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Montreal environmentalists decry eradication of green space on Earth Day

Click to play video: 'Montreal plants trees for Earth Day' Montreal plants trees for Earth Day
WATCH ABOVE: As a promise on Earth Day, Montreal has committed to protecting part of its territory for natural areas. As Global's Kelly Greig reports, environmental groups are pushing the city to create more green spaces – Apr 22, 2016

MONTREAL – For the City of Montreal, Earth Day started with a photo op as officials planted trees in Maisonneuve Park.

They say they’re getting their hands dirty to plant 375,000 new trees in time for Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.

However, environmental groups insist the city is developing housing projects, instead of natural spaces.

READ MORE: Montreal mayor launches tree-planting drive for Earth Day

“They can redevelop brown spots, but not green spaces,” said Sierra Club member Gary Spiller.

The city insists protection projects are underway and boasts a track record of conservation efforts, especially in the West Island.

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READ MORE: Montreal needs greenbelt, environmental coalition says

“We protected Meadowbrook Golf Club, we bought land in Angell Woods,” pointed out executive committee member Réal Ménard.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal mayors discuss green space protection

Montreal’s Urban Aggolmoration Council had pledged to set aside 10 per cent of its territory for green spaces.

Ménard said that, although they haven’t yet reached that goal, it’s something they’re working on.

“We have six per cent protection now and have a lot of acquisitions,” he said.

That sentiment isn’t shared by Sierra Club.

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“Unless they invent places, there’s not enough green space left on the island of Montreal for them to come up with 10 per cent,” said Sierra Club’s Don Hobus.

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