Projet Montréal wants to build city’s first urban national park in Pierrefonds

With public hearings starting Tuesday for the future of the Pierrefonds-West green space, it seems residential developers are up against environmentalists to decide the future of the land.

Now, a new suggestion has been added to the list.

Montreal’s official opposition proposed the creation of the city’s first urban national park, offering year-round recreational and touristic activities.

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    “The province of Quebec hasn’t created a national park in the Greater Montreal area for over 30 years,” said Projet Montréal Leader Valérie Plante.

    “Such an infrastructure would ensure the long-term preservation of this unique natural space in Montreal.”

    READ MORE: Public information sessions start for controversial l’Anse-à-l’Orme development in Pierrefonds

    The green space has been a hotly debated issue over the last few months.

    While environmentalists want the nature park left alone, development plans on the table include a 5,500 residence project built on a 185-hectare area.

    The borough sees it as a way to keep working families in Montreal.

    Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis backed the idea in March, saying “it was identified way back” that the land could be developed and that “it can be done responsibly.”

    Yet, not everyone on the Pierrefonds-Roxboro council agrees with the mayor.

    READ MORE: Hundreds protest at Montreal City Hall to save Pierrefonds green space

    Councillor Justine McIntyre said she is opposed to developing the park as the zoning bylaws will favour the developers in the end.

    In 2007, the borough made changes to the status of the agricultural land, despite recommendations from Montreal’s Office of Public Consultation (OCPM) to hold off on the decision.

    “Everything that used to be agricultural land in Pierrefonds West was dezoned and is now residential and this is why the game is stacked,” McIntyre said.

    Projet Montréal representatives explained they hope to win over environmentalists with the possibility of a national park.

    READ MORE: Environmentalists warn l-Anse-à-l’Orme eco territory threatened by light rail project

    “A new urban national park on the island would not only respond to a need, but would also send a strong signal in favour of the protection and preservation of our green spaces,” said Eric Alan Caldwell, the party’s urban planning spokesperson.

    He explained other national parks around Montreal like Oka, Îles-de-Boucherville, and Mont-Saint-Bruno are filled to capacity with over 1.7 million annual visits.

    The creation of a Pierrefonds-West national park would consolidate 16 square kilometres of territory, encompassing the Morgan Arboretum, the Bois-de-la-Roche Agricultural Park, l’Anse-à-l’Orme, and the Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park.

    The party’s leader said the area would almost be equivalent to Îles-de-Boucherville and Mont-Saint-Bruno combined.

    “It is up to us to protect them for future generations and to ensure that our families will continue to enjoy them in the years to come,” she said.

    “We want all Montrealers to benefit from these pristine natural areas.”

    Public hearings on the future of the land begin Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Pierrefonds-Roxboro City Hall.

    Hearing Schedule

    All public hearings are taking place at Pierrefonds-Roxboro City Hall (13664 Pierrefonds Blvd.):

    May 2 – 7 p.m.May 8 – 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.May 9 – 7 p.m.May 10 – 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.May 11 – 1 p.m.May 15 – 1.p.m. and 7 p.m.

    For more information, click here.

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