Major Projects

In this section you will find the major urban projects that have an impact on our City: the most recent studies, reports, and information on the development, stages and the implications of the projects undertaken by the municipality or by external groups.

The needs study commissioned by the City of Westmount to determine if the current offer of indoor water activities meets the current and future needs of residents is now available for consultation on the City’s website.

The study, prepared by Groupe BC2, a firm specializing in urban design, landscape architecture, environment and strategy, was presented to the General Committee of Council on June 17, 2019.

In the document, you will find results of the study’s four phases.

It demonstrates that the YMCA’s indoor pool is currently the only one available to serve Westmount residents. However, it has a lower attendance compared to pools in other municipalities, particularly adults. This low attendance can be attributed to the fact that the pool does not meet all the needs of the City’s residents and current standards.

The high rate of participation of residents in aquatic activities during the summer and the comments collected from representatives of Westmount’s aquatic sports clubs, when compared to the current offer, indicate a strong interest in the construction of a new aquatic complex in line with current standards.

Council members wish to proceed with a feasibility study, the next phase of this project.

The City of Westmount is proceeding with a project that will join Summit Woods to the parkland to the north by the simple expedient of removing the roadway that divides them.

For more information, please read Mayor Peter F. Trent’s letter that was delivered to residents in March 2016.

  • 4,000 square meters of asphalt will be removed.
  • 2,300 square meters of green space will be created (once permeable path is installed).
  • The cement areas will be a total of 74 square meters and will have the decorative bronze Oak leaf inlays.
    – Oakland: 42 square meters of cement.
    Summit Circle: 32 square meters of cement.
  • Approximately 75 new trees in varying stages of maturity will be planted; they will all be indigenous species.
    – Varieties include: Acer saccharum, Betula papyfera, Carya cordiformis, Ostrya virginiana, Quercus rubra and Tilia Americana
  • The entrances to the two pathways (one going towards Ridgewood) will be landscaped but the pathways themselves will only be surveyed and not reconstructed this summer.
  • The permeable pathway will be serpentine and will hug the rock face to showcase the natural beauty of the stone.
  • We will be removing invasive species located in this area as part of the project as well.

– Dogs will be required to be on leash on this new path at all times.
– There is a major water main under the path – bollards will be installed on the north side to ensure safety for any vehicles needing emergency access for repairs.

The City of Westmount invited residents to express their comments, suggestions and feedback regarding the Westmount Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan. The assessment of the current situation during the period of October 2012, key issues and potential traffic management measures concerning walking, cycling, driving and using public transportation in Westmount. This information was presented at the public consultation workshop on October 22, 2012.

Westmount Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan – Report: February 2013

This document is intended to give an overall vision, direction and orientations for transportation in Westmount. The vision, goals, objectives and measures contained in this document will guide future projects undertaken by the City of Westmount over the coming years through a number of tools: budgets, three-year capital works programs, by-laws, planning tools, sectoral studies, transportation studies and capital projects. Other actions undertaken by the City should also be consistent with the direction outlined in this document.

Click on links to view or download files.

Consultation Workshop Monday, October 22, 2012

Representatives of the engineering and consulting firm Genivar will present their recommendations and lead a discussion on the direction and priorities of the proposed Westmount Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan on:

MONDAY, OCTOBER 22ND, 2012 AT 7 P.M. Victoria Hall, 4626 Sherbrooke Street West

Background information concerning current conditions and traffic flow patterns for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and users of public transportation in Westmount can be found in the document below, along with potential measures to be taken to improve the traffic flow and safety in the City. This information will be on display at Victoria Hall at the workshop on October 22nd.

2012 Survey Results

Survey concerning priorities for traffic planning
The following downloadable file contains a numeric compilation of responses from Westmount residents following a City-wide survey carried out in April 2012.

The survey asked residents to choose six objectives from a list of of 13 highlighted by City Council as priorities and to rank them by order of importance for traffic planning in Westmount (the full list of 13 priorities is below under the section 2011-2012 Report).

Table 1
This table représents a numeric summary of the priorities ranked by survey respondents as most important. Therefore, in the cell under column “Objective 1″ and row « Value 6, » the number 289 represents the number of survey respondents that selected Objective 1 as their highest priority (Reduce through traffic, especially on local streets).

Table 2
To give an appropriate numeric weight to each response in the compilation, six points were awarded each time a given priority was ranked first, five points if the priority was ranked second, and so on. Thus, the cell of thecolumn called “Objective 1″ column and the row labeled “Total points” indicates 2536 points, reflecting not only a greater number of respondents having chosen Objective 1 as their highest priority, but also that a large number of respondents selected it among the 6 highest.

Bar chart
The bar chart is a visual representation of the figures in Table 1.

Comments by survey respondents
The following document is a compilation of all comments adn qualifications received from residents during this survey.

