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Controversy swirls in Baie-D’Urfé over proposed daycare

WATCH: Controversy is brewing in Montreal's West Island. Some residents of Baie D'Urfé are worried about the proposed location of a new daycare centre. The centre would be located on a large piece of green space enjoyed by citizens. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, the community is divided over the plans.

A proposal to build a new daycare in Baie-D’Urfé is stirring a huge controversy in the small West Island municipality.

The town voted in favour of allowing a daycare for 80 children to be built at the intersection of Westchester and Stafford streets.

People living in the area argue it’s a terrible spot because it will create a lot of traffic on quiet residential streets.

“Imagine, the construction, the parking lot, full of cars, the traffic,” Maria Ilvarez said. “So, why don’t you chose some other place that is not where we enjoy every day?”

READ MORE: Pointe-Claire residents irked by plans to chop down trees to build bus route

The Baie-D’Urfé resident uses the green space as part of her jogging route. She argues it doesn’t make any sense to build at this site.

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Others in the neighbourhood say they were never consulted and worry if the project gets the green light what that could mean for other green spaces.

“If we build a daycare or anything else on a green space — it will be a precedent and we could have any other kind of building on other green spaces,” Françoise Girard told Global News.

Many residents and the town agree there is a need for a new daycare. Whiteside Taylor, the only existing public daycare in the area, is full and there is a waiting list of about 50 children.

The controversy mostly stems around the location. Some are calling for an extension to Whiteside Taylor, while others say the town’s industrial park makes more sense.

The Town Planning Advisory Committee doesn’t recommend a new daycare but the mayor argues that is wrong given that town council has been supporting a new daycare for more than a decade.

“It’s a no-brainer that we need a daycare. Since 2008 at least four councils have agreed that we need a daycare,” Mayor Maria Tutino told Global News.

Tutino argues the proposed sight makes sense because it’s close to some of the services that can benefit the children including the public library, an outdoor pool and the Fritz Farm community centre.

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While Tutino says some green space would be lost with the proposed daycare, the town still boasts five times more green space per resident than recommendations made by the city of Montreal.

“Do we value green space? Absolutely. Do I value green space? Absolutely,” she said.

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One mother of four sympathizes with how some residents feel about a daycare near their homes but she says the proposed site makes sense.

“We wouldn’t be able to get those same activities for the kids if the location was up near the highway or in the industrial park,” said Brenda LaBar.

Baie-D’Urfé will hold public consultations on the proposed site in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Child care costs in Canada: The most and least expensive cities