Some Pincourt residents say Rousseau Forest is one of the best things about living in the town.
“The reason why we bought here in Pincourt was for all the greens we have,” former Canadian Olympics triathlete Kathy Tremblay told Global News.
Her family’s home is right next to the forest.
Yet, she and other residents are afraid that possible plans to develop the forest will destroy one of the last remaining green spaces in the area.
“We have determined that there’s a lot of species in here,” said Shelagh McNally, who is part of a group trying to stop the development.
“It’s jam-packed. This is the last wetland in this area.”
The land is privately owned.
It’s about four-and-a-half hectares and has been zoned for development for decades, but area residents have been using it as a park.
“It’s a place where my grandchildren grew up playing,” said Carole Reed.
Also important, she points out, are the wildlife that use it as a refuge.
As green space shrinks, there is less and less space for the wildlife that call the area home.
“Over the years of development, what has happened is that the wildlife has become concentrated in this forest,” said Reed.
“So, we have species in here that are protected and threatened.”
Those opposed to any development say the municipality should do more to protect it.
“Biologists are calling it a gem,” added McNally, “referring to it as a Noah’s Ark.”
Municipal Coun. Claudine Girouard-Morel claims the town is committed to preserving green space in the community.
“We are waiting for the results of a biological study that the town ordered,” said Girouard-Morel.
The town commissioned the study in August and expects the results in a few weeks.
But those fighting the development say a proper study would have taken much longer.
They are hoping to put a stop to any planned development so what they consider a proper environmental assessment can be done.