Pincourt launches virtual public consultation regarding Rousseau Wetlands preservation
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
The Town of Pincourt is polling residents to see if they would be willing to pay an increased property tax over the next 30 years to offset the cost of purchasing the land known as Rousseau Forest to prevent it from being razed for a housing development.
Pincourt residents will have their chance to inform the town about how they feel with its plans to preserve the Rousseau Woodlands through a written consultation process by either filling out a form and bringing it directly to Town Hall or sending it by email if they oppose the project.
Residents who live on the streets that border the woodland received special notices in their mailboxes last week informing them of the informal survey. All other residents in the town were informed about the consultation process through the town’s two electronic billboards, Info-P app, and website.
The consultation process comes one month after the town tabled draft By-law 904 at the monthly council meeting September 8 which decreed a loan of $4.3 million to purchase the woodlands. Its aim is to get feedback regarding the project and financing which will be spread out over a period of 30 years.
In order to apply for the loan, the town established a taxation method for the annual reimbursement of the expenses incurred through the loan.
Special tax rates
Property owners who live on the streets directly behind the forest in Pool 1 will have a special tax of four per cent. The tax share rate would be $283.10 annually. Property owners directly across the street from the forest will have a special tax rate of five percent. The tax share rate would be $215.10. All property owners in Pincourt would also be required to pay an additional $36.61 annually to preserve the woodlands.
The town notes that these amounts are subject to change according to different factors including market and interest fluctuations as well as in the event a lower loan is made than initially planned. It is also still dealing with a court case involving a promoter who had planned to build about 45 residential units within the woods, said Town Clerk Etienne Bergevin Byette.
“It’s still in front of the court. We’re dealing with the promoter but we also have to deal with the other owners. There are eight other persons or companies that own land in the forest,” said Bergevin Byette. He added that residents in Pool 1 will have to pay more for the preservation of the forest because, “they get additional value for being able to keep the woods behind their property.”
Resident and Pincourt Vert member Shelagh McNally, one of several people who has campaigned for the preservation of the woods, questioned why the town has decided to proceed with the informal survey at this time especially when so many people are preoccupied with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t know anybody who’s thinking about taxes and the forest. Everyone is worried about their jobs, sick family members and kids at school. It really seems kind of out-of-touch at this point. These are unprecedented times. So many people are distracted, worried and under pressure,” said McNally.
Residents in Pool 1 or Pool 2 opposed to the acquisition of the Rousseau woodland can fill out the form they received in the mail and drop it off in one of the Town Hall’s mailboxes at 919 Chemin Duhamel. All residents can also download a form from the town’s website and return it by email. The deadline to send in forms opposing the preservation of the Rousseau Woodlands is October 20.
For more information, visit the town’s website at: