Pincourt owns 35 per cent of forested land in Place Pierre-Brunet


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt resident Michel Pilon hands over 229 postcards to Town Clerk Etienne Bergevin Byette and Town Manager Michel Perrier during question period at the Tuesday evening council meeting on October 9. The cards were signed by residents concerned about a possible increase in traffic if a residential development at Place Pierre-Brunet goes ahead. A recently completed study by SNC Lavelin for the town stated there would be no change in traffic patterns, said Perrier.

A revelation made that the Town of Pincourt owns about 35 per cent of the forested land in Place Pierre-Brunet will not determine whether a proposed residential development will or will not proceed, it was announced at the Tuesday evening council meeting on October 9

Residents Eric Brunet-Chartrand and Shelagh McNally raised the issue during question period, asking council to clarify the town’s ownership status and why it can’t be used to preserve what many residents consider as the last accessible natural forested wetland in the municipality.

Freedom of information request

McNally told council she only found out about the town’s ownership through a freedom of information request. “Are you aware that the federal laws protecting protected species are much stronger on public land?” McNally asked.

Town clerk Etienne Bergevin Byette said the municipality owns the land only because it’s considered an unpaved road that is part of the town’s overall infrastructure which was set aside to be built after ground was broken for the residential project. “We own the road. This is the reason why we are allowed to go on the property to do our surveys and all the studies we’re doing right now,” he said.

Trespassing on private property

Town Manager Michel Perrier said because the road isn’t indicated, residents shouldn’t enter the woods because they could be trespassing on private property. “There’s no street as such right now. It’s very complicated to indicate where the private and public land is located. The conversation we’re having is about the construction of a residential project,” he said.

“Where is the transparency at city council when we come in and talk about the forest and you just say, bottom line, it’s private land? Technically it’s not because you own 35 per cent of it. Why are we not involved in the conversation since we are the owners?” asked McNally.

Perrier replied the town only owns the road system. “This is the reason we were able to put a stop on the development. This is already public information,” he said.

Environmental reports deposited

Representatives from Sauvez Rousseau Forest deposited two environmental studies at city hall late Tuesday afternoon that were independently commissioned regarding the flora and wildlife within the woods.

“Today you received expert reports from our lawyer making clear that surveys need to be done in 2019 to ensure compliance with federal and provincial endangered species laws. In particular a survey by a bat expert Dr. Francois Fabianek has confirmed the presence of the little brown bat in Rousseau Forest,” said Carole Reed reading from a prepared statement.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal listens to residents' continued requests to prevent development on the last remaining patch of forest in the town.

Municipal environmental report

Mayor Yvan Cardinal acknowledged the town received the reports after 4 p.m. and council will take them into consideration along with the study commissioned by the town to determine how they will respond. He suggested the group submit their reports to the provincial environment ministry because they, not the town, gave the promoter the authorization to develop the forested land.

The city-mandated biologist’s study from the engineering firm WSP still hasn’t been completed, said Mayor Yvan Cardinal. “It hasn’t been finalized. They will continue to work on it and we will receive the completed report by the end of October.”

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