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Équiterre proposes 43 recommendations for the Quebec government's new land use strategy

SNUAT

BRIEF “Prendre le droit chemin : Vers une Stratégie nationale d’urbanisme et d’aménagement des territoires

Quebec’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing recently invited all citizens and groups concerned about urban and regional planning to participate in a national conversation on the subject. Équiterre submitted a brief entitled: "Prendre le droit chemin : Vers une Stratégie nationale d’urbanisme et d’aménagement des territoires”.

Led by Alizée Cauchon, Senior Analyst at Équiterre, the brief proposes 43 recommendations for the government's new strategy to enable the necessary drastic shift in our practices and regulations regarding land use planning in Quebec.

LAND USE PLANNING AT THE CORE OF THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Considering the worsening climate crisis and the fact that our land is being subjected to incoherent development and a lack of overall vision, the brief emphasizes that we must absolutely change our approach to land use and urban planning.

The truth is, land use planning plays a crucial role in our efforts to fight climate change and to adapt to it. Achieving our environmental and economic objectives will therefore require a major overhaul of our land use planning practices and a rework of our modes of transportation.

EMPHASIS ON MOBILITY, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS

Though land use planning encompasses a host of important issues, Équiterre’s brief focuses on specific aspects: mobility, agriculture and natural environments.

Among the proposed structural measures: stopping urban sprawl, ending the development of Quebec’s road network, protecting agricultural and natural environments, developing public and active transportation, and adopting a provincial strategy for urban and land use planning.

Here are some of the specific recommendations:

Increase public transportation: Double the offer of public transit in the province by 2030 through dedicated, sufficient and recurring funding that sets targets for increased services.

Encourage active transportation: Include sidewalks and bike lanes in all new developments and ensure connectivity of new pedestrian and bicycle networks to existing networks and public transit systems.

Stop the expansion of the road network and agricultural rezoning: Declare a moratorium on the expansion of the road network as well as a moratorium on agricultural rezoning for residential, commercial or industrial construction.

Declare agricultural land a collective heritage: Treat Quebec's agricultural territory as a collective heritage, a true strategic resource. To do so, the government must publicly declare the importance of agricultural land.

Promote local products: Aim for Quebec households and institutions to consume at least 50% of the food grown in Quebec.

Dedicate 1% of infrastructure budgets to natural infrastructure: Dedicate a minimum of 1% of Quebec's infrastructure budgets to the development of natural infrastructure (wooded areas, wetlands, urban greening measures, etc.), which can help with adaptation to the effects of climate change.

Create a canopy in all living environments: Ensure a tree canopy of at least 45% in all living environments, because environments where mature trees and vegetation are most abundant are best protected from the hazards of climate change.

To see the other recommendations ❯❯

The government is expected to announce its new strategy in April 2022, but until then, Équiterre will follow the process closely and keep you updated on the developments.

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