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Off-island residents upset about new housing development

WATCH ABOVE: A new housing development has begun in Notre-Dame-de-l'Ile-Perrot and some residents are concerned about the impact of the project on the local wildlife. Sarah Volstad reports.

NOTRE-DAME-DE-L’ILE-PERROT – A new townhouse development has begun in Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, on the forested land near the intersection of Don Quichotte Boulevard and Forest Avenue. The area has undergone extensive deforestation in recent years to make room for housing. Now, some residents are concerned that it has gone too far.

“Last week or the week before, all the trucks started coming, the bulldozers, taking down all the trees,” said Joanne Cavanaugh who moved to the area three years ago. “It’s really sad to see because of all the nice wildlife around here.”

Her home backs onto the portion of the forest across the street from the upcoming development. Both sectors are zoned residential.

“We were told there were no immediate plans to build anything here, and it would be years before they would build behind us. So when we saw them building across the street, now we’re quite worried that they’re going to be building here as well.”

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But not everybody is upset about it. We spoke to many residents who believe that developments are necessary for the growth of the community. Still, a big preoccupation is the loss of wildlife.

“Just from watching the birds in our backyard this year, I’m up over 92 different species,” said Mathias Mutzl, a resident of the area. “That includes bald eagles, golden eagles, broad-winged hawks.”

Mutzl is an avid bird-watcher. He says the loss of natural habitat for the area’s wildlife is terrible.

“I’m kind of surprised that a project like this goes ahead.”

The mayor of Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot said the land under construction is privately owned.

“I understand that we’re cutting trees, I understand that people love them but even though you live beside a very beautiful forest, it might not be yours,” said Mayor Danie Deschenes.

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She says the town has many single-family dwellings, but not enough smaller properties to accommodate an aging population. The other condos in the immediate area are in Pincourt, not Notre-Dame.

“Right beside here, it’s a huge condominium and there’s a driving range that was built by the city right beside us,” said Deschenes. “And, you know, nobody got attached to a tree for that.”

“A lot of people in this area moved here because of the nice woods, and they just keep ripping them down,” said Cavanagh. “So I think a lot of people are going to start moving out further west, to the Saint-Lazare, Hudson area. And that’s probably something my husband and I will do as well.”

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The developer has obtained all the necessary permits from the province, and the city says it won’t be intervening.