MONTREAL -- After almost a decade of consultation, a portion of Ile-Bizard is now protected from further development.

The preservation of the western half of the island was made possible by Quebec's protected land strategy, which had never been put into action until now.

Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette said a push from residents was key to making it happen.

“They were able to mobilize themselves, to talk with authorities and the Quebec government,” he said.

The area in question is comprised of 18 square kilometres of mostly natural landscape. Roughly one quarter does lie on residential properties.

Not everyone is thrilled with the change. Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon said that while all land protection is welcome, his council was not consulted and the protected territory is unceded Mohawk land.

“We never surrendered this wide territory we occupied for a millennia,” he said. “Under treaty or any other agreement, these lands, as far as we're concerned, are still our unceded title lands.”