Launch of Greening Project in the Verdun Borough: "Verdun fait sa fraîche"

VERDUN, QC, May 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Nature-Action Québec's executive director Pascal Bigras, Verdun Borough Mayor Claude Trudel and Verdun MNA Henri-François Gautrin are proud to announce the launch of "Verdun fait sa fraîche", a greening project in the Verdun Borough designed to reduce the urban heat island effect. This three-year project aims at increasing the vegetation cover in the Borough's Wellington-De l'Église neighbourhood.

This initiative is one of the 14 projects - funded by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, within the 2006-2012 action plan on climate change - to counteract urban heat islands. Today's announcement has made it possible for Verdun MNA Henri-François Gautrin to confirm - on behalf of Dr. Yves Bolduc, Minister of health and social services - a government grant of $500,000 to carry out the project. "A heat island is characterized by higher summer temperatures in the urban environment than in the surrounding area. We know that this variation, which can be as much as 10 degrees Celsius higher, is liable to result in various public health problems and it is important to take action with the community in order to limit the impact of such heat islands," pointed out Mr. Gautrin.

As for the Verdun Borough, it will be contributing $790,000 toward carrying out this project. This amount has already been budgeted in the three-year capital expenditure program for 2010-2012. "The project that we submitted in partnership with Nature-Action Québec aims at making the vegetation in the Wellington-De l'Église neighbourhood significantly denser and we are very proud to mention the Québec government's financial support for carrying it out," stressed Borough Mayor Claude Trudel. The Mayor also made a point of thanking SOVERDI for its contribution to the Green Lanes project.

Nature-Action Québec, which has developed unique expertise in a number of fields relating to natural environments and public health, wishes to emphasize that a number of components of such projects will be set up in cooperation with residents:

    
    - A green area will be developed at the corner of rue de Verdun and de
    l'Église. It will consist of a vegetation barrier (a green wall), plants
    and mist-makers.
    - The planting of 900 trees over a period of 3 years: The planting will
    be carried out on private properties and public streets.
    - Community development of four green lanes and ruelle Rushbrooke:
    A planning committee will be formed to plan and carry out the greening of
    the lanes, along with residents.
    

This pilot project is meant to serve as a model for the other municipalities in Québec that want to counteract the effects of climate change and improve their residents' quality of life," mentioned Pascal Bigras of Nature-Action Québec.

In concrete terms, projects such as this one will help mitigate the repercussions of climate change on residents' health, by improving air quality and reducing episodes of smog in densely populated centres, much to the benefit of the most vulnerable residents, such as young children, seniors and people suffering from a chronic disease.

Awareness activities will be organized for residents, who will also be able to keep up to date on the development of the project through the Borough's announcements.

    
            Action Plan on Climate Change (APCC) - Verdun Borough

                              INFORMATION SHEET
    

Project name: Verdun fait sa fraîche !

Location: Wellington-De l'Église neighbourhood

Project premises:

    
    -   Funded by MSSS through the Institut national de santé publique du
        Québec (INSPQ) and the Verdun Borough
    -   Project developed within the Action Plan on Climate Change (APCC) -
        Efforts to counteract urban heat islands
    -   Partnership of Nature-Action Québec (NAQ) with the Verdun Borough and
        the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS)
    -   Targeted neighbourhood: identified on the INSPQ's map of urban heat
        islands
    

Objective:

    
    -   To reduce the urban heat island effect by increasing the vegetation
        cover
    

Description of planned activities:

1- Development of a green area (planning 2010, construction 2011 - Verdun Borough and NAQ)

In the heart of Verdun, at the corner of rue de Verdun and de l'Église, the Borough's Administration has purchased over 450 m2 of land that it intends to convert into a green area for the benefit of residents in the neighbourhood and particularly the tenants of dwellings located nearby. Although the final concept has yet to be determined, the plans are to install permeable paving stone and mist-makers, a retention pond to water the plants that will be placed there and to set up a vegetation barrier along the wall, facing rue de Verdun.

The purpose of such development will be to simultaneously provide a cool island and to increase residents' awareness of the various existing techniques to reduce the impact of urban heat islands and ensure better management of rain water. Interpretation panels will be installed to explain the various solutions proposed.

2- Planting on public roadways - 2010-2012 (Verdun Borough)

The Verdun Borough already has an inventory of possible sites for planting trees on its streets, where the right-of-way allows it to act on its own initiative. This inventory identifies over 1600 planting opportunities throughout the Borough (excluding L'Île-des-Sœurs), each time recommending the most appropriate type of tree: 443 of its sites are located in the Wellington-De l'Église neighbourhood. The Borough intends to plant approximately 150 trees per year over a 3-year period.

3- Planting on private properties, 2010-2012 (NAQ)

At the same time as the planting activities on the public roadways, NAQ will be planting an equivalent number of trees on private properties in the targeted sector. Owners who agree to such planting will be met with on an individual basis in order to increase their awareness of the problem of urban heat islands and the care to be given to their trees so that they continue to play their protective role for a long time to come. Just as for the planting carried out by the City on public roadways, NAQ intends to plant approximately 150 good quality trees every year, over a 3-year period, for a total of 450 trees.

4- Community development of green lanes - 2010-2011 (Verdun Borough)

The Verdun Borough has already carried out a few community development projects to set up green lanes. The approach is an original one and begins by setting up a planning committee made up of residents, elected representatives, municipal officers, members of the beautification committee and professionals. Following discussions, an action plan is drawn up and implemented by the residents, with the technical and financial support of the Borough. This approach gives rise to a strong feeling of belonging among residents, who then have the responsibility of maintaining the plants that they have placed there. In addition to being able to increase residents' awareness of the impacts of urban heat islands, the Borough gives them a chance to improve their environment. Greenery will be restored, in this way, along four lanes in the Wellington-De l'Église neighbourhood, at a rate of two per year.

5- Landscaping of ruelle Rushbrooke (Verdun Borough, 2011)

Ruelle Rushbrooke will also benefit from the "green lane" treatment; moreover, since it has a dirt surface, rainwater management measures can be integrated there, which would be too costly to carry out in the other lane projects; however, the Borough must first purchase the orphan lots of this "no man's land" before getting the usual green lane process under way.

6- Awareness, communication and follow-up activities (2010-2012)

A number of activities have been planned in order to maximize the visibility of the actions and to familiarize residents with the problem of urban heat islands. In addition, follow-up on the impact of the actions is planned in order to determine the effectiveness of the measures taken.

7- Summary of project activities (2010-2012)

    
    -------------------------------------
    Green area
    -------------------------------------
    Planting on public roadways
    -------------------------------------
    Green lanes
    -------------------------------------
    Ruelle Rushbrooke
    -------------------------------------
    Planting on private properties
    -------------------------------------
    Awareness, communication, follow-up
    -------------------------------------
    

8- Summary of project costs (2010-2012)

    
    -------------------------------------
    Financial partners              Cost
    -------------------------------------
    MSSS - APCC program         $500,000
    -------------------------------------
    Verdun Borough              $790,000
    -------------------------------------
    Total                     $1,290,000
    -------------------------------------
    

SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Arrondissement de Verdun

For further information: For further information: Carole Labrecque, Chargée de projets, Nature-Action Québec, (450) 536-0422, ext. 236, carole.labrecque@nature-action.qc.ca; Francine Morin, Responsable du Protocole et des relations publiques, Verdun Borough, (514) 765-7282, francine.morin@ville.montreal.qc.ca; Marc-Olivier Simard, Attaché politique du député de Verdun, (514) 766-7503, mosimard@assnat.qc.ca


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