When the mayoress of Montreal, ValÃ©rie Plante, announced her intention to create the largest urban park in Canada, the decision seemed to be a consensus, but the following week, three developers who owned part of the land sent the city a letter. lawyer demanding compensation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced he was pledging up to $ 50 million to fund the project, which could settle the decades-long dispute.
“I am very happy to announce that the federal government will be a partner in the important project ValÃ©rie has been talking about for a long time,” Trudeau said. âWe believe in protecting the environment and protecting the future for all of us. “
The federal government has agreed to pay part of the money the city needs to create a huge park on the West Island of Montreal. The estimated $ 125 million project called Great Western Park is now one step closer to reality.
âToday is the investment of up to $ 50 million to support the project,â said Plante. âToday we are announcing our first partner, a partner we can count on.
READ MORE: Montreal plans to create largest urban park in Canada
Plante made it official earlier this month. After three decades of opposition and uncertainty, the 30 square kilometer green space that includes Anse Ã l’Orme and Cap-Saint-Jacques will become the largest urban park in Canada – eight times the size of Central Park in New York.
However, the city was missing some of the money to buy back part of the 3,000 hectares of land currently held by three private developers.
âIt has been a very, very long wandering in the wilderness,â said David Fletcher, vice president of the Green Coalition, of the fight that began in 1988. âSo today we have reached the promised land that we hope. “
Environmentalists have said loud and clear that they want green space to be preserved at all costs and say this is the first step towards stopping the development of more than 5,000 homes.
READ MORE: West Island’s urban park welcomed the news, but environmentalists ask for more
” We are very happy. This is a leadership position taken at a time when the world’s biodiversity is increasingly in crisis, âFletcher told Global News.
Plante has been criticized for not consulting the developers in question. All three sent him a lawyer letter last week demanding compensation and calling the decision a âdisguised expropriationâ.
âWe hope they will be partners in this project,â said Plante, adding that she plans to meet with the developers in the next few days.
Some are hoping that the new federal funding will ensure that the proposed massive park comes into being.
“We hope that resolving this issue will satisfy developers and encourage them to back out of the lawsuits they threatened,” Fletcher said.
WATCH BELOW: Environmental activists applaud city’s decision to preserve green spaces on the West Island of Montreal
Environmental activists applaud the city’s decision to preserve green spaces in the West Island of Montreal