Extensive protection of Quebec’s natural territory… at least for now
Stéphane Boyer, Catherine Fournier and Valérie Plante, respectively mayor and mayors of Laval, Longueuil and Montreal.
Since the spring, an arsenal of means aimed at protecting and preserving the environment has been deployed in Quebec, especially at the municipal level. According to some observers, we are witnessing a paradigm shift: more importance is given to the protection of nature, and less to the construction of new neighborhoods. There are, however, major downsides to the picture.
Métro presents a series of three reports on the new reality of service areas protected in Montreal. Here is the first of these texts.
In the Government of Quebec, the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, plans to create eleven new protected areas in the south of the province. But it's closer to home, in Greater Montreal , that the most extensive conservation efforts have taken place.
Interim Control By-law (ICR) 2022-96 of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), adopted in April, temporarily places natural environments of metropolitan interest sheltered from residential, commercial or industrial development since June 16. The vast majority of wooded areas and wetlands are thus protected. At least, temporarily.
Another RCI, subject to approval by the provincial government, aims to ensure the temporary protection of sectors that can be converted into green spaces or a natural environment. Six golf courses are mainly targeted.
The sectors in green show the forest cover of Greater Montreal. In yellow, the sectors protected by the RCI on natural environments and by the municipal measures listed by Metro.
Added to this are ad hoc conservation projects. The purchase of land by the City of Montreal to create the Grand Parc de l’Ouest is an example of this. The conservation of the Boisé du Tremblay, in Longueuil, is another.
The vast majority of elected officials and citizens have become aware that the main key to slowing global warming and mitigating its impacts lies in further protecting natural environments.
Julie Brunet, communications advisor for the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM)
Reinforce the work of protection accomplished
< p>“The control regulations that municipalities have invoked are much more progressive than in the past, but their effect is very limited if the provincial government and other levels of government do not use parallel regulations and policies to complement them. says Green Coalition Treasurer Charlie MacLeod.
Same story with Nature Québec. The organization's executive director, Cyril Frazao, recognizes the existence of a paradigm shift at the municipal level regarding the protection of natural environments.
However, he calls for the National Policy on architecture and land use planning to be more ambitious.
In this dossier, Métroexplores recent advances in the protection of natural terrestrial environments as well as the limits of the measures adopted.
Our definition protection of the territory
Quebec's natural territory is vast… almost as vast as the differences found in the multiple definitions of “natural” and “protected area”.
In this dossier on the protection of natural areas in Greater Montreal, we focus on land areas. This is where the most recent government and municipal efforts have taken place, and it is where the pressure of urban development and sprawl is most felt.
Inside this framework, we adopt a fairly broad definition of what is natural. The large parks of the various municipalities, which contain large wooded areas, are part of the areas targeted by this analysis. Even if part of these parks can be developed for recreation.
Finally, any type of protection that prevents urban development on a given space in the foreseeable future is considered in this dossier. This includes National Parks, recent CMM interim control by-laws, municipal zoning by-laws, agreements with certain lot owners, etc.
Thus we hope to provide the broadest view possible the protection of natural terrestrial territory in Greater Montreal.
– The Editor