The contested future of the l’Anse-à-l’Orme Nature Park in Pierrefonds is one step closer to being determined after it was announced on Monday that a public consultation has been scheduled for March 26 at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.
The aim is for Montreal’s Office of Public Consultation (OCPM) to recommend whether the park should be developed or maintained as is.
Lisa Mintz is an environmental activist with the group Savons L’-Anse-à-l’Orme who are opposed to the proposed project that could see over 6,000 homes constructed in the park.
Mintz said the group will present her findings at the public consultation.
“We’ve been expecting it,” she said. “And we have been preparing for it.”
However, Mintz added she believed the city rigged the process in favour of land developers.
“They’ve limited what the OCPM can do and made this hearing specifically about two small wetlands out of the six wetlands.
Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis disagrees with Mintz’s assertion.
“I think to say from the beginning that’s it’s stacked is not the way to go about it,” Beis said. “I don’t think it’s the right attitude to have.”
The mayor maintained that in order to keep families on the island Montreal, L’Anse-à-l’Orme needs to have development.
“We’ve always believed that this sector, as it was identified way back, that it was developable,” Beis said. “We believe that it can be done responsibly.”
But not everyone on the Pierrefonds-Roxboro council agrees with the mayor.
Coun. Justine McIntyre is opposed to developing the park.
In her opinion, the zoning bylaws will favour the developers in the end because in 2007, the borough made changes to the status of the agricultural land despite recommendations from the OPCM to hold off on the decision.
“Everything that used to be agricultural land in in Pierrefonds West was dezoned and is now residential and this is why the game is stacked.”
OPCM President Dominique Ollivier recommended that all sides come and present their views.
A decision on what will happen with the park may not be known until 2018.