Photo: Annik MH de Carufel Le Devoir
The threat exposed by the Union of agricultural producers would be as wide-ranging in the northern and southern suburbs of Montreal.
Nearly 2000 hectares of agricultural land are at risk on the territory of the communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), would denounce this Thursday, the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) in the company of environmental groups.
The most recent data compiled by the UPA, whose Duty it has obtained a copy, indicate in a first time that 1000 hectares of agricultural land are targeted for new non-agricultural use in the cities of the northern and southern suburbs of Montreal.
To arrive at this estimate, the UPA has scanned all of the files processed, being processed or treated soon by the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec (CPTAQ) to use applications for purposes other than agriculture.
Number of hectares of agricultural land at risk on the territory of the Montreal metropolitan community, according to the UPA
The CPTAQ has the mandate to access or not to these requests by applying the Law on the protection of agricultural land and agricultural activities.
The threat exposed by the UPA would be as wide-ranging in the northern and southern suburbs of Montreal.
To the north of the metropolis, the city of Mirabel (250 acres) would be the most targeted applications to non-agricultural use, followed by the regional county municipality (MRC) of Two-Mountains (140 hectares).
To the south, the RCM of Marguerite-D’youville (180 hectares), La Vallée-du-Richelieu (160 hectares) and Beauharnois-Salaberry (150 hectares) are the most referred.
In addition to these 1,000 hectares targeted by housing projects or economic activities of any kind, the UPA believes that bill 85, which should in particular enable the establishment of a corridor of economic development in the vicinity of highway 30, endangers 1000 hectares of agricultural land additional.
These lands would be in the collimator due to the forthcoming installation of enterprises in the field of transport logistics. The UPA therefore concludes that if nothing is done, more than 2000 hectares of agricultural land that could be converted to be used for purposes other than agriculture.
The union will launch a “cry of alarm” on Thursday, denouncing the proliferation of projects of region free in the metropolitan area to the sides of Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and the body Live in the city, which specializes in land use and planning issues.
They will, inter alia, that several municipalities of the CMM to consider agricultural land as a bank of land available for any development of residential, commercial, or industrial.
Portrait less dark
The concern of the UPA relating to the protection of agricultural lands does not date from yesterday.
In 2015, it was, for example, organized a media coverage that is similar to that of Thursday, in order to avoid the weakening of the CPTAQ. For years, she maintains that the municipalities open the door to dézonages to increase their revenues from the property tax.
The annual report of 2016-2017 of the CPTAQ brush, however, a picture less bleak than the one portrayed by the agricultural union : during the last fiscal year, the Commission has rendered decisions allowing for the exclusion of 420 hectares of agricultural land, which is the smallest area allowed in ten years.
The most recent data from the COMMUNITY reveal that the total area of the agricultural zone in quebec was little changed over the past ten years. It is past 6 306 222 hectares in 2007-2008 to more than 6 307 900 hectares four years later, to return to a similar level afterwards. It is now 6 305 999 hectares.