Great Lakes United/Union Saint-Laurent Grands Lacs
The Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River make up the world's largest freshwater ecosystem.
A major source of pollution is caused by rainwater overwhelming city sewers.
Great Lakes United is working for a healthier Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ecosystem. They have a simple way to reduce pollution: building more green spaces.
Project 33 | Great Lakes United
Montreal | Canada
When we think of a city like Montreal, Toronto, New York, we imagine tall buildings with huge boulevards, streets, sidewalks. Everything is modern, the light.
H?l?ne Godmaire, Director, Quebec Operations, Great Lakes United
But when we look at water, and we see how it circulates, and we add climate change, heavy rain, storms, etc. we realize that we have problems with water.
When water flows really quickly and we have heavy rain like we did earlier, we have a phenomenon that we call ?overflows.? That means that there's too much water for our aqueducts and it releases untreated water into the river. It's redirected.
What happens is domestic wastewater, so water from toilets and all that, will go directly into the river without going to the wastewater treatment plant.
Sophie Mailloux, Teacher, Institut de technologie agroalimentaire
We're in a Montreal alley, near Carr? St-Louis. With regards to public services, everyone used alleys for coal, all sorts of deliveries came through here. So a lot of vehicles passed through the alleys. Nowadays, some of that utility remains, but the passage of vehicles is mostly for the residents. So if we can greenify part of it, it will help cool down heat islands, and, at the same time, alleviate excessive runoff, which is a big problem.
The alleys are mostly made out of asphalt, so the water goes straight to the city sewers. So if we can capture rainwater in alleys as quickly as possible, it will improve those two things.
Huguette Trudel, Head of greening, ?co-quartier Saint-Jacques
So the people who live here are going to help us. First of all they approached us to help them change their way of life, to have a better quality of life. It's a community project. So it's the people who decide, ?Yes I'd like to have a path. Maybe some rocks, some big trees.? So we worked on the plan together. My goal would be to transform the city's 4,300 alleys. Only 35 have been transformed.
Two? Ok. You have to press the soil, then we finish like this.
What is your name?
Johanna. And yours?
Jules. Johanna and Jules.
We're in another alley, the Champ?tre alley. So, to show you some of the alternatives that were used regarding the soil, to replace the asphalt, to improve the percolation of the water, and then at the same time, adding greenery to create little pockets of freshness in the city.
There's great potential. We just have to think about the number of square kilometers that represent the surface of alleys in this city. So if we count one street, one alley, there are as many alleys as there are streets.
The city for me, the city of the future, is a city where there's a lot more greenery. Sometimes I imagine it completely green, with green walls, walls with vines, with green roofs. In the end, we can almost be in a forest.
We like to say ?green city, blue water.? The greener the city is, the more the water will be filtered and managed, and everyone will be happy.