The NDP is calling on the federal government to protect a vast greenspace north of Trudeau airport.
With the prime minister having promised to preserve 30 per cent of Canadian land by 2030, advocates say the wildlife oasis in the centre of the city is the perfect place to start.
Joanne Boismenu regularly visits this sprawling greenspace by the Technoparc in Saint Laurent.
She’s one of many who bring their cameras, take a walk and try to spot one of the hundreds of bird and animal species there.
“It’s a beautiful place,” said Joanne Boismenu, a birder who was walking through the area with her camera.
With its neighbours being an airport and an industrial park, development is a constant threat. Just a few months ago, construction on the REM was responsible for draining an entire marsh.
Boismenu says she watched birds struggle.
“They were on the branch, no water at their feet, nothing to eat. It was very sad to see,” she recounted.
Events like that are why Montreal NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice is calling on the federal government to protect the greenspace.
He wrote a letter to new environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, and transport minister, Omar Alghabra, demanding they take action.
“The Liberals promise that they will commit to a 30 by 30, meaning protecting 30 per cent of the land and territories by 2030. Why not start here? Why not start on the island?” Boulerice told Global News in an interview.
Most of the green land is under federal control, and Boulerice wants the government to turn it into a park or protected territory. The airport may allow the construction of a new mask manufacturing plant on part of the the greenspace.
“Why destroy a natural habitat of more than 200 birds and an important place for the monarch butterfly? If we are coherent in our will to protect nature and the species, we must act. Companies can go elsewhere,” said Boulerice.
Advocate Katherine Collin appreciates the NDP’s gesture
“It’s very gratifying to see this continued interest in protecting the site,” said Collin, an organizer with Technoparc Oiseaux.
Just last week a rare scissor-tailed flycatcher appeared at the Technoparc greenspace, captivating dozens of eager birdwatchers.
“We just want to make sure that this is a space that is conserved in perpetuity and not in parcels,” said Collin. She worries about gradual destruction of biodiversity in the area.
The federal environment ministry could not respond to questions about Boulerice’s letter by deadline.