1,600 new homes in Ste. Anne? No thanks!

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1,600 new homes in Ste. Anne de Bellevue north? No, thanks

Published on May 31, 2012 Author-Marc-Lalonde – The Chronicle

Montreal Island sits smack in the middle of a body of water, and that particular geographic quirk is, unfortunately, a hindrance to residential developers, most of whom see endless construction and row upon row of single-family homes as progress and some have even had the temerity to refer to new subdivisions as charming and beautiful.

We won’t name those developers, but we suspect the attractiveness of the subdivision is greatly improved when you’re benefiting personally from it.

It’s the same for cities and boroughs; from an editorial standpoint, we can’t fault them for trying to improve their cash-flow situations and firming up their residential tax base. For municipalities, it’s comforting to know that no matter what the economic winds bring, the residential tax base is there to ensure a certain amount of income.

Pierrefonds has no industrial park upon which they can put the majority of their tax burden, so that load is shouldered by the average homeowner, who has a more vested interest in their immediate surroundings than businesses and their employees do. Ste. Anne de Bellevue, on the other hand, is the holder of some prime Highway 40 real estate and could potentially do more with what’s there, rather than build another 1,600 homes in the Meloche sector, which was originally constructed in the early ‘90s. There simply isn’t enough room for everybody.

That means 5,000 new residents, most of whom will have to be driven back and forth rather than use public transit because public-transit infrastructure in northern Ste. Anne de Bellevue is next to non-existent. Yes, the 210 goes past there during the school year, and a collective taxi service is available, but that certainly will not accommodate the thousands of new people that would be moving into the area.

Everything will have to be expanded, Ste. Anne councilor Paola Hawa said last week, including parks, streets, and services, and there is no clear indication how the city will make that happen. In addition, Hawa speculated that another French High school would have to be constructed, bringing questions about the future of Ecole Secondaire St. Georges and its future role in the education of Ste. Anne de Bellevue residents. Further, environmental concerns abound, considering the entire area that would be developed is now wooded and home to a wide variety of indigenous animals, the Green Coalition’s Dave Fletcher reports.

More attention must be paid to the quality of life of the current residents of Ste. Anne north, and unfortunately, in this case, we don’t think it has.

Click here for article at the Chronicle