Quebec 2018 year in review: West Island faces development growing pains

Angell Woods in Beaconsfield, Que., is one of the largest remaining green spaces on the island of Montreal. Tim Sargeant, Global News

This year, issues related to anglo rights and NIMBY — or “not in my back yard” — galvanized public opinion in the West Island.

From the fight to preserve Angell Woods to the mounting opposition to the development of a green urban boulevard, here are the top five West Island stories of 2018:

Historic preservation

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When residents in Pointe-Claire first heard that the city’s iconic Pioneer Bar was set to be demolished to make room for condos, they vowed to fight to save the historic building.

After starting a petition and attending several council meetings, the push to save the century-old building finally paid off.

The city granted a demolition permit, but only on the condition the developer change its design into something more in line with the neighbourhood’s aesthetic.

READ MORE: Pointe-Claire rejects development project to replace the Pioneer

Seeing red over green access road

Click to play video: 'Pierrefonds residents speak out against car-less road announcement'
Pierrefonds residents speak out against car-less road announcement

Pierrefonds residents are upset with plans to build a new urban boulevard. The road would run between Antoine-Faucon Street through to the future Kirkland light rail REM station and Highway 40.

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While a new artery is needed to relieve traffic in the area, residents take issue with the fact that the new access road won’t be open to cars — it will be for public transit, pedestrians and cyclists only.

READ MORE: Pierrefonds residents worry green access road will add to traffic woes

Protecting urban green space

“It’s a huge step towards realizing the dream of protecting Angell Woods,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.

Bourelle was in a celebratory mood last September after learning the City of Montreal had purchased a parcel of land in Angell Woods roughly the size of 35 football fields.

Protecting one of the island’s largest remaining green spaces has been a years-long battle — one that isn’t over yet.

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READ MORE: West Island mayors celebrate Angell Woods land acquisition

Anglo rights

Click to play video: 'New efforts to recruit Anglophones to police forces'
New efforts to recruit Anglophones to police forces

“I planned on doing OPP, but seeing now that the police forces are recruiting more English and bilingual people, my view is more that maybe I want to stay here for all my life,” said anglophone student Austin Epps at a career fair in November.

After being criticized for poor outreach to anglophone students, law enforcement in Quebec made an about-face. Representatives from the Quebec provincial police and Montreal police sent English-speaking representatives and materials to the John Abbott career fair this year.

READ MORE: SPVM and SQ send Anglos to recruit John Abbott Police Tech Students after Global News report

Tragedy strikes quiet residential neighbourhood

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In early November, a residential neighbourhood in Kirkland was shocked by news of a shooting in which a five-year-old child was injured.

The child’s father has since been accused of attempted murder and remains behind bars pending the results of a second psychiatric evaluation.

READ MORE: 2nd psychiatric evaluation requested for Kirkland man accused of trying to kill his children

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