Pierrefonds-West: the creation of an urban national park could be expensive

Photo: Jean Gagnon CC
The project of the urban national park on the site of Pierrefonds West adjacent to the park of the Anse-à-L’orme (on the photo).

The election of Valérie Plant raises hopes among environmentalists, who applauded the willingness of the new mayor of Montreal to create an urban national park on the site of Pierrefonds West. But to realize this project, which will prevent the real estate development in this sector, may require significant public investments.

 

“It is very encouraging for us,” said Sylvia Oljemark, a spokesperson for the green Coalition which has been fighting for years for the preservation of this area adjacent to the park of the Anse-à-l’orme.

 

In the wake of the report of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal released last September and which was one of the major deficiencies in terms of social acceptability, Valérie Plante had reiterated his intention to protect the site of Pierrefonds-West and create the first urban national park of Montreal.

 

It is, therefore, to say that the land totaling 185 acres will host about 5500 seats if the mayor is following through on its commitment.

 

At what cost ?

 

The promoters of Cape Nature, who are the owners of the land referred to, did not wish to comment publicly on the promise of Valérie Plant.

 

Re-elected to the city council of Pierrefonds-Roxboro under the banner of Team Denis Coderre, Dimitrios Jim Beis maintains that it is possible to realize a real estate project in a sustainable development perspective.

 

“I’m open to any solution, but not at any price. If it costs a certain amount, 200 to 300 million for example, who is going to pay for ? Because the residents do not have the ability to pay for something like that. “

 

He recalled that, to date, no project has been filed with the City or the district and that the special planning Program (PPU) has still not been adopted.

 

This would not be the first time that newly elected officials would take a direction opposite to that of the previous administration, reports to Me Sébastien Laprise, lawyer specialised in public law and municipal in Langlois lawyers. “They have the right to do so, but it is possible that they encounter obstacles,” he said.

 

Even if no licence has yet been issued, the promoters may be tempted to lay claim to the rights acquired on account of the steps that they have already undertaken, ” he said. And the question of compensation remains.

 

“This is not the market value that is sought, it is the value to the expropriated party,” says the lawyer. At first glance, it appears to me that the steps taken could be sufficient to establish that proponents have a right to a compensation equal to the profit they would have achieved if the project had materialized. “

 

Without wanting to advance, to amount, to Me Laprise refers to ” several tens of millions of dollars “. “But there is nothing to preclude a transaction from otc to intervene,” adds the lawyer.Last may, the promoters were talking instead of ” hundreds of millions of dollars “.

 

Recall that in 2011, Quebec had spent $ 15 million for the purchase of a plot of land of 20 acres adjacent to the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville promoter Luc Poirier.

 

Caution to Quebec

 

Valerie Plant had mentioned the idea of a financial assistance of Québec for the acquisition of the land, but the cabinet of the minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, he remains cautious. “It will be necessary first of all that Ms. Plant submitted his project,” -said at the cabinet of Luc Blanchette.

 

Emmanuel Rondia, the Conseil régional de l’environnement (CRE) de Montréal, believes that it is not too late to protect these natural environments.

 

The CRE, he recalled, had published a study in 2016 to demonstrate that other sites were available in Pierrefonds-Roxboro for the development.

 

According to a study published by the David Suzuki Foundation, the site of Pierrefonds-West may be home to 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, as well as 219 species of birds, including 15 of the articles of association of protection within the meaning of the act.

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