Ste. Anne development plan attracts criticism
Albert Kramberger, The Gazette, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Hundreds of Ste. Anne de Bellevue residents packed a school gym Monday evening to voice their concerns over a proposed development plan for the north sector that would almost double the town’s current population.
The draft urban plan for the municipality’s north end calls for mixed zoning for an undeveloped 276-hectare area just west of the l’Anse à l’Orme nature park and north of Highway 40 to allow for single-family and semi-detached homes, multi-unit residential buildings, some commercial and industrial sections as well as persevering about 60 per cent of the territory as green space or an ecoterritory. The development would see the town’s population of 5,200 residents increase by about 4,500.
About 200 residents and environmentalists turned up for a public consultation meeting Monday night presided by Ste. Anne director general Martin Bonhomme, who was backed by urban planners and advisers, with members of council watching from the audience. After a 45-minute presentation, including a briefing from STM officials, the floor was opened to the public to ask questions, with topics ranging from population density, traffic to taxes.
Resident Tom Broad said the north sector is already experiencing rush-hour traffic woes and that there are no plans in place to improve access to Highway 40.
“There are 1,100 cars in the sector right now,” he said. “What you are proposing here is an additional 2,800 cars.”
City officials later informed residents that economic and traffic impact studies will be conducted by an outside firm before a final urban plan is adopted by council. Bonhomme said there was no point preparing detailed impact studies beforehand since the draft plan could be modified by council following the public consultation. The first priority is to develop a usage plan for the sector, which will determine factors, like population density, to be considered in any impact studies, he added.
David Fletcher, a Roxboro resident and a member of the Green Coalition, told the city more and more Montreal area people favour preserving green space to the maximum level. He pointed out significant new residential development is also being proposed in adjacent Pierrefonds.
“I don’t think your process is at all sustainable,” he said of Ste. Anne’s proposed development plan. “It will fill the entire territory leaving nothing more to be developed, leaving no more choices for the future.”
Fletcher said having large green spaces are important for both the physical and mental health of people living nearby. He advocates no residential development be permitted north of the Hydro-Québec servitude in order to protect the adjacent nature park. The draft plan has about 220 single-family homes being built in that section. Under the draft, the section south of the Hydro-Québec line toward Ste. Marie Rd. will have about 1,400 housing units.
Mayor Francis Deroo assured residents the proposed urban plan can be modified prior to council adopting a final version and more consultations could be held.