About 200 people rallied near Saint-Bruno to make another push to save a wooded area from a luxury housing development.

The six-hectare forest, called Hirondelles Woods, is considered an important home for wildlife by environmentalists, and one of the few remaining spots for an endangered plant, the wild ginseng.

Protesters want Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel to nix the project, which would subdivide the forest  — about the size of nine football fields — to build 30 luxury homes.

This plan was authorized in 2011 by the former administration of St-Bruno-de-Montarville, under Claude Benjamin.

hirondelles rally

Hirondelles Woods is a six-hectare area flanking Mont Saint-Bruno. (Radio-Canada)

The land is currently owned by Liberal Senator Paul Massicotte and his development company, Sommet Prestige. The company has all the permits it needs, except for one: approval from the Quebec Environment Ministry.

Although Heurtel said the ministry is still evaluating the project and nothing has been decided yet, sources told Radio-Canada the plan will likely be approved under several conditions:

  • That it preserve 60 per cent of the forest canopy.

  • That it create buffer zones and fence off certain areas.

  • That it transplant some of the wild ginseng elsewhere on Mont Saint-Bruno.
With files from Radio-Canada