Promote wildlife: don’t use condominiums

Last weekend, organizers from the Committee for the protection of Anse a l’Orme successfully executed an event that got Sainte Anne de Bellevue residents all fired up to save one of their local eco-territories (one of 10 in Montreal).

Sandwiched between Kirkland, Senneville, Sainte Anne’s and Pierrefonds, a 95 hectare tract of regenerating forest in the Anse a l’Orme eco territory was put up for sale to developers by the Societe Generale de Financement (SGF – a profit seeking branch of the Quebec Ministry of economics), much to the horror of local conservation groups and Sainte Anne’s council.

Because this region of land is  contradictorily classified as both for conservation and for  industry, resident tax payers decided that their dollars should go to protecting the land.

The call for land tender that the SGF published in local Montreal newspapers on June 14 expires August 16. The public action that took place last weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.

In the style of the ‘old West, residents signed up to stake their claim in the disputed piece of land during the weekly Sainte Anne’s farmer’s market in the name of conservation.

That same afternoon, over a dozen people gathered at the junction of highway 40’s Morgan exit and Chemin Sainte Marie to hammer their stakes in the ground. In the background hung an enormous home-made sign “Ecoterritory, NOT condos.”

This is what democracy looks like. The CBC and CTV weekend broadcast reporters came to document citizens in action.

Residents have not resigned the notion that green spaces have more inherent value than the short term profits that condominiums and industry provide. Some people even came specifically to the market to participate in the event.

Sainte Anne de Bellevue turns around enough profit from its enormous, tucked-away industrial zone. Why does it need to remove more forest land, fragmenting  valuable  wildlife habitat. Once it is paved over, the damage is irreversible.

This is  hopefully  the pressure that the SGF needs to step down from their profiteering plans. It’s technically fine to build condos, but it’s just plain wrong to build on designated conservation land. Seriously.

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