Marché Central is an environmental disaster

In an example of corporate chutzpah the likes of which I’ve never seen, Marché Central, the awful strip mall just above the Acadie Circle, is touting its environmental-friendliness by installing 25 recycling bins in its massive parking lots. It’s also distributed recycling bins to its stores, which means that its stores will be allowed to recycle for the first time.

Why do I think this is insane? Look at a map of the mall (click to embiggen):

Marché Central map

The red areas (which represent just about everything but the buildings) are parking lots and roads. The green areas (which are just about invisible) represent foliage (trees, grass), which fill spaces that they haven’t figured out a way to park a car in yet.

It gets worse. Besides enough space to park 4,000 cars simultaneously (600 of which are underground), the giant strip mall from hell has absolutely no provisions for pedestrians. Traffic lights have no pedestrian crosswalks. Sidewalks abruptly end forcing people to walk through parking lots. The closest bus comes only every half hour, and it doesn’t enter the mall. There are no bike paths anywhere on or near mall grounds, and very little bike parking space.

So you’ll forgive me if statements like this make me laugh:

«Ici, l’environnement, c’est devenu une priorité. Maintenant, quand le temps est venu de faire une dépense, on essaie toujours de trouver un moyen de réduire nos dépenses en énergie. C’est important de trouver des façons écologiques de gérer nos activités», précise de son côté le directeur-adjoint, Raymond St-Jacques.

«Ce projet est un bel exemple de responsabilité sociale et un effort important pour l’environnement, de dire la mairesse de l’arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Marie-Andrée Beaudoin. Nous les félicitons et il nous fait grand plaisir de soutenir ce projet par la cueillette des matières recyclables sur le site-même du Marché Central.»

Reading further, you get the real reason behind this move (which, of course, should have been done years ago):

D’ici peu, le mégacentre commercial aimerait obtenir la désignation environnementale Go Green, une certification canadienne remise aux établissements commerciaux qui réduisent leurs dépenses en eau, en électricité et autres, afin d’innover et d’améliorer leurs pratiques environnementales.

In other words, it’s a B.S. PR stunt designed to get a B.S. corporate “green” certification that doesn’t mean anything, and convince the yuppie SUV drivers that by putting a used water bottle into a green bin they’re doing their part for the environment.

Shutting Marché Central down would do the environment far better than any PR stunt they can think of.

And shame on “journalist” Philippe Boisvert and Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville for allowing a company to fool them so easily with smoke and mirrors.

UPDATE: Chris DeWolf agrees with me.

9 thoughts on “Marché Central is an environmental disaster

  1. Chris

    I had to go to this hell-hole once on my bike and the only time I’ve been more frustrated trying to get somewhere on my bike in this city was while trying to go south from Ville Saint-Laurent across the Decarie. Marché Central should be the most embarrassing eyesore in this city and I 100% agree that it should be ripped down (and done so theatrically and publicly with explosions and fireworks).

    Reply
  2. DAVE ID

    Though I don’t disagree with your argument, your image fauxtoshoping doesn’t tell the full truth.

    Chabenel street transects the market but is not part of the market, as in TPTB at Marché Central don’t administer this space and I think it should have been left neutral.
    The building at the corner of L’Acadie and Legendre (and it’s parking) are not part of the shopping complex AFAIK but I could be wrong on this part.
    And plenty of the greens surrounding the Guzzo/BestBuy area are not greened in your image.

    The changes wouldn’t change the truth of your argument, but the image just lies a little.

    Now if only we could wipe out that ghastly Vinnie Gambinis :P

    Reply
  3. Jack

    It’s a question of convenience, and cost efficiency. Marche Central is located in a rather secluded and poor part of the city with a low density of population.

    The same economics that go in to creating shopping spaces in westmount or le plateau where large portions of land are rare and expensive can’t apply here.

    The owners had to attract a wealthier clientele, which mainly resides in areas farther away, the very same clientele which most likely wouldn’t bike their way to best buy to get their new 52″ HDTV.

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  4. Raymond Saint-Jacques

    C’est beau de voir comment on reussit à reduire à l’insignifiance, les gestes positifs (peu importe ce qui peut être fait pour le bien être de sa collectivité)pour l’environnement. L’effet domino, vous connaissez?

    Vous pouvez apporter des idées pour augmenter votre apport à ce que vous croyez défendre au lieu de détruire ce qui qui peut être fait.

    Vous suggérez de démolir des infrastructures existantes, quelle bonne idée! Pour l’instant celles-ci payent des taxes qui permettent d’aider à entretenir les rares espaces verts de l’île de Montréal, déneiger vos trottoirs cet hiver, améliorer les pistes cyclables existantes et en développer de futurs (même au Marché Central, à suivre…), contribuer aux programmes sociaux qui ont un grand besoin de financement pour supporter leurs efforts pour leur communauté et j’en passe.

    Nous sommes des pionniers dans le domaine, implanter un tel projet sur une si grande superficie de terrain demande une réflexion pour maximiser nos efforts. Surtout lorsque des enjeux économiques demandent des justifications et de convaincre tous les partenaires impliqués dans ce vaste projet.

    Ce n’est pas terminé, nous voulons continuer à contribuer et augmenter les efforts pour améliorer notre apport à ce que vous croyez juste et équitable, peu importe les gains obtenus, ils contribueront à améliorer le bien être de tous.

    Reply
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