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MONTREAL – The central-city administration didn’t open the door any further Monday night to preserving the 57-hectare Meadowbrook green space.
But Alan DeSousa, vice-chairman of the city executive committee, didn’t slam it shut, either – not with about 375 anti-development protesters who converged on city hall trying to save the West End site hanging onto his words.
“We’re ready to see what we can do to support a local community consensus” on Meadowbrook’s future, he told Patrick Asch of the Les Amis de Meadowbrook citizens’ coalition, which wants the entire site preserved as a public park.
A Miami Beach condo developer, Michael Bedzow of Pacific Group Canada, wants to build 1,500 housing units on the site, which has been a private golf course for about a century. Meadowbrook hosts a broad range of wildlife, including foxes, rabbits and birds. It straddles the Lachine borough and Côte St. Luc, and is located near rail yards.
Asch and other questioners tried repeatedly to get Mayor Gérald Tremblay to commit to preservation.
But the mayor left it to DeSousa to do all the talking on his behalf.
The site is already partly zoned for development.
Last night’s occasionally loud crowd demonstrates broad support for the site’s preservation, Asch said.
The site is “irreplaceable and one of the few natural green spaces left in Montreal,” he added. “Residents across the island will not accept the destruction of Meadowbrook.”
Tremblay’s continuing silence on the issue is “deafening – and very suspicious,” Asch said.
The site’s preservation is part of a May 2009 report that is to be voted on Thursday by Montreal Island’s agglomeration council. DeSousa said that report doesn’t deal with golf courses.
On April 15, Karel Mayrand, Quebec executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, wrote to Tremblay asking him to act “to preserve all of Meadowbrook as a nature park.”
The Pacific Group housing plan – which features Plateau Mont Royal density levels – would represent “destruction for short-term private gain,” Mayrand added.
Projet Montréal has already endorsed Meadowbrook’s preservation in full as a public park, said party leader Richard Bergeron.
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20 Crémazie, Montreal
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(Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette)