From The Gazette

Senneville

Senneville info meeting eagerly awaited; Residents want council’s answers on green space, development

  • Areas on the watch list of both developers and conservationists in Senneville.
    Areas on the watch list of both developers and conservationists in Senneville.
    Photo credit: Jeanine Lee, Gazette graphics

Senneville council is holding an information meeting for its citizens on Sunday, Nov. 25, and Jane Guest and Martina Hoft are eager to hear what Senneville Mayor George McLeish has to say.

Hoft is a member of the Comité de la protection de l’Anse à l’Orme and Guest is the president of Senneville As a Village Environment (SAVE). Both are concerned about future development in the quiet village at the western tip of the island.

Eighteen months ago, a public consultation was held during which Senne-ville council introduced a developer’s plans to build condominiums and single-family dwellings.

Residents pushed back and the development plan was put on hold.

Around the same time, the Montreal Metropolitan community adopted a new “sustainable development” plan for Greater Montreal called the Plan métropoli-tain d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD).

It identified three challenges: halting urban sprawl, improving access to and use of mass transit, and protecting and improving access to green spaces frequented by the local population and tourists.

“We’ve been waiting (since May 2011) for more information,” Guest said. “Since the adoption of PMAD things have changed. We want to see what the Senneville council is considering.”

On the subject of residential density, PMAD suggests a West Island-wide average of 30 dwellings per hectare. Density in Senneville is now four dwellings per hectare.

“People move to Senne-ville for a particular reason,” Guest said. “There is less hustle and bustle here. We want to maintain that. And we want to conserve the few green spaces we have. So we’re curious to hear how the council plans to reconcile the conservation of green space with some potential development.”

By the end of the year all communities included in the Greater Montreal region are required to come up with an urban plan that reflects the objectives of the PMAD.

McLeish says there won’t be a lot in the way of details to offer at the meeting in Senneville but that there will be a public consultation in the spring.

“At this point (our plan) is very general,” McLeish said. “We’ve hired a biologist to study what parts of Senneville are included in what’s called the ecoterri-tory. We want to make sure what we do is right.”

Hoft and Guest are particularly interested in plans for a 60-acre piece of land just south of Highway 40 that once boasted a Veterans’ Lodge and golf course and is now owned by Canada Lands Co. And they are interested in a portion of the adjacent woods owned by McGill University.

McLeish said the parcel of university-owned land is too expensive to buy but, “our priorities are to maintain the rural nature of Senneville and to protect the green spaces.”

Hoft is worried about the development of the golf course because it is in a migratory bird path and popular with the great horned owl, the red-tailed hawk and the bald eagle.

“Our aim is to protect a large enough parcel of land for the (flora and fauna) to thrive,” Hoft said. “Just a few trees isn’t enough. There needs to be a variety of landscapes for (species) to thrive.”

Also on their watch list is a 3.7-hectare wooded triangle of land bordering Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue near the Veterans’ Hospital which the Lester B. Pearson School Board recently sold for just over $1 million to a numbered company.

“It functions as a green buffer zone between two busy highways,” Hoft said. “It is a mature forest and a wetland.”

Guest hopes the council will take time to listen to suggestions from its citizens.

“There is a lot of intelligence to be tapped out here,” she said. “We are well overdue for an update.”

The information session takes place at the Senne-ville Community Centre, 20 Morningside Ave., Sunday, Nov. 25, at 2: 30 p.m.

kgreenaway@ montrealgazette.com

Twitter: @greenawaygaz

One comment

  1. Pingback: Info Meeting planed for Novembre 25, 2012 « S.A.V.E. Senneville

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