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Sierra Club Quebec opposes any development to Technoparc Montreal marsh

Click to play video: 'Montreal Technoparc wildlife in danger' Montreal Technoparc wildlife in danger
WATCH ABOVE: Environmentalists want to preserve the wetlands at the Hubert Reeves eco-campus, but the Montreal Technoparc, which owns the land, wants to build a new road and walkway in the area. Global's Navneet Pall reports – Aug 30, 2016

The marshes at Technoparc Montreal may seem like a refuge for outdoor enthusiasts – after all, it is home to 86 species of birds, according to Sierra Club Quebec.

The group has come out opposing any development that could disrupt the habitat, including the current plans to build a new road around the wetland.

According to Technoparc Montreal spokesperson Carl Baillargeon, the industrial park has a new vision.

“We’re doing an introduction of companies within an eco-territory and the companies that specialize in clean tech and research in clean technologies, nano technologies,” Baillargeon said.

“We’re trying to attract the know-how.”

Part of the vision includes building a dike to support existing water levels and a new walkway along the levee for employees.

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Environmentalists, like Don Hobus of Sierra Club Quebec, said this project will destroy the healthy, yet fragile ecosystem.

“If you put that road through, it’s going to have irreparable damage to the wetlands that need protection,” Hobus said.

“To turn around and say that you can protect the species and build at the same time – most of us think it’s a lot of nonsense.”

Technoparc Montreal representatives disagree.

“[Environment and industry] can co-exist very easily if we’re taking the proper measures to protect them and that’s what we’re doing by protecting 46 per cent of the land,” Baillargeon said.

The lawyer representing the Sierra Club, Ricardo Hrtschan, recommended Technoparc Montreal focus on the unused buildings.

“Technoparc wants to make an industrial park inside an industrial park that is already partially vacant, right next to the Côte-de-Liesse industrial park which is largely vacant,” Hrtschan said.

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“It would cost them less money to buy some empty buildings or a whole block in the Côte-de-Liesse park and make it ecologically friendly as a showcase of how we do environmental and industrial marriage.”

Baillargeon said building a new road will help attract new business.

“We know that there’s an interest of specific companies into clean tech and nano tech,” Baillargeon said.

Meanwhile the Technoparc said it’s already satisfied environmental requirements set out by the government and insisted it is ready to start surveying the land in the coming weeks.

The Sierra Club is sending a letter demanding government action.

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