A second green lung for Montreal?

Katherine Colin is 51. But in this forest, near the swamps, Santa Claus looks like a very little girl giving a gift. She trembles when she hears a flap of wings or a song, thinking she recognizes it.

The miracle I feel here, the joy, Says Chekhov Vanier Professor of Literature.

This morning, Kathryn and her companions from the Technopark Oziax Group guide us through the traces of bird watching paradise. Nearly 200 species of birds live nearby. Warblers, red-tailed hawks, teenage mocking birds, birds with beautiful names took refuge in one place.

Katherine Colin

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivano Demers

In the tall grass, a man in a camouflage dress looks at the sky with a sophisticated camera. On the other side of the swamp, a father and his son observe the canopy with their telescopes. It feels like a bird safari.

Not only that, we threw a stone from an industrial park, Technopark Montreal, a REM station under construction and Montreal Airport.

Mount Royal is often said to be the green lung of the city. However, this paradise is frequently visited by amateur ornithologists, who are more than willing to study its anarchic paths from epidemics: more than 200 hectares of wetlands, forests, fields. The second possible green lung in the city.

The idea of ​​turning this into an official park is not recent: elected municipal officials have been talking about it for some time. It is actually possible to do so as 85% of the land is owned by the city and the central government. But, why is this possible second green lung threatening suffocation? Part of the answer can be found on the Montreal Airport page.

The story of a green space, accidentally preserved

In the early 90s, it was the fashion for industrial clusters. In Ville Saint-Laurent, which was still a city at the time, we see the appearance of the Technopark, an industrial park dedicated to research and high technology. We want to attract big companies to the region and create jobs. According to the record, it will be Astra Pharma investing the first $ 33 million to build a research lab.

But behind the buildings that were built over many years, today there are more than a hundred companies, and the land is still untouched by construction. Ornithologists call the municipal department of the unnamed park because almost half of the land on which it is located belongs to the city of Montreal.

Nearby is the Federal Department. 150 hectares. Abandoned golf course. Dorval Golf Course and Woods. Everything is owned by the federal government, but it is managed by the Montreal Airport (ATM). However, according to its master plan, the land is available for development, and the ATM is currently considering allowing it to build a new plant.

Despite his 80s, David Fletcher, a member of the Green Alliance, is furious. We meet him in this federal field of anonymous green lungs in Montreal. This is a big project and it is a crimeThe senior ecologist shouts, pointing to the end of the field flowers where kings come to breed.

Negotiations are actually underway with a company that wants to set up in the northern sector of the airport site., ADM spokeswoman Anne-Sophie confirmed Hemel. He adds it after expert review It was determined that the project was unlikely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or endanger organisms.

At the Department of the Environment in Ottawa, we were told that the ATM could actually move forward with its plans. The presence of kings on this land does not prevent them from building anything. Because, as ministry spokeswoman Samantha Bayard writes, The king is listed as a special concern under Canada’s Species Risk Act (SARA). Now, she continues, A species of special concern does not receive automatic protection under the Act, and important habitats for special interest species have not been identified or protected..

But beyond destroying a habitat a Special concern, The factory project is an awakening call to many because it declares Montreal the second best possible green lung piece, which was certified in 2015 by the David Suzuki Foundation Security is a priority For biodiversity on the island.

The loss of wetlands in 2021, it seems to me unacceptable, Says Katherine Colin sadly, looking at the buccolic landscape King’s Field With concern.

This is not just for bird watchers and environmental activists.

To think that we are going to create industry on green land in 2021 is to be disconnected, not to understand the meaning of the world, Spit on Luke Fernandez, the former mayor of the plateau and former head of the city’s main parks, and is well aware of the issue.

Photo taken at Laurier Park in Montreal.

Luke Ferrantes, former mayor and political columnist of the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal metropolis

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivano Demers

There are industry sectors as far as this field is concerned. Do we still need it? Luke Fernandez asks this question paradoxically, recalling that the federal government has given ADM several hundred million dollars in subsidies for its new REM station. Why not claim this massive public land? He asks.

