NDG residents allege lack of consultation, deplore tree-cutting at Saint-Jacques escarpment

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Residents deplore lack of consultation and tree-cutting at St-Jacques escarpment
WATCH: Some Notre-Dame-de-Grace residents are enraged over the latest plans for a green space next to the Turcot interchange. As global’s Phil Carpenter reports, opponents argue the transport ministry failed to consult them about recent changes and about the hundreds of trees that are set to be cut – Nov 27, 2020

Some Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) residents are enraged by new plans for the Saint-Jacques escarpment next to the Turcot interchange.

On Thursday, the transport ministry publicly revealed its final concept of the green strip at the foot of the escarpment, a wooded area between Sainte- Jacques Street and the Turcot interchange.

Hours before that, Lisa Mintz, who runs Save the Falaise, a group dedicated to protecting the green space, said ministry representatives met with her group.

Mintz is furious.

“Nobody was consulted,” she fumed.  “Meeting us in the morning on the same day you’re gonna make it public is not a consultation.”

For the construction of the new interchange, the transport ministry cut down hundreds of trees in the area.  To make up for that they were ordered to create a green belt along the interchange.

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“So the MTQ (Ministry of Transport) came up with this beautiful plan that has bike paths and water and little nichoirs,” she said.

After public consultations with the community a plan was revealed in 2018, so Mintz said she was surprised Thursday by what the ministry presented.

“They said that they had to change the entire plan because of the way the water tables were, and because of that they’re gonna have to cut down 500 trees,” she told Global News.

That’s something members of her group, one of several that have been fighting for a green space in the area of the interchange, say makes no sense.  They want to know how felling 500 more trees makes up for the 200 that were cut down to start with.

“The reasons exactly for the redesign and for the number of trees that have to be cut really haven’t been justified,” group member David Gamper claimed.

In the plan, the ministry of transport says that between 400 and 600 trees will have to be cut.  The plan says “this work is necessary in order to facilitate maintenance, ensure adequate drainage and guarantee, in the long term, the stability of the Saint-Jacques cliff as well as of the mound of the green strip.”

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The plan also calls for the removal of wetlands from the concept saying maintaining it would lead to even more deforestation.

Mintz’s group is demanding a pause

“I would like all cutting work to be stopped until we look at this,” said Mintz, and I would like some consultations.”

Gamper agrees.

“This is one of the last remaining areas in this area, more or less natural woodland,” he told Global News.

The group is planning a protest this weekend to put further pressure on the provincial government.

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