1.2 A Corridor Serving to Structure the City
The property owned by the federal gov-ernment along the Lachine Canal crosses or borders five boroughs on the Island of Montréal and extends for 14 km, linking Lake Saint-Louis with the Old Port of Montréal. The property consists of a narrow band of land ranging from 3 m to 35 m on either side of the waterway and totalling an area of some 158 ha.
The development of the canal property during the 1970s had a positive effect with respect to the goals of projects to revitalize and improve the neighbouring urban environment. The canal zone, which had been virtually abandoned after the waterway was closed to through navigation, became accessible to the general population as green spaces were laid out with a bicycle path, pedestrian walk-ways and some service areas and kiosks.
Since the 1980s, the areas bordering the canal have attracted new industrial, commer-cial and residential promoters. With the numerous open spaces and old buildings that line the canal corridor, there is a potential for implanting new activities in the area.
During this recent period of development, the two ends of the canal also underwent major work. The City of Lachine (now merged with Montréal) upgraded the western entrance to the canal by building piers in the Lachine marina (directly at the entrance) and at Réné Lévesque Park (outside the canal), while the Old Port of Montréal Corporation inc. repaired the locks and did bank work on its property at the eastern entrance. As well, the City of Montréal carried out major urban rehabilitation projects on either side of the waterway.
In 2001, it was estimated that the banks of the Lachine Canal were visited by people from the Montréal area somewhat more than 600 000 times over the summer. 2
For the City of Montréal, an important objective of its land use planning is to develop tourism and business along this corridor. In its planning program pertaining to the Borough of Sud-Ouest (1992), the City of Montréal proposed strategic directions, as well as developmental goals and directions, based on the recognized potential of the Lachine Canal, particularly since it might contribute to efforts to revive the economy of southwest Montréal.
Although Parks Canada is aware that the development of the Lachine Canal may well generate considerable economic and tourist activities for this sector of the island and for the Montréal area as a whole, the Agency must take into consideration its limited finan-cial resources, which significantly reduce its ability to become involved with this aspect. Parks Canada therefore intends to concen-trate its efforts and investments in the field of heritage development and to encourage the City and the private sector to engage in the development of services and tourism.
According to a study conducted in 1992, a person may be said to be a regular user of a facility when he or
she makes an average of 34 visits over a period of 3 to 5 months. If it can be assumed that such regular
visitation has remained unchanged during the past few years, despite the inconvenience caused by development
work, then it may be said that the number of various visitors could at present be close to 100 000.
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