A group of environmental activists secured a meeting in Ottawa in an effort to stop the Dorval Municipal Golf Course from becoming an airport security checkpoint. Save Our Green Spaces are seeking an environmental assessment for Lot 7 and hoping that the federal government will stop Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) from felling trees until it has been completed.
“If we lose it in a fair fight, that’ll be one thing,” said Don Hobus, a member of the group who met with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) on Tuesday to make a case for the green space.
The hope is that the CEAA will in turn present to the Environment minister and the government will step in, at least temporarily, to stop any more changes to the golf course until an evaluation is completed.
The group believes that it is required under the lease of the land before changes to the golf course can be made, but was never undertaken.
Lot 7 is not required to have an environmental assessment, according to vice-president of public affairs for ADM, Christiane Beaulieu. “It absolutely not mandatory because it is an airport development,” she explained.
The lot is to be transformed into one of four non-passenger screening vehicles security checkpoints by each main entrance required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, she explained. “You have to build them where it’s required and where it makes more sense so that everything is more fluid.” ADM has a deadline of April 1, 2017 to complete the project.
Save Our Green Spaces is also alleging that ADM began cutting trees illegally while an injunction was in court, something the airport says is untrue.
Two injunctions—one on Dec. 2015 and one on April 8—to spare the golf course have been denied. “Nothing was preventing us from cutting the trees a few days before [April 8] because the same injunction in December was denied by the judge,” said Beaulieu.
After the April injunction was denied, Save Our Green Spaces turned out on April 13 to peacefully protest in front of the lot to show they were not giving up. “It’s a matter of presence and showing our disappointment in the airport and the government,” Hobus said at the protest.
Trees on the site are between five and 75 years old, according to a response from ADM to a Sierra Club news release, though some protestors suspect they are older.
ADM intends to keep a 25-metre strip of woodland between Thorncrest Ave. and the lot, as well as a 185-m buffer zone between the residential and the aircraft parking areas.