves, with the hopes of preventing spring flooding from the Rivière des Prairies in the areas of Chemin de la Rive-Boisée, Boulevard Jacques-Bizard, Boulevard Pierrefonds, and Boulevard Gouin.
The Rivière des Prairies and the other rivers of Greater Montréal make up an intricate series of waterways spanning several municipalities around Montreal. This series of rivers make the metropolitan area more vulnerable to flooding.
“Canadians are seeing firsthand the consequences of the climate crisis. Year after year, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, threatening our health, safety, and local economies,” the news release reads. “Having gone through two major floods since the spring of 2017, the people of Greater Montréal have been directly affected by the climate crisis, including the high costs of recovery in the wake of these events.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante announced last Wednesday new federal funding for a large-scale natural infrastructure project in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, which would include a large park meant to preserve the landscape in Montreal.
Accompanying the two was the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, François-Philippe Champagne.
“Communities across the country know that the impacts of extreme weather events don’t disappear from one day to the next, said Prime Minister Trudeau. “In Montréal, people have seen firsthand the damage and uncertainty caused by the 2017 and 2019 floods. That’s why our government is stepping up. By investing in the infrastructure our cities need, we are helping Canadians adapt to the effects of the climate crisis, while building stronger, more resilient communities.”
“The Ville de Montréal is taking up its responsibilities in the fight against climate change and in the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Plante. “We are implementing sustainable solutions and welcome the government’s willingness to adapt its programs to the needs of municipalities in the context of climate change.”
According to the news release, the project will, in addition to protecting wetlands, aim to strengthen them and support their ecosystems. In the process, officials have promised that they will build the “largest urban park in Canadian history,” as well as being “one of the biggest municipal parks in the world.”
“The Ville de Montréal plans for the “Grand parc de l’Ouest” to cover 3,000 hectares, of which 1,600 hectares will be new protected areas,” explains the Prime Minister’s Office. “This vast park will connect Île-Bizard to the Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, through the Parc-nature de L’Anse-à-l’Orme, the Parc-agricole du Bois-de-la-Roche, and the Morgan Arboretum.
“It will be eight times the size of Central Park in New York City and fifteen times the size of Mount Royal Park. The project includes organic vegetable farms, walking and cycling trails, and a river shuttle linking Île-Bizard to Pierrefonds-Ouest.”
The $50 million in federal investments will be coming from the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, launched in 2017. The 10-year program was first conceived for the purposes of addressing climate concerns and potential extreme weather events, such as floods, wildfires earthquakes and droughts. Its overall purpose is to “keep Canadians safe, protect local businesses, and support strong local economies.”
“This investment is a great example of how planning can help reduce the costs of extreme weather phenomena and help communities get back on their feet sooner,” said Hon. François-Philippe Champagne. “Rebuilding takes time, and over the long term, the process of repairing damaged infrastructure can have a social and economic impact on our communities. We have to act now in order to create a sustainable future for our communities.”
According to the news release, the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund is part of a major government infrastructure plan. In total, the federal government plans on providing over $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.
Of this $180 billion investment, at least $26.9 will be set aside for supporting green infrastructure projects that are intended to help communities “cope with the intensifying effects of climate change and support Canada’s transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy.”
Under key investments, the Government of Canada’s Long-term Infrastructure Plan specifies the following:
The Plan devotes $26.9 billion to the green infrastructure investment stream, approximately 50% of which is targeted to GHG emission reduction projects. Through programs to increase Canada’s capacity to generate, transmit and manage renewable energy, increase access to clean transportation and increase the energy efficiency of buildings, the Plan will contribute to reducing GHG emissions and supporting the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.The Government of Canada
The breakdown of the $26.9 billion investment can be seen in the chart below.
Green Infrastructure Investments Chart
Initiative Funding Budget 2016 investments in green infrastructure $5 billion Green infrastructure stream of Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program $9.2 billion National programs and initiatives $5.2 billion* Arctic Energy Fund (delivered under the rural and northern stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) $400 million Allocated for Indigenous communities $2 billion Allocated to Canada Infrastructure Bank $5 billion Allocated to Smart Cities Challenge $100 million Total new funding $26.9 billion