Montreal

Pierrefonds development project prompts activists to file 2nd lawsuit

A group of citizens and environmental activists on Montreal’s West Island has filed an injunction for the second time in a bid to save a piece of land it wants protected in L’Anse-à-l’Orme nature park.

Citizens say city didn’t go through proper channels for plan to build 5,500 new homes in l'Anse-à-l'Orme park

When the project was announced in June, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the project balances environmental considerations with the need for more housing on the island. (CBC)

A group of citizens and environmental activists on Montreal's West Island has filed an injunction for the second time in a bid to save a piece of land in L'Anse-à-l'Orme Nature Park it says should be protected .

"When we develop a natural area, in an area that's really got some special habitats for threatened and endangered animals, then we really have to put a value on that land," said Susan Stacho, a member of the group called Sauvons l'Anse-à-l'Orme.

The group filed its first injunction in June, when municipal officials unveiled plans for a vast development project in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, including more than 5,500 new homes on a nearly untouched stretch of land in the western part of the borough.

Under the plan, from a total area of 365 hectares of grassland and wilderness, 180 hectares is to be added to the l'Anse-à-l'Orme nature park, while 185 hectares is to be developed.

In addition to the new homes, the development is to feature shops, offices, schools and parks.

The group now filed another court order to stop the project, this time saying the city has already built a road without getting permission to fill in a wetland.

"They would have needed a 'certificat d'autorisation' — a certificate of authorization — from the environment ministry and, to get that, they would almost certainly have had to have gone through the BAPE (public consultation) process. They did none of that," said lawyer and environmentalist Campbell Stuart.

Stuart attended Monday night's borough council meeting and told the councillors about a petition with 4,500 signatures to stop the project.

Meanwhile, the latest lawsuit is asking the court to order the City of Montreal to return the land to its original state, claiming that the land is environmentally sensitive and that the city did not follow the law.

City officials told CBC that they are waiting to see a copy of the lawsuit before commenting.

Back in June when the plan was announced, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said that the development plan struck a balance between sustainable development and environmental protection.

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