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Quebec environmentalists shocked to find greenspace housing at-risk butterfly species mowed

Click to play video: 'Conservation group upset over Montreal Technoparc fields razed' Conservation group upset over Montreal Technoparc fields razed
WATCH: Environmental conservation advocates that have been working to preserve a Dorval green space say they were shocked to discover the field had been moved this past week. As Olivia O'Malley reports, they say the landscaping has destroyed the habitat of several species of animals – Jul 3, 2022

Conservation groups that have fought to preserve greenspace northwest of Trudeau Airport in Dorval are devastated. They were shocked when they discovered the field had been mowed during the end of June.

“The first thing that came out of my mouth was this place has been massacred,” said Technoparc Oiseaux Member Jim Harris.

He says everything, including bushes up to fix feet tall and roughly 4,000 milkweed plants in the greenspace referred to as monarch fields, was mowed.

Now milkweed plants, which he says are essential for monarch butterflies’ survival, are almost non-existent.

Read more: Quebec environmentalists claim victory after plug pulled on Technoparc plant development

Aéroports de Montréal leases the land from the federal government.

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Technoparc Oiseaux claims the airport mowed all 19 hectares. When its members asked for an explanation, they say the airport said it was routine maintenance. It’s something Harris says hasn’t been done since at least 2012.

“There’s been none of this type of maintenance work done. It was just left to re-wild,” he told Global News.

The Trudeau Airport did not comment by our deadline.

Environmentalists say monarchs are not the only species whose habitat is destroyed. They say small bushes that were razed, are typically home to birds currently nesting.

“It’s horrendous. It’s just absolutely unconscionable what’s happened here,” said David Fletcher, Green Coalition Spokesperson.

Read more: Rare Texas bird spotted at Dorval Technoparc has some pointing to climate change

This comes months after a company withdrew its plans to build a mask-manufacturing plant in the monarch fields. Both Technopark Oiseaux and Green Coalition fought against the plan to protect the green space.

Now, they are reiterating their calls for the government to fully protect the space, that is zoned industrial, from development.

“If you want to build here, maybe there’s somewhere near somewhere else nearby that you can build as well,” said Harris.

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Technoparc Oiseaux says it will be contacting Canada’s Environment Minister in the coming days.

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