Residents are worried a project to build 6,000 houses on prime farmland in Montreal will wipe out one of the few refuges for wildlife on the island.

The area near Cap St. Jacques has seen increasing amounts of housing development in the past decade, as landowners around L'Anse a l'Orme, at the border of Pierrefonds and Senneville sold farmland to developers.

Now the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro has rezoned a 200-hectare area for residential development, and borough officials held a "strategic planning" meeting Monday evening.

Several concerned citizens attended the meeting and urged councillors to rescind the zoning change, saying the area is a home to wildlife.

"We see nothing wrong with the project per se, it's a question of location," said David Fletcher of Montreal's Green Coalition. "It's an inappropriate location and better value is had keeping this land intact and moving this project closer to the city core, where existing infrastructure can be tapped into at lower costs for the public purse."

Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor Jim Beis said the development is still years away and no concrete plans have been made.

He promised citizens would be consulted once designs have been drafted.