Friday, December 3

Save Fairview Forest group marks 52 weeks of Saturday protests

A year later, the local environmental group remains undaunted in its quest to save every last tree in the Fairview forest, no matter how small.

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Every Saturday, rain or shine, or even snow, the citizen group Save the Fairview Forest has organized a weekly protest around the woods west of the Fairview Pointe-Claire Mall.

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Last Saturday marked the group’s 52nd consecutive protest. It drew a larger-than-usual gathering of about 30 people, including Tim Thomas, who was sworn in as mayor of Pointe-Claire just 48 hours earlier, and newly elected city councilors Erin Tedford and Bruno Tremblay.

The city council’s show of support was appreciated by Geneviève Lussier, spokesperson for the environmental protest group that has been pressuring politicians at all levels – municipal, provincial and federal – to do their bit to preserve a green oasis in a zone. scheduled for mass densification with the imminent arrival of the REM light rail network near the corner of Fairview Ave. and the Trans-Canada Autoroute service road.

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Cadillac Fairview has big plans to turn the area into a satellite of “downtown” Montreal with a huge mixed-use residential and commercial complex on the forested site. But Lussier and his SFF group remain undaunted in their quest to save every last tree, no matter how small.

With global climate change dominating the headlines and emerging as a major national and international issue, Lussier is confident that the group is on the right side of history, even if some of the candidates supported by SFF in the November 7 municipal elections at Pointe-Claire, namely Norm Lapointe, Brigitte Watson and mayoral candidate Louis Butler were not elected.

However, the forest-friendly Tremblay defeated incumbent David Webb in District 6 (Seigniory), where the Fairview Forest is located.

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However, saving the forest was not the only issue in District 6. Concerns about traffic and other issues related to rampant densification in the area also weighed on voters, Lussier said.

Although Lussier and his group have given hundreds of passersby, including campaigning politicians, tours of the woods over the past year, he has not had any direct contact with owner Cadillac Fairview since the protests began.

“We’ve asked questions at every council meeting, too, ‘” he said. “We have done a lot in the last year to draw attention to the problem. The last part, which is what the election showed, is that all of our actions had a great impact on the election results.

“But among that, with all our actions, I think the protests have an impact … because we have been so visible last year on that corner (of the street), it has brought the most public image of the group.

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“Every week we introduce new people to what could happen to the forest. People say, ‘What do you mean what’s wrong with the forest? So every week we are educating and informing people about what could happen to the forest, the buffer, the rainwater, the absorption system, the heat mitigation system. “

She hopes that a changing of the guard in the mayor’s chair at city hall will add momentum to her group’s grassroots movement, which began with an online petition now named after about 27,000 people.

“About 2,200 of those people are local Pointe-Claire residents,” he noted.

Lussier says the SFF group plans to keep protesting every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the forest is saved.

And you won’t take a politician’s word that it really is preserved until you see it in writing.

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During the elections, he said that former mayor John Belvedere had declared that the forest was already 60 percent preserved. But when Lussier pressed Belvedere to clarify those numbers (that is, from the Quebec Ministry of the Environment), he got no response.

“That’s because those numbers are nowhere in writing,” he said.

Lussier promises to make Thomas and other local politicians keep their election promises.

Thomas said he plans to keep his election promise. He said voters chose him on a promise to curb Pointe-Claire’s boom in densification and the vision of the city as “the center of West Island.”

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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