Growing calls for federal government to protect ‘monarch fields’ in Dorval

Click to play video: 'Local politicians and environmentalists rally around monarch butterfly, calling for safeguards on Montreal habitats'
Local politicians and environmentalists rally around monarch butterfly, calling for safeguards on Montreal habitats
WATCH: The Opposition at Montreal City Hall has drafted a motion to shore up protection of the monarch butterfly. Montreal is an important part of its migration and six months ago, the Aeroports de Montreal cut around 6,000 milkweed plants in an adjacent field where they feed. As Global’s Olivia O’Malley explains, the plants will grow back -- and when they do, advocates for the butterfly want to make sure nothing like it happens again. – Aug 15, 2022

Politicians and environmental advocates are joining the pleas to protect one of Montreal’s last remaining urban greenspaces north of Montreal’s Trudeau Airport.

The Aeroport de Montreal leases the 150-hectare land from Transport Canada. In June, environmentalists claim the airport mowed some 6,000 milkweed plants, which are essential for the monarch butterfly’s survival.

Technoparc Oiseaux co-organizer Katherine Collin says the field has yet to return to its normal state.

“[It] should be much taller for its flowering plants than it currently is,” she told Global News.

However, it’s looking much more lush than it did at the end of June. Common milkweed is growing back and according to the citizen group Technoparc Oiseaux, monarch butterflies are reproducing in the area.

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“We’re hopeful in that regard that the monarch fields … can rebound from this real catastrophe of having been razed,” she said.

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Technoparc Oiseaux members are calling on the federal government to protect the land. The group started an online petition that’s garnered over 27,000 signatures on Monday.

“The space cannot really be undervalued for not only its biodiversity but for the ecological services that it gives to citizens,” said Collin.

Montreal’s official opposition is presenting a motion to protect the urban greenspace at next Monday’s city council meeting. They will also send it to Canada’s transportation and environment ministers.

“Protecting a little bit is not the right answer. Protecting the l’ensemble of the whole piece is important, and we hope that they will keep their ears open,” said Alan DeSousa, Saint-Laurent Borough mayor.

In a statement to Global News, the office of federal transportation minister Omar Alghabra says: “protecting the environment is a top priority for our government and we are very aware of the urgency of protecting the monarchs. Ministers Alghabra and Guilbeault met with ADM CEO Philippe Rainville on July 15th to reaffirm our government’s commitment to land protection and the protection of monarch butterflies.

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“The ministers reiterated that the adoption of sustainable land use strategies is a priority for our government.”

Montreal’s mayor says she awaits the tabling of the motion.

“We’ve been quite strong on that file because it is so important to us protecting as many green lands as possible including these ones,” said Valerie Plante.

Local environmentalists say they will keep fighting until the entire area is protected.

Click to play video: 'Conservation group upset over Montreal Technoparc fields razed'
Conservation group upset over Montreal Technoparc fields razed

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