Green Coalition clarifies policy on possible development of Pincourt’s Rousseau Forest
YLJ FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
Green Coalition members clarify their stance on preservation efforts of Pincourt’s Rousseau Forest.
The Green Coalition reached out to Your Local Journal to clarify some statements that were made to the newspaper last week regarding its possible efforts to preserve Rousseau Forest in Pincourt from development.
Charlie MacLeod, a Green Coalition Member of the Board and an official spokesperson said that some comments that were made by coalition member Carole Reed following the Pincourt town council meeting and reported in the November 16 edition of the newspaper were erroneous and could be unintentionally misinterpreted as being official coalition policy.
No official policy yet
MacLeod said the coalition only found out about the Rousseau Forest situation last Thursday. “As a result, we don’t have enough information to make informed statements about what is happening there,” MacLeod told Your Local Journal during a telephone interview on Tuesday, November 21.
“We don’t know who the developers are, what the environmental studies contain or if they were conducted. We have to get this information before we determine what we’ll say about it,” said MacLeod.
In the interview with Reed following the council meeting, MacLeod said she was speaking as a private citizen to council and offering her own personal opinion on the matter. He said Reed was unaware her comments could be taken out of context because she identified herself as Green Coalition.
Comments made as private citizen
“Carole is a dedicated person with our organization and came on board in the spring. There was no problem with her speaking as a private citizen but she hasn’t been well-versed in our policies. We don’t take personal issue with her comments, they’re just not respective of the Green Coalition’s policies,” said MacLeod.
“It was the first time she was interviewed by the press and I’m sure she had no intention to act as a spokesperson for the Green Coalition. She’s not a board member so she’s not a spokesperson yet.” MacLeod added.
Minimum conservation requirement
During Reed’s interview, she said she wasn’t necessarily opposed to future development as long as it was reasonable, stating the promoter should protect at least 20 per cent of the area instead of the 10 per cent that’s required by the environment ministry.
MacLeod said the statement is misleading because the Green Coalition requires a minimum of 20 per cent of wetlands and/or forested areas be set aside for conservation. When it comes to the Rousseau Forest, because of its compact size, 20 per cent would be insufficient because of the scale of the proposed development of 45 single-family homes.
“If you took 60 per cent of Rousseau woods and developed it, there’s nothing left. You might as well pave the whole thing over. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. If you removed 60 per cent of the pieces, you wouldn’t have anything left to make a tangible picture. When you’re dealing with ecosystems, everything is interdependent and interrelated,” said MacLeod.
Legal legacy fund
He also noted that Reed suggested she would be willing to allow the town to negotiate with the promoters of the land regarding how much wooded land would be set aside for conservation as long as a large part of the remaining land could be developed and to avoid potential legal action against the town, which is also not coalition policy.
“The coalition has a legacy fund where a group of lawyers deal with situations where existing environmental laws have not been applied. They take developers to court and challenge them on that basis. If there’s any suggestion that one of the sponsoring organizations is willing to compromise on certain things, that could potentially compromise a court case,” said MacLeod.