Bird watchers and environmentalists are worried that a scheduled development in the St-Laurent industrial park north of Trudeau Airport could destroy a habitat that is home to dozens of species of birds.

The piece of wetlands has become a haven for birders. Joel Coutu first visited the area in April and said he was astonished by the variety.

“I came up with roughly 70 nesting species and probably 100 birds in two months that frequent this area,” he said. “This area is pretty rich in species of birds and it’s probably the richest area on the island of Montreal.”

Coutu said he was dismayed to find out the area has been earmarked for development and worries that construction will scare off its feathery inhabitants for good.

“If there are four or five years of construction, these birds probably won’t come back,” he said.

Technoparc Montreal has had plans for the site for years and the Quebec Environment Ministry has signed off on the plan.

Technoparc spokesperson Carl Baillargeon said they are looking for environmentally conscientious companies to develop the land and that the project is actually the best way to protect the wetlands. He said the northwest and eastern tip of the territory will be protected, amounting to 46 per cent of the land.

“We’re looking at people that are invested into eco-responsible activities and their mission is to protect the environment,” he said. “It’s a land that if we don’t do anything to protect it in a few years, the reports that we’re getting is that the marshes will dry out.”

The steps Technoparc says it’s taking to protect the site aren’t enough for the birdwatchers who have made it a regular stop.

“There must be other areas than here where they can build,” said Annie Dupras.

Aliston Jackson echoed the sentiment.

“It’s about time they keep some of the wetlands as wetlands instead of keeping on developing, developing, developing,” he said.

With construction beginning in about a month, the hobbyists are hoping the federal government will reconsider its permission to build on the land, especially given one of the species spotted nesting is the Least Bittern, which the federal government has classified as at risk.

“That’s the smallest of the heron family and seeing as there’s three marshes here and we found five of them in that marsh, that was a nice find for everybody,” said Coutu.