In the heart of Verdun is a concrete structure, obsolete, little-known and yet essential to the borough’s economic development and civil life. The imposing structure is the Éthel parking garage. Built at the end of the 1970s, it offers more than 250 parking spaces for citizens, visitors and workers in the area.
Since 2011, the SDC Wellington has been using the Éthel parking lot as a venue for events, cultural and social activities. These initiatives have been noticed, since the Service de la culture de l’arrondissement de Verdun identified in 2019 the Éthel parking lot as an essential cultural centre in the deployment of the Quartier culturel de Verdun. To date, in collaboration with various partners and Demain Verdun, more than 250 events have taken place in this atypical space.
In 2017, the SDC Wellington proposed a major transformation of the site by creating a new public space in the heart of the borough. A 21,000-square-foot green esplanade located on the upper floors, capable of welcoming residents over three seasons in “self-service” mode, as well as cultural and event-related activities. Despite regular events and open houses, the space has not yet been able to reach its full potential due to a lack of necessary investments.
In 2019, SDC Wellington raised $350,000 from partners for the development of the Jardins Éthel esplanade. Unfortunately, the community is in danger of losing this amount, as the City of Montreal is slow to confirm the necessary investment to renovate this equipment.
We believe that this multi-storey parking lot, owned by the City of Montreal, should not only be renovated to support the Jardins Éthel project, but also to adequately ensure its reception function, which is essential to the economic development of the neighbourhood. Its relevance was probably demonstrated during the pedestrianization of Wellington in 2020, when its 250 parking spaces ensured the neighbourhood’s accessibility to vehicles. With the confirmation of the City of Montreal’s commitment for the coming years, we could develop the upper floors and open them to the population as early as the summer of 2021, at zero cost to the municipal administration thanks to funding from our partnerships. This without forgetting that, in the long term, this investment will become profitable thanks to parking meter revenues.
We consider that investing in this infrastructure represents support for local businesses, a community-driven beautification and inclusion project, and a reduction in traffic in the surrounding residential sector. It is complementary to the borough’s projects that will increase traffic: the expansion of the Verdun Hospital, the reopening after renovation of the Verdun Auditorium as well as the Verdun beach. We believe that this is also an opportunity for Verdun and the City to affirm an identity rooted in the quality of living environments, community and environmental transition.
Jardins Éthel entrance projection – Crédit photo : ADHOC
Projection du toit des Jardins Éthel – Crédit photo : ADHOC
The SDC Wellington and Demain Verdun jointly submitted the Jardins Éthel project to the City of Montreal’s participatory budget on January 8, 2021.
The SDC Wellington and Demain Verdun thank you for contributing to a sustainable, inclusive and bold vision for our neighbourhood!
Demain Verdun is an optimistic and non-partisan local citizen movement that accompanies the ecological transition by building bridges with local organizations and promoting new citizen initiatives. The movement wishes to raise awareness among as many people as possible of the power of citizen engagement and action to accompany this transition while building on the sense of belonging to a supportive community.