New by-law protects Montreal-area golf courses from real estate development

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Six golf courses have been identified as requiring priority attention under the new regulations.

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A new regulation protecting golf courses in the Greater Montreal area from real estate development was announced Thursday as part of the latest bid to protect vulnerable urban green spaces in and around the city.

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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced that the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) has adopted a regulation to curb the potential development of golf courses that could be converted into green spaces or natural parks in the future.

The settlement comes weeks after the CMM adopted a similar interim control by-law to temporarily prohibit all construction, redevelopment and work on land of ecological value in the 82 municipalities of the Greater Montreal area while it works to ensure more sustainable development policies. The settlement extended the protection of green spaces and wetlands in its territory by an additional 12,367 hectares.

This law was officially approved by the Quebec government on Thursday, by Chantal Rouleau, minister responsible for the Montreal region, during a meeting of the CMM in Montreal.

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“Natural spaces and green spaces…are the pillars of our ecological transition and our goal is to increase the total area of ​​protected territory in the greater Montreal area to 17%,” said Plante. “Seventeen percent is good, but we have to go even further and we have no more time to waste.”

Six golf courses have been identified as requiring priority attention under the new regulations: Golf Beloeil, Candiac Golf Club, Chambly Municipal Course, Mascouche Golf Club, Former Rosemère Golf Club and Club Le Boisé in Terrebonne. The golf courses extend over nearly 284 hectares and are all in urban areas.

Other sectors to be protected, including other golf courses, will be identified later.

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Over the past decade, 12 golf courses in the Montreal region have been taken over by real estate developers to build housing projects, according to a study compiled by the CMM.

Patrick Bonin, a member of the Rosemère Vert organization which is fighting to keep the former Rosemère golf course as a green space, welcomed the announcement.

“The adoption of the (new regulations) by MWC is great news and a great first step because we hope that all golf courses and old golf courses will be protected and unpaved,” he said.

“This ‘moratorium’ on the development of six former golf courses, including that of Rosemère, is not a definitive victory for the protection of the site of the former golf course. But it is essential to protect Rosemère’s last great green space.

“This victory would not have been possible without the residents of Rosemère who have invested hundreds of volunteer hours in order to protect this jewel with unique potential. We must also thank the elected officials of the Town of Rosemère, who are increasingly attentive to the will of the population to protect and restore the site with a view to making it a major park that will improve the environment and the health of the population. . .

“We are now calling on provincial political parties to commit to quickly changing expropriation law and financially assisting cities so they can purchase golf courses and former golf courses at fair market value.

In its announcement, the CMM also called on the Quebec government to invest $100 million in the preservation of green and blue wilderness corridors, ecological spaces that would allow wildlife to live and migrate safely.

Linda Gyulai of the Montreal Gazette contributed to this report

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