Razed woods upsets Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot homeowner


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Notre Dame de l’île Perrot resident Barbara Ectovitch stands in front a new home being built next to her condominium town house on Saturday, November 9. Etcovitch is upset that all the trees on the construction site bordering her property were recently razed.

A Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot homeowner is dismayed that a forested lot behind her townhouse condominium was recently razed to build a new house.

Barbara Etcovitch, who lives on Rue Jordi-Bonet near the intersection of Boulevard Don-Quichotte and Boulevard Perrot, feels it was extreme for all the trees to have been cut next to her backyard property line.

Clear-cutting not necessary

“It was a forest with large trees. There were trees and brush that could have remained. They just cut it down completely and only left the ones in the back of the new house that is being built,” Etcovitch told Your Local Journal during an interview at her home on Saturday, December 9.

Construction of the new house began about one week after the trees were clear cut. Etcovitch said more of an effort should have been made to protect the natural vegetation.

“I’m opposed to development that doesn’t integrate properly with the environment. This house is going to be right in our face without any buffer of trees,” said Etcovitch.

Trees will be replaced

The homeowners will be required to plant new trees but saplings aren’t the same as having mature trees, said Etcovitch.

“They have to put decent trees like maples but they’re going to take about 15 years to grow. Integrating trees is the solution, not replacing them. I don’t think this is the way things necessarily should happen here. Much of the forest is not protected. It’s zoned residential so we’re at the mercy of whoever buys the land,” said Etcovitch.

“There was nothing when I moved here in 2006. It was quiet and there were trees. I moved here because I didn’t want to live in the city. I don’t hear birds anymore. Forested land has to be protected. Cities do not understand this,” added Etcovitch.

Land zoned for development

Mayor Danie Deschênes said she understands Etcovitch’s concern but said the land, including the townhouse condo project where Etcovitch lives, was already zoned for residential development.

“This land is behind her home which was built on the same forest. It’s privately owned therefore if you don’t want people to build behind your home, you need to buy the land. It’s not like council changed the zoning. We’re doing things properly,” said Deschênes.

Municipal regulations

The town has very clear regulations when people apply for permits to cut trees, added Deschênes. “The city shows up and they decide what needs to be cut. A certain amount of trees can be cut based on their health, size, and if they’re affected by disease, such as Ash trees with the emerald ash borer,” said Deschênes.

“Since it’s not her land, she wouldn’t know what can and can’t be cut,” added Deschênes. “This is taken care of before a permit is issued. There is a process in place. There is no reason why she would have this opinion unless it’s to keep the forest as it is. That’s impossible because it’s zoned residential.” A provincial environment ministry requirement to preserve 10 per cent of natural woodland is only applicable to major developments and not to individual land owners, said Deschênes.

“This city is 70 per cent agricultural. I think council and I have been very clear on the fact that we want to protect this. But if a land is zoned residential and an owner is ready to build, the city will not go against that. We don’t have any reason to go against it,” said Deschênes.

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