Falaise St-Jacques: What you should know about Montreal’s forested oasis

You’ve driven by the falaise St-Jacques many times but probably never wandered around the forested escarpment between N.D.G. and the Sud-Ouest.

I have visited the falaise a couple of time.

In 2007, I hiked the length of the falaise  I wrote about it in this Montreal Gazette story, posted some photos and created a blog (alas, I did not update it and it is now full of dead links).

My latest visit was a few weeks ago for a story published Friday in the Montreal Gazette. I went with Lisa Mintz of Sauvons la falaise.

This detailed history of the falaise notes that is has been on city maps since 1670.

Transport Quebec has to follow environmental guidelines during Turcot construction.

I asked Transport Quebec for details about how it’s protecting the brown snakes in the area, which will probably be designated threatened or vulnerable. As part of its Turcot project, Transport Quebec has hired biologists to find and move about 300 snakes. I have posted five brown-snake reports here.

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Brown snake found on the falaise St-Jacques. Photo courtesy of Lisa Mintz of Sauvons la falaise.
Sauvons la falaise and city councillor Craig SauvĂ© worry Transport Quebec is polluting the falaise by dumping contaminated soil nearby. When I visited, I saw asphalt and this tire in that soil. Transport Quebec says the soil is safe. Critics want it to prove that the soil isn’t highly contaminated.

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A tire in a pile of soil at the foot of the falaise on Jan. 11, 2016. Photo: Dario Ayala, Montreal Gazette
Last year, Transport Quebec made headlines when it bulldozed the western edge of the falaise. This list, supplied by the department, shows what type of trees were felled.

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Cyclists and nature lovers will be interested in this map, by the Montreal Gazette’s Dawn Lemieux. It shows the location of the planned bike/walking path at the foot of the falaise, as well as some of the planned links to other bike paths. Transport Quebec must hold hearings on this bike/walking path. Dates have not been set.

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This Transport Quebec map shows the current plan for bike paths in the area.

Here’s what Transport Quebec says the bike/walking path – due by 2020 – might look like:

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