A Montreal pond is rapidly drying and advocates are raising the alarm. Technoparc Oiseaux, a group representing the wetlands in the Saint-Laurent borough's Technoparc Montréal industrial park, said in a press release Monday that as much as 90% of the Heron Marsh could soon be dried up.
Technoparc Oiseaux said the REM has been tunnelling under the area to construct the branch of the light-rail network that will extend to Montreal-Trudeau Airport just to the south.
What's happening at the Montreal pond?
The organization specifically hypothesizes that what's happening is a process called "subsidence," which the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines as a "sinking of the ground because of underground material movement."
Technoparc Oiseaux also said a hole has been discovered in the marsh.
In its statement, the organization did not state definitively that the tunnel boring was the cause of the pond emptying, but said it has contacted the REM and the environment ministry about what it calls an emergency.
"A dried marsh will have catastrophic consequences for next year's fish population (spawning is likely to have already been seriously affected) and on the birds and other wildlife that feed on them," it said.
What is the REM's response?
The REM, for its part, said in a statement shared with MTL Blog that it's aware of the situation and wants to "reassure [...] citizen groups that the preservation of the wetlands in the Technoparc sector is of the highest importance" to the company.
It said it's investigating but that "all protocols have been put in place in collaboration with relevant authorities and respecting the highest standards" to protect the wetlands during the tunnel-boring project.
Technoparc Oiseaux is calling on officials to step in to help preserve the area.
"What will it take to get municipal, provincial, and federal authorities to value this last unprotected natural space on the island of Montreal, 215 ha of unprotected and non-fragmented wetland and greenspace north of Pierre-Elliot Trudeau Airport?" it asked.
"Where is the good stewardship of our vital natural spaces?"
There's a proposal to build a massive new beach in Montreal along the Saint Lawrence River in the Ville-Marie neighbourhood of Sainte-Marie.
The beach would sit just north of the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Montrealers would be able to access it from the Parc du Pied-du-Courant via a universally accessible, 60-metre elevated walkway over the CP and Port of Montreal tracks that, right now, form a barrier between the water and neighbourhood.
In a statement shared with MTL Blog, group president Victor Balsis explained the latest beach idea takes into account feedback from both the port and City of Montreal. He also said that Les AmiEs has attempted to open dialogue with candidates in the federal and municipal elections.
"As the federal and municipal elections are upon us, these issues are more pertinent than ever," Balsis said.
"Although most of these proposals concern federally owned assets, these issues require close coordination with our municipal government which is normally responsible for urban issues on a local level."
"We have reached out to a few parties/candidates but have not heard back on these specific proposals."
Announcement voices are, of course, central to a transit system's brand identity and relationship to its customers.
In Montreal, the iconic voice of Michèle Deslauriers has defined the STM metro in the 21st century and become a characteristic of life in the city. Ask any metro rider and they'll be able to recite her messages and replicate her tone.
So well-known is Deslauriers' voice that the STM even featured her in a 2018 campaign to reduce customer-related service delays.
The REM will consist of three light-rail lines connecting the North and South Shores, downtown Montreal, West Island and Montreal-Trudeau airport.
The first segment, from Brossard to the Gare Centrale, is scheduled to begin service in 2022.