2011-2012 report

One of the goals of this City Council is to adopt a Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan. The need for such a plan becomes more obvious every day: the speed, volume, noise of vehicular traffic in our City can at times reach nearly intolerable levels, and on-street parking demands cannot be met. The upcoming Turcot and MUHC projects will indubitably exacerbate these problems. And reducing our dependency on the car by encouraging public transit, walking, and cycling will not only ease traffic, but will also promote health and cleaner air. This Master Plan will serve as a literal roadmap for future transportation projects and in improving our existing network.

The first stage in developing this plan is a diagnosis of our current transportation patterns, including walking, cycling, mass transit, car sharing, and parking.

The Traffic Master Plan and study identified 13 objectives that the City could prioritize. Highlighted below are the priorities set by Council.

In bold type, you will find below the priority objectives considered by City Council.

  • 1. Reduce through traffic, especially on local streets
  • 2. Reduce and manage vehicular speeds
  • 3. Ensure the provision of a safe transportation system
  • 4. Enhance walking conditions
  • 5. Enhance cycling conditions
  • 6. Ensure public transit is an alternative choice
  • 7. Better manage parking
  • 8. Minimize congestion and travel delays for all users
  • 9. Minimize the effects of external projects
  • 10. Provide alternatives to vehicle ownership
  • 11. Ensure proper management of truck routes and deliveries
  • 12. Optimize traffic on collector and arterial streets
  • 13. Reduce noise and pollution generated by the transportation system.

A summary of the Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan and a survey were mailed to all households in March 2012. Residents were asked to submit the priorities that were important to them by April 20, 2012 and the results will be presented later this year.

Traffic Master Plan

Traffic and Active Transportation Master Plan for the City of Westmount

The City of Westmount and Selwyn House School have a lease agreement for the use of the ice rinks and certain spaces located in the Westmount Recreation Centre during the academic year. Please click here for more information.

Surrounding Area Projects

In a column on June 7 Martin Patriquin tried to depict Westmounters as having “a sense of entitlement” and as isolationists trying to stop the rebuilding of the Ville-Marie Expressway, this may be appealing in this current media climate but it is far removed from the truth.

First of all, let me clearly state that the City of Westmount is fully supportive of the Turcot project and the building of the new Highway 136. Even as we face another summer of detours and inconveniences, we all know that we have put off this necessary investment in infrastructure for far too long. Ensuring easy access to the new MUHC and to downtown is critical and in the best interest of all of us.

But a project of this magnitude needs careful planning before construction starts in order to ensure environmental and other issues are effectively addressed.

Noise is now recognized by world authorities from the World Health Organization to the United Nations as a serious form of pollution that can have adverse effects on human health and quality of life. Sound levels on completion of the highway are projected to far exceed Quebec’s environmental standards. Holding the government accountable to its own health standards is not NIMBYism – it is being a responsible government. It is important to emphasize that the Ministry of Transport (MTQ) is already building sound walls all over the province and on multiple stretches of the Turcot Interchange including in Montreal West, La Verendrye and Côte St. Paul, because it rightfully recognizes the threat posed by sound pollution for Quebec residents.

Our position is that the issue needs to be addressed, and that it is best to do so before starting a project to avoid incurring additional costs down the road.

The government decree which authorized the construction of the Turcot Interchange actually required the new highway to be built at a lower level over the entire stretch bordering the City of Westmount. The lowering of the highway was even expressly considered a fundamental objective of the project, in order that noise pollution and other vehicular emissions could be reduced from their projected high levels.

Yet, without notice and without consultation with the City of Westmount or the local residents, those plans were changed. MTQ unilaterally made the decision to keep the highway at the current level for half of its length on Westmount’s southern border. We then tried to engage in a dialogue with government representatives and asked the Minister of Transport to intervene. Unsuccessful in our efforts to establish a dialogue, we were left with no other alternative than to go to court.

The MTQ did not even bother to seek an amendment to the 2010 government decree in order to approve these changes, despite the fact that it had sought amendments for other changes, far less important or consequential than this one.

Our goal is not to stop Highway 136 from being built. Quite the contrary, we can’t wait for it to be completed. Yet we are also convinced that a sound barrier will eventually have to be built. It only makes sense to incorporate it into the design stage rather than having to go back after the fact at great expense.

The author’s outdated and inaccurate stereotypes of Westmount residents certainly will never deter me from fighting for the rights of my residents. As for the inaccurate information he provided on Côte St. Luc being opposed to the extension of Cavendish, a 30 second Google search would have informed him that this has been something the current and previous Mayors of Côte St. Luc have worked tirelessly to achieve. The facts on these important issues matter and needed to be clarified.

Christina M. Smith
Mayor of Westmount

The expert services of Le Groupe Solroc were retained by the City of Westmount to perform granulometric analysis of rock dust in the dog area (report in French only).

