Pincourt residents still hopeful forest can be saved from development
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Pincourt resident Carole Reed is hopeful one of the last remaining wooded areas in Pincourt known by locals as Rousseau Forest can still be saved from development following the announcement that up to 45 new homes will be built on the land.
Pincourt resident Carole Reed said she will continue to oppose development of one of the last remaining wooded areas in the town after council announced the landowner is expected to begin construction of a new residential development by July or August.
The announcement was made during question period at the Tuesday evening council meeting on May 8 to a chamber packed with about 40 residents. Many people wanted to know the specifics regarding the scope of the new project and to express their disappointment that not enough was done to preserve the green space, bordered by Olympique Boulevard, 19th Avenue, Chemin Duhamel, and Place Rousseau, and known by locals as Rousseau Forest.
45 single family homes
Town Manager Michel Perrier said 45 individual single family homes will be built and stressed the project will not include town houses or condominiums. Most of the land, about 85 to 90 per cent, is owned by Samuel Ménard. The town still needs to finalize infrastructure requirements with the promoter. Construction is expected to begin by July or August, said Perrier.
“He needs to sign an agreement that we usually sign with promoters to make them responsible to put in the different infrastructure that’s required like aqueducts and sewers. But we didn’t know how many properties he would own. We need this to finalize and establish the cost per lot. This is what’s left to be completed,” Perrier told The Journal.
Construction could have already started because the promoter’s project adheres to the requirements set out by the provincial environment ministry along with the required studies, according to Perrier.
“Everything has been done and the permits have been delivered. The certificate of authorization has been released. If it only involved the ministry, they could have started construction tomorrow morning,” said Perrier.
Area residents disappointed
Mayor Yvan Cardinal said he understands people’s disappointment with losing a forested area but said the development is no different than any other residential project that was built in the past. “It’s the same thing as when people bought their houses on Boulevard Cardinal-Léger and there was forest behind them. The land was eventually developed,” said Cardinal.
The situation has dismayed several residents, including neighbours Michel Prudhomme and Shelagh McNally, who have lived next to the woods on Place Rousseau for the past 13 years.
“I feel bad. I wish it could stay,” said Prudhomme. “When we bought our house in 2005, we thought for sure it would stay as a forest because there was no demand for construction of any kind. Thirteen years later and now they’re building.”
Possible nature reserve
Carole Reed has been a dedicated environmentalist her entire life. She lives in a condo complex near Fifth Avenue two kilometers away but likes to take walks through the woods. Reed says the town should consider converting the land into a nature reserve. She feels it could eventually become regarded as one of Pincourt’s jewels.
“Just because I live a ways down the road doesn’t mean I’m not breathing the clean air these trees are filtering out for me,” said Reed during a stroll through the woods Wednesday morning. “It doesn’t mean I won’t be affected when these woods are gone. Pollution affects us all.
“It reminds me of my childhood when I lived in Pointe-Claire in Lakeside Heights and the little woods and creeks and everything was developed out of existence,” said Reed. “It hasn’t stopped.”
A group dedicated to the preservation of the woods have a Facebook page called Sauvez Rousseau Forest and still hope the woods can be saved. It features an on-line petition that has garnered almost 1,000 signatures. It’s located at https://www.facebook.com/pincourtverte/.