• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s lauded for protecting green spaces in north sector


Sophie Broad, a 13-year-old Ste. Anne de Bellevue resident from the city’s north sector, told urban planning committee members about the importance of preserving as much green space as possible to enable future generations of children to explore and play in the woods.

At least one Ste. Anne de Bellevue resident is very pleased with the city’s intent to preserve as much green space as possible within in its north sector, even though it’ll require a delicate balance between conservation and future development requirements to make sure everything proceeds as planned. That was the essence of the message that was delivered during a public meeting May 20 to present the city’s long-awaited urban plan for the north at École du Bout de L’Île before about 75 people, who sat and listened to the presentation and later lined up to ask questions, including 13-year-old Sophie Broad.

It’s not that Broad wasn’t pleased about the city’s proposal to preserve a large parcel of agricultural land next to the L’Anse à l’Orme nature park. Or that the city will build green buffer zones, to provide more natural coverage in proposed residential developments that will add about 400 new houses ranging in price from $350,000 to $1 million. For Broad and her friends, the most important aspect of the plan was to keep as much of Ste. Anne as green as possible within its environmental mosaic because it’s a wonderful natural playground for all the children who live in the sector.

She was adamant in her stance and waited patiently in line during question period to make sure she was heard. Broad told the committee members that lots of kids have an opinion too and that she likes to go exploring the forest with her friends. “I decided to come to see what’s going to happen because I think it’s very important for everyone to know. Even kids should be entitled to express their opinions,” said Broad. “A lot of kids go to the woods,” Broad later told Your Local Journal. “They build forts and have fun. If we destroy all the forests, less kids will go outside because there will be more industries and less places for kids to play. We like to explore the woods, and if it’s all gone, then what’s the point?”

By preserving green spaces, it gives children more things to do rather than always being indoors playing with their computers and video games, she said. “Green space is like the most important thing ever,” said Broad. “It helps our planet and if we didn’t have any more trees, we would die. There’s already a lot of construction, plus we’re on an island, so I think we should conserve as much green space possible.”

Mayor Paola Hawa said she was impressed with Broad’s candor and determination to make her viewpoints known.

“Sometimes they’re a lot smarter than the adults,” said Hawa. “They see their future and the type of world they want to live in. We should listen to what they have to say. I think it was the highlight of the evening. I hope all the adults keep in mind that whatever development we have in that area, it’s not for us, it’s for them. “We have to keep the future in mind,” Hawa added.

“This is a development that’s not just about today, it’s about ensuring that Ste. Anne is a good place to live in five, 10, 15, 20 years from now. When Sophie becomes an adult, I want her to be able to live here so that her children can have the same experiences in the woods that she has.” Hawa was pleased with the overall scope of the city’s urban plan which also includes expanding the industrial zone and building a small commercial area. “We gave the citizens all the information and framework to make up their own minds. It’s reasoned, it’s logical and well structured. I feel good about it.,” said Hawa.

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