La Presse and The Gazette each reported this week that the city plans to begin the creation of a new park on the northern summit of the mountain in the borough of Outremont. The third, and smallest summit is currently owned by the Université de Montréal and the Notre Dame des Neiges cemetery who have agreed to give the 23 hectares to the city on a fifty year lease.
The 2009 budget had already allocated money for the construction of the new park which has been in discussion for over 20 years. Construction of a 10 kilometre ring-road accessible to pedestrians and cyclists should begin sometime next year with the adoption of a new bylaw.
The new park will make the summit accessible to the public and will also ensure that the mountain will not be further encroached upon by development, especially by the cemetery and U de M. However, the construction of a park will obviously, in some ways, spoil this last remaining untouched section of the mountain. This raises the point as to whether it is better to develop a fully forested and undeveloped part of the mountain as a public park to protect it from more intensive and damaging development in the future than to allow it to remain untouched, with the spectre of development hanging over it.