Birds vs. buildings in St. Laurent wetlands
Published Friday, April 14, 2017 5:31PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 14, 2017 6:59PM EDT
Birdwatchers, environmental activists, and those who just like walking outside offered tours Friday of the wetlands in St. Laurent, the same area that is slated for future development and a court battle.
Geraldine Gatien was one of the many taking part, unaware of what Mother Nature was hiding right beside the airport where she worked for 35 years.
"I'm just surprised there's so many birds so close to the airport," said Gatien. "I'm not a birdwatching person but I learned a few things about the birds landing in my backyard in Lachine now."
The St. Laurent Technopark, just north of the runways, contains a substantial amount of greenspace.
But that greenspace saw development last year -- and more is slated for the near future, including the airport spur for the REM light rail line.
Joel Coutu said with the new companies on the site, migratory birds are in for a surprise.
"The problem is all the damage that was done last fall and winter, they didn't get a text of what's happened. They'll be in shock. You'll have many, say, Virginia Rails returning, but they can't all nest. because they need a certain territory," said the birdwatcher.
Several environmental groups are joining forces to fight proposed construction.
Lisa Mintz of Sauvons la Falaise is among them.
"I don't have anything against the project itself, I think it's just in the wrong place. It think it would be great if we put it on the north end of the Technopark. It's just right in the middle of a swamp, the last large swamp on the island of Montreal," said Mintz.
As lawyer Ricardo Hrtschan explains, the green coalition is taking the Technopark to court to have the work stopped.
"The case is to have the land that was destroyed, you can see the roads that were put in, to have them removed and the land restored to its natural status," said the lawer.
Technopark Montreal was not available for comment Friday, but last year told CTV the site development has been planned for years, and it is looking for environmentally conscious companies to build.
Environmentalists say once buildings go up, birds will have no choice but to move out.