Luke Fernandez says he supported the candidacy of environmental activist Steven Gilbold during the last federal election, especially if he undertakes to advance a park project in the region. Steven Gilbold has not publicly commented on the file since he was elected, but he has confirmed to us that he knows the file.

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The federal government faced its contradictions

Steven Gilbold was not the only one in the Trudeau government to be aware of the biodiversity potential of these federal lands allocated to ATMs.

For years, the mayor of the city of Saint-Laurent, Alan D’Souza, has called on the Canadian government to take action. It is the owner of the land I speak of, he said. But these steps were a dead letter.

However, last year, during the throne speech, the federal government confirmed the following: Work with municipalities To Increase the number of parks in urban areas.

Upon hearing that, I said to myself: “This is our window to act”, Met with Alan D’Souza, in front of a desk in his sprawling office in City Hall, where maps have emerged that show he could become the biggest park he has dreamed of in a long time.

Mayor D'Souza at the entrance to his county townhall.

Mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan D’Souza.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Alan D’Souza wrote a letter to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson contacting Minister Melanie Jolie, asking him to contact Airports de Montreal.

The minister’s letter at least included this good news: the ATM tried to create an ecological reserve north of the airport, and it was done. Last April, the ATM created 18.5 hectares of land around the habitat of a dangerous creature, Least Bitter. Although the ATM has created this unique space for the benefit of the community, it is not planned to change the primary occupation of the remaining land, which should be available to ensure the development of future operations at the airport., However ADM’s Anne-Sophie Hamil writes.

Airports de Montreal, which has expressed interest in preserving what we want, recognizes the death of Alan de Sous, but it is small: 18.5 hectares out of a possible hundred hectares. Personally, I think you should have the ambition to achieve a beautiful project, if not a little bit, this place will be developed, and something that is currently a place of integrity and wholeness will disappear like the skin of grief.

Alan D’Souza insists that there is no such opportunity anywhere else in the metro area. This park project is a golden opportunity for everyone, at a low cost, as the lands are already public. Imagine, he dreams, people come to the airport and find themselves in the woods at a terminal REM station, where Montreal people can go out into the woods and bird watching without taking their cars.

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Alan D’Souza believes this idea of ​​a park is right, he contacted his political opponent, who is in charge of large parks in plant management, but the reason for it is Robert Buddy.

Photo taken in front of Montreal City Hall in Quebec.

City Councilor Robert Poudry.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivano Demers

He confirmed to us in an interview that the city wants to zoom in on the park project in this corner of the metropolis, as much as possible, since 2012. We are establishing a strategy to buy our land, but we need to establish a comprehensive strategy with the central government., Says Robert Poudry.

The City adopted a resolution last April, it says Sources urge the federal government to support the preservation of the Dorval golf course and its adjoining grounds in order to create a greener structure that will enhance the nature park project., The proposed name of the park since 2012.

We wrote to the Department of Transportation in Ottawa to find out if the federal government was asking.

The answer is the sound of locusts. In essence, we return the ball to ADM.

Transport Canada will not be involved in the decisions made within the Airport Authority’s business activities, Wrote to us from the office of the Minister of Transport.

But the ATM does not go out and returns the ball to the federal government: ADM does not own the land where YUL and YMX airports are located. Therefore in no case can it be decided to hand over the land to a third party or to change its occupation without first getting the approval of the Minister of Transport (Transport Canada)., The airport spokesman wrote to us.

Katherine Colin has been watching the green space decay for years. Thousands of trees were cut down, swamps withered, and a few years ago roads were built that could accommodate new parking lots that once housed large herons. She has a sad heart.

Little ducks slide behind their mothers in the swamp. A red mockingbird has now landed on a branch. Katherine embraces the scenery.

The small family slides on the surface of the water

Female crowned mercenary and her cubs

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivano Demers

It would be a great sadness in my life if nothing was done to protect this nature that has lost so much comfort and refuge to us. But that has nothing to do with me. After all, this would be a huge loss for Montreal and a disaster for the birds.

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