Mayor Cardinal says Pincourt committed to saving Rousseau Forest
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Pincourt residents have until November 9 to submit their feedback to the town on the decision to purchase the plot of forested land that Mayor Yvan Cardinal says he and council want to preserve.
Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the city is adamant in its desire to save Rousseau Forest. His comment comes after the city extended the voting period for its public consultation process which gives all property owners throughout the city who oppose the initiative more time learn about the issue.
“We made a decision to send the letter directly to all the citizens of Pincourt so that we can get feedback from those who are against it,” Cardinal told The Journal during a telephone interview on October 21. “This will make our intentions clear for everyone. The city wants to protect the Rousseau Woodlands.”
November 9 deadline
“If citizens do not agree with our proposal, we’re asking them to send in the form to the city. This way it gives everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions,” said Cardinal.
The extension comes right after the initial deadline for the first public consultation process expired just before midnight on Tuesday night. The new extension gives people who oppose the city’s plans but haven’t responded to their request until November 9 to send in their submissions. More information about the loan by-law is available on the city website at:
Loan-by law tax distribution
The $4.3 million loan by-law means that property owners who live on the streets directly behind the forest in Pool 1 will have to pay a special tax of $283.10 annually. The tax share rate for property owners in Pool 2 directly across the street from the forest will be $215.10 annually.
All Pincourt property owners, including property owners in Pools 1 and 2, will have to pay an additional $36.61 annually to preserve the woodlands. The terms of the loan by-law, which was adopted at the October 9 council meeting, will have property owners paying the additional tax for the forest’s preservation over the next 30 years.
Cardinal dismissed concerns voiced by some citizens over the past two weeks that the consultation process and new two-week extension is being disguised as an unofficial referendum that would allow the city to rescind its plans to purchase the forest.
“This isn’t right. We’re just asking citizens if they agree with our plans to buy the land for $4.3 million to preserve Rousseau Forest. We want to protect the forest. This is why we adopted the loan by-law,” said Cardinal.
It’s possible that if enough people voice their opposition to purchase the forest, the city would have to hold a city-wide referendum, Cardinal conceded. “This would be the next step. I don’t have the answer right now,” he said.
Normal consultation process
The mayor noted that the current consultation process regarding Rousseau Forest is the same type of procedure it holds regarding other major projects it undertakes, such as the reconfiguration of Chemin Duhamel into a partial pedestrian/bicycle promenade with one reserved lane for vehicular traffic and the construction of the new fire hall and municipal garage.
“When we adopted the loan by-law for Duhamel, we asked citizens the same question about the $15 million loan by-law to find out how many people opposed it. Now we’re asking people if they agree with the city’s loan-by law to save the forest,” said Cardinal.
The issue has created a lot of consternation among residents on social media platforms, pitting those who support and oppose the loan by-law against each other. Cardinal said the extension of the consultation deadline is also meant to give people more time to learn about the city’s plans to preserve the forest. “It’s to give citizens more time so they can ask questions about our plans,” he said.