• John Jantak

Pincourt extends Place Pierre Brunet environmental study into next spring


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt council adopted a resolution at the November 13 council meeting to hire the engineering firm WSP to conduct a second study regarding the environmental significance of Place Pierre Brunet beginning in spring 2019.

Forest reprieve seen as a ‘stay of execution’

The forest and wetlands in Place Pierre Brunet will remain intact, at least until early next summer. That’s because a resolution was adopted by Pincourt council at the monthly meeting November 13 to extend the length and scope of the environmental study it commissioned this fall. A second study will begin in the spring of 2019.

The news was welcomed by area residents and conservationists who have attended each of the six preceding council meetings since May. They have consistently pleaded with the mayor and councillors to preserve the woodland – also known as Rousseau Forest – saying it’s one of the last remaining forests in the municipality and provides important environmental benefits to the community and the town.

Proper analysis needed

Council’s decision comes after conservationists repeatedly said the only way to properly analyze the diversity of the fauna and flora within the 4.2 hectare woodland is to conduct a year-long study. Members from Sauvez Rousseau Forest said the findings from the study done this fall wouldn’t accurately depict the true scope of the plants and wildlife that thrive in the forest and wetlands.

The group repeatedly asked for a year-long study to properly assess the environmental aspect, saying the forest is most active from spring into early summer. That’s when several species of migratory birds begin nesting and the four wetland ponds are brimming with water.

The forest is also home to the Western Chorus Frog and Little Brown Bat which are respectively listed as a protected and endangered species under the federal Species at Risk Act.

Council transparency

The city reviewed the citizens’ request and decided a transparent role was the best approach to take in dealing with the extremely sensitive matter of determining the future of the woods, said Mayor Yvan Cardinal.

“The citizens asked us to do a complete one-year study of the forest and this is what we are going to do,” Cardinal told The Journal after the meeting. “This will give us a complete picture of the situation and the environmental significance of the woods.”

Not out of the woods yet

Pincourt residents applauded the announcement made by the town. “It’s a major victory for the forest. We are glad our voices have been heard and our efforts and hard work have been appreciated and taken seriously. I call it a stay of execution,” said Denise Goudreau.

“But we’re not out of the woods yet. Our ultimate goal is to save Rousseau Forest permanently. Until then, we will continue to raise awareness of this jewel of an ecosystem right in our backyard. I feel very hopeful,” Goudreau added.

THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Conservationists have repeatedly said the only way to properly analyze the diversity of the fauna and flora within the 4.2 hectare woodland is to conduct a year-long study.

Building a sustainable future

“I’m really delighted and happy,” said Sauvez Rousseau Forest spokesperson Shelagh McNally. “I congratulate council for being progressive, listening and moving forward with us. They’ve recognized how important our green spaces are to us and that they want to participate in building a new sustainable future which I think is important for our children.

“They’re also open to educating themselves. It’s been an education for us as we’ve delved into what’s going on and it’s good they’re open to investigating and helping to establish what a unique special place the Rousseau Wetlands are and the vital role they play within a healthy sustainable community,” McNally added.

Environment ministry approved development

Council said it wasn’t an easy decision to make. It means the proposed residential development for Place Pierre-Brunet has been pushed back at least one year, even though the provincial environment ministry issued a certificate of authorization that allows the promoters to build.

“It’s been a real challenge for us. It’s not that we don’t want the promoters to realize their project. We just want to make sure we make the right decision about the future of Place Pierre Brunet,” said Cardinal.

A call made to Samuel Ménard, Director of Real Estate Development for Les Habitations Sylvain Ménard Inc., one of the developers of the residential development at Place Pierre-Brunet for a comment about the new environmental study was not returned by press time.

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