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A look back on the first year of our green plan and next steps
We have informed you on a number of occasions since last March to present the challenges facing our cemetery and to share our vision.
We have also consulted you on several initiatives aimed at reducing our ecological footprint or increasing our contribution to biodiversity on Mount Royal and in Montréal.
The three orientations, which were supported by a vast majority of respondents, were
- The gradual replacement of our large lawns with a native plant meadow;
- The development of the Remembrance Grove, our ecological burial space;
- The environmentally responsible management of waste by each visitor.
We announced our green plan in May, followed in June by the creation of the Remembrance Grove and, in early August, by the initial phase of our ecological restoration project with the collaboration of experts from the Université de Montréal and the support of Les amis de la montagne.
During this first phase, we allowed the grass to grow in our immense plain, which was transformed into a huge meadow of blond grasses and wildflowers that attracted a multitude of insects and birds who energized the ecosystem throughout the summer.
We also added signs in several places on the site to explain this transformation to all visitors and to remind them that the Cemetery was becoming a "leave no trace" area.
This transformation aims to enhance the site's qualities as a place of peace, contemplation and biodiversity, by reducing various forms of pollution and offering new, more ecological choices for those who choose Notre-Dame-des-Neiges as their final resting place.
In October, the differentiated management of grassed areas was the theme of a meeting organized by Les amis de la montagne that brought together representatives of the majority of Mount Royal's institutional owners.
This late fall, we are completing the first phase of a transformation process that will take several years to complete. In the coming months, we will take advantage of the learnings we have made during the first phase to develop the planning for the next year's work, which will begin in the spring of 2022.
Launching Phase 2
Last June, we launched the Remembrance Grove. We are proud to be the first in Montréal to offer this ecological initiative, which has obviously met the needs and wishes of many people who want their ashes or those of their loved ones to participate in the regeneration of life in the form of a tree. Indeed, less than six months later, almost all the concessions of phase 1 have already been acquired.
We are now launching Phase 2, an extension of Phase 1, in the same prime area near the main entrance, overlooking Saint Joseph's Oratory. Concessions are available now for $3,495, including cremation at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges.
The Remembrance Grove offers an expanded selection of native species adapted to the environment of the area. Each new tree, planted at the time of death, contributes to improving air quality, biodiversity, and forest cover on Mount Royal.
The remaining Phase 1 concessions remain available at an introductory price of $2,995.
In our ecological restoration areas
Mowing of grasses
The creation of the ecological restoration areas began this summer in collaboration with the Université de Montréal. Frédérique Bujold, a master's student in environment and sustainable development, advised our operations team in the management of this project. At the end of the summer portion of the work, Ms. Bujold produced a report recommending the fall mowing of the flower meadow.
The mowing will have several ecological benefits. It avoids the emergence of scrubby overgrowth and encourages the flowers in the meadow to reseed themselves, since their seeds have already fallen to the ground at this time of year. Fall also allows mowing to be done outside of the breeding periods of the various animal species. You will therefore be able to observe that the grass in the ecological restoration areas will be mowed over the next few weeks, and will be left on the ground, in order to provide nutrients and offer shelter and food to biodiversity. In the spring, the new ecological zones will be ready to bloom!