Protesters call for Transport Ministry to halt plans to cut down trees in Saint-Jacques Escarpment

The protest, led by advocacy group Sauvons la Falaise, consisted of around a dozen people.
The Saint-Jacques Escarpment is slated to become a public park, Friday, February 5, 2016. Michelle Pucci

Demonstrators in NDG on Saturday urged Quebec’s Ministry of Transport to press pause on its plan to fell 500 trees along a natural escarpment near Highway 20.

The protest, led by advocacy group Sauvons la Falaise, consisted of around a dozen people. Founder Lisa Mintz said the protest comes after years of back-and-forth with the ministry, which is attempting to create a 30-metre-wide “bande verte” to make up for cutting down 200 trees in a different area of the escarpment back in 2015.

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

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“Unfortunately, what’s happened is they’re going to cut down 500 more trees and take a lot of these 30 metres out of the Falaise,” she told Global News. “And, also, they’re supposed to be creating a wetlands at the bottom of the Falaise, there’s already a natural wetlands…instead, the Ministry of Transport is digging a big ditch.”

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She said her organization was only informed of the ministry’s plans “about five hours” before it was announced, and no public consultations were carried out.

The ministry said in the text of the plan that “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.”

The Quebec Ministry of Transport did not immediately return a request for comment from Global News.

Mintz says when she pressed the ministry for further information about the project, she said she was told to file an Access to Information request.

“It takes approximately 22 months, so, um, the trees would be gone by then.”

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