All Stakeholders Must Participate in Decision about l’Anse-à-l’Orme

The report of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) regarding hearings on the future of l’Anse-à-l’Orme in western Pierrefonds “is a clear rebuke to the City of Montreal and the Borough of Pierrefond-Roxboro for their 10 years of cosy back-room dealings with land developers,” says Les Amis du parc Meadowbrook spokesman Campbell Stuart.

The OCPM hearings, which took place in the spring, received 272 written briefs and heard from 73 individuals and organizations. Some 87 percent were opposed to allowing housing construction at l’Anse-à-l’Orme.

Developers want to build 5,000 houses on 185 hectares of wetlands, woods, fields and former farmland on the shore of Lac des Deux Montagnes. Sauvons l’Anse-à-l’Orme and other environmental groups have spearheaded opposition to development.

The OCPM report, made public on Sept. 29, pointed to a lack of consensus on the area’s future. The commission recommended that studies be completed on biodiversity protection, community benefits, economic viability of a new development, urban sprawl, transportation, and respect of international commitments pertaining to the environment.

It also recommended that the urban planning exercise that is already underway for the area continue, but “this time, the exercise should involve all stakeholders, including citizens and environmental organizations, and set forth different scenarios ranging from protecting the territory as a whole to various ratios of protection and real estate development.”

Stuart presented a brief on behalf of Les Amis du parc Meadowbrook during the hearings, and several members of Les Amis made individual presentations. The brief from Les Amis stated that l’Anse-à-l’Orme must be preserved and turned into a nature park, open and accessible to everyone.

Les Amis suggested the area be preserved for its intrinsic environmental value to future generations. The brief argued the proposed development fails to meet Montreal’s own criteria for sustainable development since it does not protect natural areas, it promotes the use of automobiles and it does not revitalize existing neighbourhoods. Furthermore, it suggested the proposal should also be rejected for fiscal reasons, since taxpayers are being asked to subsidize speculative ventures for private profit.

The OCPM’s recommendation is non-binding, however, Stuart noted that the report is an important milestone in the fight to save the the l’Anse-à-l’Orme corridor from destruction.

A public rally will be held on Monday, October 2nd at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Pierrefonds City Hall (13665 Pierrefonds Boulevard) to discuss the report and its implications.

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