City hopes to build Canada's largest urban park, but a developer stands in its way
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 9:17PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 9:22PM EDT
Montreal is planning to build Canada's largest urban park on the western tip of the island – but there’s one major hurdle standing in the way.
The goal, according to reports, is to link Ile-Bizard to Cap-Saint-Jacques, through l'Anse-à-l'Orme park, the Bois-de-la-Roche agricultural park and the Arboretum Morgan, creating a 3000-hectare space, with 1600 new hectares of protected areas.
A plot located in Pierrefonds-West, however, is owned by developers who plan on building more than 5,000 homes, and calling it Cap-Nature.
Mayor Valerie Plante said that land must be protected.
“Our intentions were clear, they were clear during the municipal campaign, is that we need to protect every single piece of green land we have,” she said.
Details are still being ironed out, according to the city, and it plans on collaborating with the federal government. The city won't say if it will expropriate to save the land.
In a statement to CTV, the developers called their project “pertinent and interesting” adding that at this point, the city hasn't given them any sign they'll expropriate.
“Of course you can understand I will not be sharing all the strategies right here publicly,” said Plante. “All that to say we would put all the efforts necessary starting with discussion, having talks with those promoters, finding ways so we can all together contribute to the health of our island.”
Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis said he hasn’t been kept in the loop and wonders what it will take to acquire all of the land.
“My concern is and will always be is the cost associated to either buying, purchasing, expropriating the properties there,” he said. “If there are any negotiations or any discussions for a sector in my borough certainly I think our community should be involved in that process.”
For those who have fought to preserve l'Anse-à-l'Orme for years, news of the city's plan in a victory in itself and a sign their hard work has paid off.
“It means everything,” said Sue Stacho of the group Sauvons l'Anse-à-l'Orme. “It means now I can have a little family life, a little time to myself so that I can enjoy that space and not have to fight so hard for it.”