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Montreal mayors want Quebec to make it easier for cities to buy green space
MONTREAL -- Montreal mayors on Friday urged the government of Quebec to make it easier for cities to purchase green space.
The group of mayors also asked the province to contribute financially to help municipalities buy land--like Quebec did with the expansion of l'Anse a l'Orme nature park. The government pitched in to finance the $3.4 million project.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante wants the ruling CAQ to support similar projects, and to make it easier for other cities to buy land.
"We have objectives set in terms of protecting the land for us. We're asking the government if they agree with us than they should give us the tools to make it happen," she said.
She and other Montreal-area mayors demanded changes to expropriation rules to make it easier and cheaper for municipalities to purchase targeted land--which would make projects, like the Grand Parc de l'Ouest, more affordable.
West Island municipality Beaconsfield wouldn't have had the funds necessary to expand Angel woods nature park had it not been for the Quebec government, according to Beaconsfield Mayor George Bourelle. He said other towns-- like Lery, a tiny municipality on the south shore--need similar assistance.
"Lery [has a population of] 2500," he said. "But they are facing a huge bill to acquire green space, and they don't have the money, so government financing would be helpful."
Brossard Mayor Doreen Assaad said many people don't want to sell their property to the city, and are willing to fight legal battles to keep it--which increases costs for smaller municipalities to expropriate land.
"This is one of the things that is stopping us from preserving natural land," she said.
The group of mayors hopes the government makes their requested changes in time for Spring.
With files from CTV Montreal's Scott Prouse.