Ste. Anne council asked to preserve all of L’Anse-à-l’Orme from development
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa listens to environmental activist Don Hobus from Sauvons L’Anse-à-l’Orme as he asks whether council would consider the possibility of preserving all the land within the nature reserve.
The City of Ste. Anne de Bellevue was called on again to consider stopping all future development of the L’Anse-à-l’Orme nature reserve on its territory by environmental activist Don Hobus during question period at the Monday evening council meeting, February 8.
What concerns Hobus is a resolution adopted by council to hire a new consulting firm to prepare the final Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) for its future development plans which could include recommendations for the development of industrial and commercial corridors within L’Anse-à-l’Orme.
Hobus told Mayor Paola Hawa he was relieved that a different consulting firm has been hired than the firm that prepared the first brief that was presented to residents last May during a public information session, saying he welcomed the decision because he felt there could have been some bias if the original firm was involved in producing the new and final PPU.
During the information session, the draft PPU indicated that new commercial and industrial development would have to adhere to specific guidelines regarding the green corridor that comprises of the L’Anse-à-l’Orme in order to preserve as much green space as possible while allowing for smaller clusters of development rather than imposing wide swaths of land for development.
But Hobus remains concerned that when the final PPU is presented to council for approval, the town will still be given a green light to proceed with development within L’Anse-à-l’Orme that were highlighted in the previous PPU.
“Would the mandate given to the new consulting firm be made public?” asked Hobus. “In the resolution, you’re talking about them creating a plan for the development. This automatically says to them that council wants the outcome to show development. I would like it worded so that when they come back to you, they could say ‘we recommend 100 per cent protection of that area that shouldn’t be developed.’”
Hawa said she didn’t know what recommendations would be made in regards to the new PPU, adding it was doubtful the new report would suggest the entire L’Anse-à-l’Orme area should be restricted to future development.
“We know that those lands are privately owned by promoters and they do have the right to use their land,” said Hawa. “There are restrictions of course and that is what the PPU of 2015 set as the scope of what the development will look like, if there is any development.
“Thorough studies in terms of biodiversity, economic impact and traffic were done and I would venture to guess that the ultimate result will be minor tweaks here and there, but it will pretty much represent what was presented in 2015,” Hawa added.
“We have to respect everybody’s rights, including the private owners,” said Hawa. “The private owners also have to respect the collective and the community. The respect for rights goes both ways. We have to find a happy medium.”
For Hobus, the preservation of all of L’Anse-à-l’Orme doesn’t only apply to the portion of land on Ste. Anne’s territory; it also includes the sections within Pierrefonds West and Senneville as well. He said a petition with 9,700 names was presented Monday, February 1, to Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Dimitrios (Jim) Beis requesting preservation of the eco-territory in his municipality and that the group is collecting more signatures.
Hobus also asked whether the city would consider including the three briefs that were presented to the city last fall by Sauvons L’Anse-à-l’Orme, the Sierra Club and the Green Coalition, that would be presented to the new consulting firm for consideration as they prepare the final PPU.
“In the original resolution, you’re talking about the original report coming from the consultants, the workshop that was held with the citizens, but you don’t specifically mention the briefs. I would like to make sure that these three briefs and what they contain are considered in the final plan,” said Hobus. Hawa replied she had no objection to having the three briefs added as part of the resolution.