Protestors against deforestation of the White Oak Forest in Île-Perrot say their calls have been ignored by the municipal and provincial government, as clear-cutting has continued over the last two weeks to make room for a major housing project.
Now in a last ditch effort, Quebec Green Party leader Alex Tyrrell organized a second protest against the development. “The trees have already been cut down, they’re blasting the rocks apart — it’s really one minute to midnight here,” he said.
Roughly 30 protestors gathered outside MP Peter Schiefke’s Vaudreuil-Dorion office on Sunday. They are urging Schiefke, the minister of environment’s parliamentary secretary, to get the minister to sign an emergency protection order.
“The species at risk act gives the federal minister of environment the power to sign an order to protect critical habitat of endangered species,” said Tyrrell. “In this case, we have the western chorus frog.”
If the minister signs the order, the development would be stopped and other habitats of the endangered frog in Île-Perrot would be protected.
Activists say it would save what’s left of the amphibian’s habitat, as well as the biodiversity of the green space.
“There’s only two forests like this one in all of Quebec because it contains rare different types of trees, like the white oaks,” said Animal Rights and Environmental Activist Sandra Gajdos.
Gajdos moved her family to Île-Perrot 13 years ago to be closer to nature, but over time she said it vanished. “Since I moved there we’ve noticed more forests disappearing, more and more trees being cut and this makes me extremely sad and angry.”
Residents like Gajdos who refuse to stand by and watch the destruction of the white oak forest said more needs to be done by all levels of government to protect the remaining green spaces in the area from future development.
MP Peter Schiefke did not respond to a request from Global News in time for our deadline.