© Photo Keith McAuliffe
Odette Freeman and her dog, Bear, stroll through Angell Woods Monday morning.
It’s time for the private landowners of Angell Woods to be “willing sellers,” said Beaconsfield’s mayor.
According to Mayor George Bourelle, the agglomeration of Montreal is a willing buyer; all the while Beaconsfield assumes a leadership role in ensuring Angell Woods, in its entirety, becomes protected.
“We’re certainly trying to take a leadership role to make sure [Montreal] is looking at it in terms of wanting to go ahead and acquiring the land,” Bourelle told the Chronicle in an exclusive interview, adding “you have to have willing sellers.”
The mayor said two of three landowners, Yale Ltd. and Seda Holdings, have yet to approach Beaconsfield or Montreal with an offer.
“I personally have said that I’d be willing to meet with them. No response from the out of town owner (Seda) yet,” said Bourelle.
“…If you’re really interested in selling the land, you can also contact the city. It’s a two-way street.”
According to a source, Montreal officials have yet to begin negotiations to acquire more than five million square feet of land between the aforementioned landowners.
The mayor’s remarks were made after city council passed a resolution in late April asking the Ministry of Environment to protect two forests, deemed of ecological importance and feature sugar maple groves and red ash plantation, from commercial and residential use.
Bourelle said it’s now up to the minister to decide on the fate of the forests in question.
“We think its two very important ecosystems that need to be protected,” the mayor said.
For the Association for the Protection of Angell Woods (APAW), the resolution adds to the momentum generated by the community seeking protection of the 100-hectare wooded area, encompassed by Highway 20 and 40.
Though Stephen Lloyd said it’s “a great move on behalf of Beaconsfield to bring in more players,” the head of APAW added he’d “like to see more from the city of Montreal.
“The funds have been contributed for the purpose of buying these green spaces,” said Lloyd.
The agglomeration’s ‘Green Fund’ program is designed to purchase natural spaces deemed ecologically important. It also has the resources to purchase significant amount of land like Angell Woods.
“The political will is there,” said Lloyd. “The time seems to be now.”
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