The city of Montreal has approved a plan to develop 6,000 houses on prime farmland near Cap St. Jacques.

The Anse a l'Orme development, in western Pierrefonds, will include parks, schools, shops and a new urban boulevard west of St.Charles Blvd.

185 hectares of the territory will be used for new houses and commercial buildings, while 180 hectares will supposedly be protected for nature.

Russell Copeman, the Executive Committee member in charge of development, said 30 percent of the homes would be dedicated to affordable housing in an attempt to keep more families on the island of Montreal.

He pointed out the development will require the creation of an urban boulevard, which would need the approval of the provincial government.

There is a fair amount of opposition to the ten-year project.

Members of Projet Montreal say the development is yet another case of urban sprawl that will not help residents of the central city.

They point out it will increase traffic in the West Island on the already overburdened St. Charles Blvd. and Highway 40.

David Fletcher of Montreal's Green Coalition said the area is home to a large deer and coyote population, which will likely not interact well with an influx of new people encroaching on their territory.

"The point where these fields are developed, these deer no longer have a place to forage," said Fletcher. "Their number will have to go around to people's yards, on the roads. They're already close to the Trans Canada and they'll be a nuisance just like they are in Montreal East.

"And the coyotes, of course, will follow."

Another group, called Sauvons L'Anse a L'Orme, is circulating a petition to stop the development.

Earlier this week Pierrefonds borough Mayor Jim Beis said no concrete plans had been made.

Public consultations will be held this autumn.