Meadowbrook Brief Says l’Anse-à-l’Orme Must Be Preserved

Les Amis du parc Meadowbrook told a recent hearing that the l’Anse-à-l’Orme green space in western Pierrefonds must be protected from development. The brief, presented by Campbell Stuart on behalf of Les Amis, told the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) hearing that l’Anse-à-l’Orme must be preserved and turned into a nature park, open and accessible to everyone.

The OCPM hearings were considering a proposal to allow developers to build 5,500 houses on 185 hectares of wetlands, woods, fields and former farmland. The l’Anse-à-l’Orme area consists primarily of wet meadows, located on a floodplain, which are unsuitable for construction.

The brief outlined three main reasons to reject the proposed development. First, the area should be preserved for its intrinsic environmental value to future generations. It is home to several threatened and endangered species, including the Least Bittern, Northern Map Turtle and Brown Snake, as well as other birds, reptiles, and mammals.

The wetlands and small rivers of the area form a thriving and self-sustaining wilderness ecosystem in the heart of the West Island. Researchers at l’Université du Québec en Outaouais conducted an exhaustive study of the rich biodiversity of this area (“Évaluation écologique de l’Ouest du territoire de Pierrefonds-Roxboro”,  ).

Les Amis argued the proposed development should not go ahead for urban planning reasons. The project 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.

The proposal should also be rejected for fiscal reasons, since taxpayers are being asked to subsidize speculative ventures for private profit. A study on the issue of taxpayer costs done by a researcher at l’Université du Québec à Montréal, (“Analyse des contraintes, coûts et impacts d’un éventuel projet immobilier dans le secteur Pierrefonds-Ouest / L’Anse à l’Orme“, demonstrated that building a new housing development in this area would require massive new infrastructure funded by taxpayers, with little chance of recouping those costs.

The brief suggested that the mandate given to the OCPM threatens the consultative body’s independence and neutrality. The brochure for the hearings invites the public “to come validate and improve the vision” of the proposed development, while stating that the “OCPM was created specifically to ensure that certain public consultations in Montreal are led by a neutral and independent organization.”

Saying that other areas of the city are more suitable for sustainable development, Les Amis’ brief recommended the City of Montreal and the Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro change the zoning of the area to recreational.

“We also call on them to work with other levels of government to create a nature park, open and accessible to all and encompassing on the whole territory of the L’Anse-à-l’Orme Corridor. This natural space is just too precious to us and our descendants to allow it to be destroyed for private gain.”

Several members of Les Amis de Meadowbrook also presented briefs as private citizens.

Supplemental Brief on Rouge National Urban Park, Toronto

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