Residents fighting to save green space in Saint-Lazare

Click to play video: 'Protecting green space in Saint-Lazare' Protecting green space in Saint-Lazare
WATCH: Saint-Lazare residents are concerned about a proposed residential development in the area. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, some worry the off-island suburb isn't doing enough to protect green space – Oct 8, 2018

A group of Saint-Lazare residents are digging in their heels and preparing for a long fight to save about 90 acres of forested land from development,

“I’m frustrated at the lack of transparency,” Rachel Solyom told Global News.

READ MORE: Sprucing up of NDG escarpment highlights need for more green spaces

Solyom argues a proposed housing project that would allow up to 35 single family homes with space for horses, barns and paddocks is too large for the piece of property just off of Chemin du Fief.

Residents say it also threatens wildlife in the area and say the town’s drinking water on the same piece of land that’s slated for development.

“It’s impossible to know what the impact would be of passing multiple roads though here, of having wells dug, or septic systems put in,” Solyom said.

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They also argue the size of the development will also increase traffic in an area largely used by equestrians.

“The possible liability of an accident because where he’s placed his horse trail and the roads is a big concern for safety,” said Corry Terfloth.

David Hill, who lives in the area, also worries that the project — while only impacting a small part of Saint-Lazare — could create a precedent for more development down the road.

“We came here because of the quality of life, the quality of air and quality of environment,” he said. “And as a parent it concerns me deeply because I think we’re taking this away from our children.”

READ MORE: Activists work to save downtown Montreal green space from destruction

Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo, however, said that’s not true. In a conversation with Global News, he says only 20 per cent of the forest will be lost in proposed development.

He said the town has a strict conservation policy that is also being followed.

“We have a conservation plan which limits the deforestation, probably the strictest one of all of Quebec,” he said.

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Residents say they plan to continue fighting to save the green space at the next town council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

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