A Roxboro environmentalist and his advocacy group joined up with a number of other pro-environment organizations to call for a contiguous green 'belt' across Montreal Island recently.
Green Coalition vice-president David Fletcher, who made a presentation at a November conference on the topic, hopes this new tool can effectively push governments in Montreal and Quebec City to preserve the last green spaces and wetlands in the metropolitan area, especially the l'Anse à l'Orme corridor and Angell Woods.
"Anse à l'Orme and Angell Woods are the last major areas on the island of Montreal that can be secured for the population. We do hope that more will be done, more will be undertaken by the new administration of Montreal and the new administration in Quebec City to see that protection is secured for these lands," he said.
Jacques Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley said protecting Angell Woods must be considered the main local priority when it comes to protecting green spaces.
“Some progress has been made on (the)l’Anse a l’Orme (ecoterritory), but I think the main priority has to be Angell Woods,” he said, adding the provincial government must find a way to work with local agencies to find a means of keeping the land green.
“I think the provincial government needs to work with the city of Beaconsfield and the agglomeration council to protect that space,” he said, adding another Montreal-area green space that needs to be protected is the Meadowbrook Golf Couse property near the borders of Montreal West and Cote St. Luc.
Seven ecology groups, including the Green Coalition, united at a press conference held downtown to create the Green Belt Movement, calling for the creation of a dynamic network of protected natural and agricultural ecosystems and maintain biodiversity in addition of compensating for the loss of contact of citizens with nature.
Fletcher addressed the l'Anse à l'Orme territory issue, a major part of which is still owned by Investissement Québec and Angell Woods, which is owned by private developers.
"We do hope that Applebaum will examine this file and that there will be more efforts made on the part of the administration to secure lands that are yet unsecured. Investissement Québec should never have treated Anse à l'Orme like it was a commodity to be sold. It is an important part of conservation," he said.
"Angell Woods has to be secured too. The issue over ownership has to be resolved. The owners have to be compensated for their investments. The new executive committee needs to pay attention to this. The great weight of lands to be secured is in the West Island."
The Green Belt Movement includes the David Suzuki Foundation, Nature Québec, Héritage Laurentien, the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Laval, les Partenaires du Parc Écologique de l’Archipel de Montréal and the Cowboys Fringants Foundation.
Important steps have already been made to create a green belt in the metropolitan area with the introduction of the city's urban development plan in 2011, the PMAD, which provides for the creation of a green belt across Montreal metropolitan community. "Now we must give life to this vision and to make it radiate beyond Montreal," said Christian Simard, General Manager at Nature Québec.
"We call on the Government of Quebec asking him to devote adequate financial resources and to address the legal framework to give the green belt, which could take the form of a law. Quebec must act today as a leader and commit to implement and protect the green belt."