Environmental activists gathered on Friday to celebrate the announcement of a new major urban park in the West Island.
Mayor Valérie Plante unveiled her intentions last week to create the enormous green space in Pierrefonds and Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
“This decision by the Plante administration shows us that we’ve been heard,” said Campbell Stuart, member of Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook. “That we can have an impact on decisions made by our government and gives me hope that if we keep up our fight, we can create even more change to preserve our planet.”
Despite the welcomed news, environmentalist are asking the mayor to do more.
“We vow to keep together to insure one hundred per cent of the corridor is protected,” said Sue Stacho, co-founder of Sauvons L’Anse-à -L’Orme.
Stacho has been fighting with developers since 2015 — and the fight, she said, is far from over.
“All of it needs to be protected; we don’t think there’s room for any development there,” she said, “if we want to preserve the integrity of all of the wet lands and the meadows.”
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On Friday, near City Hall, members of the Sauvons L’Anse-à -L’Orme group proposed a map of what the park could potentially look like.
“The potential, the use of that area and what can be done,” said Stacho. “How many ways we can enjoy it, how many different sites there are to see, unique areas that can be visited and how important it is to protect certain areas just for diversity.”
“L’Anse-à -L’Orme won’t save the planet, but it will sure add a great deal of satisfaction to the minds of Montrealers,” said David Fletcher, spokesperson for the Green Coalition Party.
According to Lisa Mintz, Green party candidate for Pierrefonds-Dollard-des-Ormeaux, housing is not a priority — the climate is.
“People can live in lots of places, but if we don’t have air to breathe, there’s going to be a problem,” said Mintz.
“Building in the park would be a bad idea,” Luca Paquin, a young boy who lives in the area, said. “Not only because of pollution but for the endangered animals — it would be like destroying their homes.”
Activists are asking the mayor to follow in the footsteps of the others cities and declare a climate emergency.
“There’s about 133 municipalities and 17 countries who have themselves declared a climate emergency. Canada has declared this climate emergency but it also helps to do it at the municipal level,” said Dan Reid, member of Sierra Club Quebec.
The city will hold public consultations for the great park of the west in the fall.