We don’t want the same people who sell drugs to our kids laundering their money in development projects.
Montreal’s plan for Mafia-linked Pierrefonds land raises questions
The city is preparing a plan that has been in the works for a decade to conserve a lush landscape in one of the last large undeveloped natural spaces on Montreal Island.
But the coming 180-hectare “eco-territory” in western Pierrefonds, to be made up of tracts of land the city has stitched together through purchases from private owners since the mid-2000s, will be missing a piece of the original territory the city has outlined on maps of its project for a decade.
A new map indicating the L’Anse-à-l’Orme eco-territory in a citywide land-use plan that Montreal city council approved in January shows a long strip that will remain private. It cuts vertically across the projected municipal conservation zone and cleaves the future eco-territory in two.
Even if the city isn’t buying the 28.5-hectare parcel, it will claim it has acquired and conserved a total of 180 hectares from other landowners in the area — the same as its original target.
But how and why the city decided to abandon the idea of a contiguous eco-territory raises questions.
Among them is why the city isn’t using its legal power to expropriate the holdout owner, since other large landowners in the zone have agreed to cede their land for public use to create the eco-territory.
Another is how much residential development might occur on the strip of land now that it won’t belong to the eco-territory.
And could the city’s decision to give up on acquiring the parcel have anything to do with who owns it?
The property in question is owned by a group of people and companies that are linked to a who’s who of the Montreal Mafia.
City officials have refused to answer questions and declined interview requests for the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the people who negotiated on behalf of the city to acquire the land for the eco-territory say they knew nothing about the owners of the strip of land, even though names that have been linked to organized crime — such as Arcuri, Gosselin and Manno — are apparent in public land registry records.