Bird lovers in the St-Laurent borough are calling on an industrial park to reconsider developing on wetlands they claim have some of the richest biodiversity on the Island of Montreal.
Construction of the Éco Campus Hubert Reeves, an incubator for young cleantech firms, is set to start next month on a piece of undeveloped land just north of Trudeau airport.
This would expand the current Technoparc Montreal, where companies like Bombardier, 3M and Hewlett Packard have offices.
The wetlands have recently become a favourite spot for birdwatchers like Joel Coutu, who is leading efforts to halt construction.
"It's a complete marsh. There are nesting birds, we found fish, so it's worth having a second look at the development plans," Coutu told CBC News.
"I'm a little concerned that we have a beautiful paradise here and it's been overlooked."
Coutu claims that 160 species of birds have been spotted at the land, and that 70 species are nesting there.
The development plans have been given the green light by Quebec's Environment Ministry. Carl Baillargeon, director of communications and marketing of the Technoparc, says the plans would preserve part of the natural area and avoid the main marsh.
An observation deck would also be built to allow nature lovers to see the land up close.
"It's a sensitive wetland, which is why we're making sure we're preserving 46 per cent of the land," Baillargeon said. "It will be the first industrial park in Canada to be integrated into an eco territory."
But Coutu says even if they build around the marsh, it'll disrupt animals' habitats.
Leaders of the Technoparc will meet with conservationists later this month to better hear their concerns, Baillargeon said.