• John Jantak

Pincourt proposes meeting to discuss Rousseau Forest development


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

An entry point into Place Pierre-Brunet from Rue Laflèche on July 11. Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal said an exclusive meeting will be arranged with residents to discuss the proposed development of one of the last forested areas in the city and the possibility of preserving the land.

Pincourt officials will arrange a public meeting exclusively with citizens concerned about the future development of Place Pierre-Brunet – also known to District 5 residents as Rousseau Forest – one of the last remaining wooded tracts of land in the city.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal made the proposal at the beginning of the Tuesday evening council meeting on July 10, right before the start of a 10-minute segment reserved for residents that allows them to comment on any issue that affects the municipality.

Conservation focus

Cardinal said an exclusive meeting would focus on the resident’s conservation efforts and stance rather than using the monthly council sessions to make comments and ask questions about the matter. More than 40 citizens attended each of the two previous council sessions in May and June, most of whom told the mayor and six councillors the forest should be preserved.

“The meeting is for council to listen to what the people are asking for. The citizens said a lot at the recent meetings. They have environmental studies too but we haven’t received anything yet,” Cardinal told The Journal after the meeting.

Environment ministry authorization

While the mayor understands his residents’ desire to preserve the woods, Cardinal said consideration also has to be extended to the developer who has all the necessary permits from the provincial environment ministry to proceed with the project.

“All the authorization is coming from the Ministry of the Environment. The city can’t allow construction to proceed without this authorization. We also haven’t received any request from the developer to allow them to begin construction. They can’t do anything now because they have to respect the Federal Migratory Bird Act. If work begins, it will only be in October,” said Cardinal.

The mayor’s proposal was well received by the group at the Tuesday meeting. “The mayor just wants to simplify the process. This way a small group of people can meet with the mayor and all the councillors. It’s not just the mayor who should have a say in the matter. The councillors should be allowed to voice their opinions too. This is important,” said resident Eric Brunet-Chartrand.

Development opposition

Brunet-Chartrand is one of many residents opposed to the development which will see 45 single-family houses built in one of the last remaining untouched natural forested habitats in Pincourt. Place Pierre-Brunet is named after his grandfather who reportedly gifted significant amounts of land to the town including a large portion of what is now Parc Olympique.

He told council at the June meeting he felt the objective was not for the town to allow every bit of remaining forest to be developed. “I don’t think it was the intention of my grandfather,” said Brunet-Chartrand.

Another resident advocating for the preservation of the forest, Shelagh McNally, also supports the town’s initiative. “It’s good the city wants to sit down and listen, to look at the information we’re gathering and reconsider their position,” she said. “It’s important. We’re doing a door-to-door petition. We’re talking to people and they’re telling us we don’t need more development.”

A date for the meeting has not yet been set.