The Urban Planning department is continually working on informing residents on many key issues. The following documents were designed to assist you. Contact the Urban Planning Department for any questions.
For your home, your neighbourhood, your planet
Electrical lighting is part of city life. Excessive lighting, however, can lead to a number of negative effects.
More light is produced per capita in Quebec than anywhere in the world. Better use of light could save millions of dollars per year and reduce our carbon footprint.
Light bypass and health
Bright light that spills onto other property is a public nuisance and an energy waste. In addition, exposure to excessive light at night disturbs sleep patterns and natural cycles in people, in animals and in birds, affecting overall health.
Evenly-spaced light sources that provide a uniform, low level of illumination are proven to be more effective in deterring intruders and making public spaces safer.
Sky glow is not just a problem for astronomers; it also prevents city dwellers from enjoying a beautiful night sky and nocturnal landscapes. Light pollution has increased very rapidly in the last few decades.
Guidelines for renovating & building
In Westmount, light that washes across a building’s facade is prohibited. Consult the City’s Landscape design Guideline, section 188.8.131.52.
Lighting in streets and lanes
The City of Westmount is doing its part to reduce light pollution by using street lamps that allows only 2% of its light to shine above the horizon.
By reducing light pollution, we:
- Restore the dark so it may be enjoyed again from the city’s lookout and elsewhere
- Improve the aesthetic quality of our streets
- Sleep better at night and save energy
- Reduce disturbances to bird migration
- Help protect Westmount’s Summit Park, a bird sanctuary and part of the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District
Community Action Towards Sustainable Rainwater Management
The Hydrological Cycle
The hydrological cycle is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again. The construction of homes, extensions and roadways converts porous terrain into impervious surfaces, altering the natural hydrological cycle. The increased volume and flow rate of uncontrolled runoff can lead to groundwater pollution and property damage due to flooding and erosion.
Public Works and New Legislation
In Westmount, stormwater and wastewater are combined into a single system. Increased runoff can lead to sewer overflows and an overtaxing of wastewater treatment facilities. When rainwater flow surpasses the municipal system’s capacity, local buildings are flooded.
Citizens applying for construction permits for new buildings, major additions and landscaping will be required to submit a stormwater management strategy which demonstrates that post-construction runoff will not exceed pre-construction levels.
Green roofs absorb rainwater, provide insulation and help lower urban air temperatures. Before creating a green roof on an existing building, the structure must be evaluated by a qualified engineer to ensure that it can support the additional weight.
The most effective way to control stormwater runoff is to create and maintain permeable surfaces as close as possible to the source. Porous surfaces trap suspended solids and filter pollutants. Effective choices for driveways, walkways and patios include pervious concrete, porous asphalt, paving stones or concrete pavers.
Vegetated swales are sloped, low-lying areas designed to capture and treat storm water. The swales collect stormwater runoff and allow it to soak into the ground at a slower rate. Specialized native plants help treat the stormwater by absorbing pollutants and filtering suspended solids.
A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores rainwater from downspouts and rooftops for future use watering lawns and gardens. During summer months, nearly 40% of domestic water is used for garden maintenance. Rain is naturally soft and devoid of harmful chemicals. Call 514 989-5390 to learn about the City’s rain barrel rebate programme.
Assess needs and avoid overbuilding
- Do you really need such large floor areas in kitchens, bathrooms or entrance halls? Appreciate your green space: will an addition be a detriment to the enjoyment of your garden?
Check out useful information
Air quality, health
- Fully or partially vegetated roofs contribute to ambient air quality. They reduce heat and cooling costs, outside noise and increase a roof’s lifespan. While recommended by the City, green roofs are heavy and a structural engineer must be consulted to assess the capacity of the structure.
Increase plantings, reduce paving
- To help reduce urban heat, decrease the size of heat retaining paved areas.
- Replace asphalt and concrete parking aprons with permeable material that allows water to be absorbed into the ground.
- Add trees, shrubs and other plantings to help reduce heat, glare, sound and erosion.
- Consider vegetated retaining walls.
Reduction of light pollution
- Ensure outdoor lights are lowered in intensity, beamed downward and away from neighbours; avoid lighting of building facades.
- Consult the City’s pamphlet The Right Lighting for Westmount.
Minimize harmful emissions
- Choose paint products that minimize emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and meet Ecologo standards; also plywoods, counters, cabinets, etc. that do not contain glue or resin bases of urea-formaldehyde.
- Consider improving the R value of your roof and exterior walls. However, before adding insulation, seek technical guidance to prevent potential damages.
- The integration of solar panels to reduce energy use could be acceptable if installed on the roof of an accessory building or on the main building in a manner not visually distracting from the natural and heritage qualities of the property or the neighbouring ones.
Alternative heating systems
- When planning major renovations, explore heating alternatives by using non-fossil fuels such as electricity, geothermal, etc. Some government subsidies may apply. Specialists must be consulted.
Air leakage, windows and doors
- Reduce energy loss by adding weather stripping, caulking or by repairing storm windows.
- Consider the benefits of repairing original, character-defining windows and doors. Replacements are sometimes more costly and of lower quality than retrofits.
Heated driveways and walkways
- Avoid electrical heating of exterior paved areas as this is wasted energy
- Low-flow toilets will reduce water use. Recycled water for toilets may be provided through the installation of a grey-water recovery system from sinks and showers.
- Consider feeding downspouts into rain barrels integrated into landscaping as well as underground cisterns or other holding tanks. Recuperated rainwater may be used for gardens and toilets.
Reduce the amount of solid waste being sent to landfill
- Consider giving away or trading material in good condition that is stripped from your home, as well as any surplus material from a new project. Montreal Ecocentres are also available to Westmount residents for the recycling and reuse of construction material.
- Obtain Westmount’s information sheet on the recycling of Construction and Renovation Debris (CRD).
Never dig or authorize any excavation on your property, no matter how small, until you have obtained the location of underground installations through Info-Excavation. The Info-Excavation service is provided free of charge throughout Québec and covers all underground facilities (electric, telephone, natural gas, cable TV and others). 1 800 ON-EXCAVE (1 800 663-9228).
Allow 72 hours from the time you contact Info-Excavation with your locating request so that each utility can plan and schedule the personnel needed to provide you with the best possible service. Note that any pipeline crossover requires three business days’ advance notice and a written authorization from the company that operates the pipeline in question.