Avenue Papineau: Green infrastructure to optimize water management

Last updated April 27, 2021
Reading time: 1 min

Did you know that a unique ecosystem lies at the heart of Avenue Papineau? Redevelopment of this area has allowed us to take up a major challenge never before achieved in Canada: Allow nature to take root on a busy street by optimizing rainwater management.

An innovative project

The installation of green infrastructure for stormwater management on Avenue Papineau is a major achievement. In the past, the artery was mostly made of concrete. The sewer system had to handle all of the water runoff. Once the sewer was full, the excess water was sent to waterways. This posed the risk of contaminating the environment and of harming biodiversity. Ecosystems should never be taken for granted: They are fragile environments that can be easily disturbed.

To solve this problem, a project that highlighted ecological innovation was launched. The objective: To combine better sustainable stormwater management with high traffic volumes, while ensuring the sustainability of the installations.

Plants at the heart of rainwater management

More than 35,000 plants and 38 vegetated basins have been integrated into the avenue, and act as sponges by absorbing rainwater. This new green infrastructure alone diverts nearly 100,000 m³ of water from the sewer system. In addition to their absorbing power, the basins counter climate change by reducing heat islands and pollution via the natural filtering power of plants and their root systems.

Following the construction of a wide 4-metre sidewalk, the avenue is now more attractive, safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

This sustainable, well thought out project is aligned with the city's goal of accelerating ecological transition by making biodiversity and green spaces a central concern. It also makes newly developed urban spaces more accessible.