The Former Montreal Children’s Hospital Project: Underplanning and Overbuilding

The developer of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital site goes to some pains to assert that its proposal meets the goals of the urban planning programme of Montreal’s Quartier des grands jardins. We are told that this redevelopment will “preserve built heritage, increase public green space, and consolidate the residential character of the district.”

As an immediate neighbour, and with 8% of the site lying within its borders, the City of Westmount has been asked to comment. In our view, this project turns its back on heritage, adds no real green space, and does nothing to attract young families. And above all, the buildings proposed are egregiously too tall.

As a passing nod to the area’s built heritage, the project will conserve the colonnaded nurses’ building built in 1919. Yet the adjacent 1931 Art Deco building will be demolished. This project, in effect, amounts to the wholesale importation of the Griffintown formula. A smattering of heritage buildings are grudgingly preserved, stuffed in beside massive modern behemoths whose very height causes them to thumb their noses at any remaining older low-rise buildings.

In common with the forest of residential towers currently springing up along René-Lévesque and points south – including on the land across from the Canadian Centre for Architecture – they all have the same high densities in an exclusively upward rather than outward physical expression. Whether the Montreal market is tired of this high-rise formula, only the future will reveal. Certainly, it does no service to the past.

Fully 70% of the floor space in this proposed project will be residential. While the increased residential property tax revenues are easy to calculate, the resulting increased demand on municipal and provincial services is not. Assuming that the people who will populate these high-rises will not just be students, singles, and empty-nesters, where is a primary school needed to attract young families to the district?

The recent downtown condo-craze is already the cause of a dramatic increase in student numbers at Westmount’s St-Léon primary school with no solution in sight for its overcrowded classrooms. Children and families need places to play and relax outside. And while there may be some scraps of leftover green spaces in the district, there are no public parks worthy of that name, and certainly nothing resembling the playing fields and natural areas found in a proper municipal park.

In trying to convince us that the needs of families will be met, the developer touts that in addition to convenience stores, a hotel, offices, and social housing, there will be 60,000 square feet of facilities such as an auditorium, multipurpose rooms, and a community hall. But this lengthy list only serves to confirm that this project, in common with so many that have come before it in Griffintown and downtown, will provide little or nothing in key services and neighbourhood facilities that families need: namely, schools and parks.

To be fair, developers of this area have to deal with leftovers and orphans. Ville-Marie has been forsaken by its government-owned institutions. For example, in the 1990s, the federal government got rid of the Army headquarters building and its six acres of grounds that fronted on Atwater Avenue just above Sherbrooke. Instead of bequeathing this land to Montreal as a park, the government sold it for a song to a developer. In the same cavalier fashion, the provincial government now washes its hands of the fate of this site.

Mind you, no level of government can claim the high ground when it comes to land-use planning. Fifty years ago, the City of Westmount generously up-zoned to permit such massive high-rise developments as the Alexis-Nihon complex and Westmount Square. And, it must be said, in our enthusiasm for such overbuilding, we condemned a hundred heritage houses to the wrecking ball.

Westmount, of course, was not alone in being caught up in the postwar expansionist zeitgeist. We were not alone to be egged on by the urban planners who were giddily predicting in 1967 that there would be 7 million people living in Greater Montreal by the year 2000 and who lectured us about the need to build places to house the apprehended hordes. But can we not learn from such ephemeral intellectual fads and home-grown panic? This is why we look askance at the sheer size and scale of what is being proposed right next door to us at this site. We have seen this film before in our own home cinema.

And before we are accused of wanting the repopulation of the Island of Montreal to take place outside Westmount’s borders, I must point out that the City of Westmount is the most densely populated City in Quebec. Westmounters know that density does not mean that you have to renounce local schools or proper urban parks. And we also know that you don’t have to resort to freakishly tall buildings to get a reasonable population density.

In fact, the highest building in the current hospital complex reaches 13 floors, with the other buildings ranging from three to eleven. If you thought these hospital buildings were tall, they are Lilliputian compared with what is being proposed. The new project is overladen with a surfeit of structures that reach for the sky. One building – right next to Westmount – will rise 32 floors, or 400 feet – two and a half times what is there now. Even the lowest tower is 20 floors, or 215 feet.

This project must be scaled down. And the whole district needs more public green space if it is to avoid making a mockery of its name, le Quartier des grands jardins.

Mistakes in urban planning, once transformed into concrete reality, are irremediable.

Peter F. Trent, Mayor of Westmount

14 March 2017

The project consists in installing a new entrance building to Vendôme métro station, as well as a new underground corridor for pedestrians, linking the new entryway with Vendôme commuter train station, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and with boulevard De Maisonneuve Ouest. In all, five elevators will make it easier for you to navigate inside the intermodal hub and reach the MUHC.

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