A group of West Island mayors were in celebration mode Monday morning, claiming victory after the city bought a sprawling section of Beaconsfield’s Angell Woods.
“It’s a huge step towards realizing the dream of protecting Angell Woods,” said Beaconsfield mayor Georges Bourelle.
Angell Woods is one of the largest green spaces left on the island. The total area measures 100 hectares, or the equivalent of 200 football fields.
The new parcel of land is roughly the size of 35 football fields.
Other West Island mayors joined Beaconsfield in celebrating.
“It’s a big victory. It’s been on the books for years,” said Kirkland mayor Michel Gibson.
“We’ve been fighting for 15 years now; it’s a great step forward,” said Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue mayor Paola Hawa.
“(Montreal mayor) Valerie Plante’s team is keeping to her word. She wants to protect green spaces and that’s what she’s doing,” said Pointe-Claire mayor John Belvedere.
Bourelle gave a lot of credit to Plante and her team, including Plateau-Mont-Royal mayor Luc Ferrandez.
A similar $3.5-million deal was reached in 2015 with another set of landowners during Denis Coderre’s time as mayor of Montreal. Environmentalists don’t believe this latest deal would have happened if not for Plante.
“We don’t think so,” said David Fletcher of the Green Coalition. “The Coderre administration did not take seriously the connection between sustainability and conservation.”
“I think Projet Montreal have certainly had on their agenda a longtime green space and the protection of green space so perhaps they’re giving it a bit more emphasis,” said Bourelle.
Forty per cent of Angell Woods is still owned by Yale Properties, another private developer. It’s involved in a long, complicated legal dispute, which the city hopes will end in them acquiring that piece of land, too.
“We are willing buyers, but you need to have a willing seller,” said Bourelle.
As the mayors celebrated, the owner of the most recently acquired land told Global News the sale has not yet been closed.