Montréal, Canada

Artwork by NIPPAYSAGE et Société du parc Jean-Drapeau

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

The planning includes a funding target for the Plan of nearly $970 million. $490 million, 50% of the total, is financed by the City of Montréal through an annual budget of $49 million in its 10-year capital investment plan. This sum is dedicated to the projects proposed in the Plan, this budget is divided between new development projects and the maintenance and renovation of existing park facilities. The City’s contribution includes amounts it allocates to the SPJD as part of the three-year investment plan, which represents almost half the annual budget allocated to restore existing buildings and infrastructure. The remaining $480 million will be covered through public and private partnerships.

Given the radical transformation of its mission and the massive infrastructure investments planned, the SPJD has developed a sequencing and financing plan to minimize the time required to implement the Plan and match the investments required with the sequencing of the realization of the various projects.

The Plan’s feasibility requires a transitional period to allow the SPJD to initiate its organizational transformation and acquire the skills necessary to begin the first projects. Spreading expenditures over time also helps ensure the availability of required human and financial resources.

Project planning was carried out using the cascade principle to take into account the many dependencies that exist between completion of certain projects and the start of others. This approach also assumes that refinement of the planning for each project will provide regular opportunities to update the overall sequencing of the Plan.

In what ways is the initiative innovative?

With this Master Plan, Parc Jean-Drapeau is making a clear socio-ecological shift. While greatly enhancing the diversity, quality, and quantity of its open spaces for visitors, the Plan sets bold targets: to increase the tree canopy by 30% and wetland areas by 40% and to decrease high-maintenance horticultural zones by 50%. The creation of an ecological corridor between two biodiversity hotspots where fauna and flora are particularly abundant – the Mont Boullé hackberry stand on Saint Helen’s Island and the riparian zones of Notre-Dame Island – illustrates a commitment to restore the ecological connectivity within the park. The Master Plan aims to improve ecological complexity by integrating the concepts of landscape performance and ecosystem services into the design and management plan, which will also incorporate traditional indigenous knowledge. The majority of lawn areas (which primarily align the roadways) will evolve into more diversified natural landscapes as the three-stratum forest expands. Sustainable management practices being introduced allow for the expansion of unmanicured herbaceous lands. Among the new types of plant habitats in the park, shrublands will provide new littoral environments near the river, which will differentiate the renewed contact with the water from inland landscape experiences. The uniqueness of these spaces will be reinforced by the development of new wetlands and the use of phytotechnology’s. In addition to the development and management of its lands, the park aims to achieve 85% of materials recycled, carbon-neutrality of activities and 100% eco-responsible programming while introducing urban agriculture on the roofs of several buildings.

How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?

The Master Plan was produced by a multidisciplinary team of experts in strategic planning, design, sustainable development, and mobility and accompanied by an additional team of approximately twenty professionals comprised of architects, landscape architects, designers, biologists, and lighting designers. Since the plan’s adoption last April, the SPJD has developed partnerships with multiple stakeholders include a citizen-engagement eco-lab (the Ecological Transition Campus) and several multi-disciplinary advisory committees. The SPJD also in dialogue with community groups, local native plant specialists, key city departments (Public Works, Large Parks, Heritage, Ecological Transition, and Climate Resilience) and it has established research partnerships with university research chairs. An Indigenous advisory committee informs and guides the decision-making process, and an indigenous forest expert has joined the design teams to incorporate traditional knowledge into the planning, design and management phases of restoration projects. Exchanges with professionals across North America are ongoing in order to ensure excellence in park practices and operations. External round tables and ad hoc committees have also been established to ensure that the City’s plans, policies, and strategies are rigorously applied. All the expertise required to implement action plans and achieve targets has been integrated into our processes. The Master Plan process began with a large public consultation process, and it continues to build on this inclusive, collaborative, partnership-based approach.

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

The development of the new Master Plan was a unique opportunity to undertake an ambitious, yet realistic, strategic approach in line with current trends in a changing society, especially in the face of climate change.

In April 2018, the extensive public consultation, conducted by the Office de consultation public de Montréal (OCPM), conducted a major citizen engagement exercise, and produced recommendations that highlight the population’s collective priorities for Parc Jean-Drapeau. In all, 192 opinions were presented, and 6,072 citizens participated in various OCPM activities on the future of Parc Jean-Drapeau. This was the second-largest consultation conducted by the OCPM to date.

The resulting 20 recommendations clearly demonstrate citizen investment to the park and a desire to make it an exceptional site through innovative practices in sustainable development and enhanced individual and collective experiences. 

The involvement of several groups, including the park’s island partners (La Ronde, the Casino de Montréal, the Biosphere, the Stewart Museum), municipal departments and the Ville-Marie borough, as well as groups of experts and academics, also attests to the great mobilization of stakeholders, who were keen to make known their ambitions for Parc Jean Drapeau.

The SPJD has also initiated dialogue with the public, notably through the creation of an Indigenous Advisory Committee and a round table, as well as two citizen groups that participate in the deployment and implementation of the Master Plan projects.