Brigitte Watson has been going to the greenspace along Fairview Ave., in Pointe-Claire for almost every weekend, for nearly two years. She’s one of many Pointe-Claire residents who have dedicated their time to protecting the area, known as the Fairview forest.
But she and others have noticed some differences at the edge of the green space on Fairview avenue.
“We came and we investigated and we discovered trees had been cut, brush had been cleared away, and we had no idea why,” said Watson.
The green space is owned by Cadillac Fairview, which announced back in 2020 their billion-dollar plan of turning the green space and its adjacent parking lot into a downtown for the West Island.
Back in May, Pointe-Claire’s city council adopted an interim control by-law, which placed a temporary development freeze on certain areas in the city, including the green space.
In June, the Montreal Metropolitan Community Council, also adopted a bylaw to protect more green space and wetlands in the greater Montreal area. That bylaw covered the forest.
The problem, Watson says, is that both of those bylaws have exclusions, which she says allows Cadillac Fairview to work around the rules.
She and Pointe-Claire mayor Tim Thomas have reason to believe the changes were made to make room for the company to build a fence around the forest, in an effort to block access to the space.
“They’re cutting a whole bunch of small trees to create a fence to block the forest and let everybody know. It’s a muscle flex, simple as that,” said Thomas.
In an email to Global News, Cadillac Fairview said it is in compliance with all applicable regulations. When pressed about what that meant or elaborate, a spokesperson declined.
Watson says even if a fence does go up, it won’t stop here. She and others will continue to fight for the survival of the space.