Plante administration promises to make Black Rock memorial more accessible if re-elected
MONTREAL -- The Black Rock: a stone monument in Point-Saint-Charles commemorating the Irish immigrants who died on their way to Canada.
Beneath the monument are the burial grounds of some-6000 of these immigrants, who contracted typhus aboard ships as they fled the great famine.
But Montreal's Irish community says the monument isn't adequately accessible, as it currently sits between four lanes of traffic.
And one foundation wants to see the site turned into a memorial park.
"Bridge St. itself actually runs over the top of the cemetery," said Fergus Keyes, a board member for the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation. "For the design of the park that we really want to make, [a] world-class memorial space, to have Bridge St. run through the middle of it just wouldn't work."
Projet Montreal Candidate Craig Sauve says if re-elected, the Plante administration will spend $15 million moving Bridge St, leaving enough space around the Black Rock for a fully accessible park.
"What was really important to the community is that we didn't move the Black Rock itself," said Sauve. "That's really the epitaph and one of the main markers for this sacred place."
The new Bridge St. would divert at Rue Des Irlandais, and then run through a vacant lot owned by Hydro Quebec.
"They've offered to cede to us about 3.8 acres, which will make a fairly large and quite nice memorial space," said Keyes.
Work on the project wouldn't start until 2025, as Hydro Quebec first has to build a new transformer station on the back portion of the lot.
But for Keyes, an official announcement from the city is a major step forward in what has been a very long process.
"The administration of Denis Coderre, when he was the mayor, started it, and it continued now through the administration of Mme. Plant. So we would expect it to continue on regardless of who wins the election," said Keyes.
Denis Coderre's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.