An injunction to halt a development in Saint-Laurent’s Technoparc, that conservationists worry threatens the habitat of a vulnerable heron, was refused by the Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday.
The injunction filed by the Green Coalition is the culmination of a battle that conservationists like the Sierra Club and politicians of the Green Party of Quebec and Canada have been waging against the borough of Saint-Laurent and Technoparc’s Eco-Campus Hubert Reeves project since June.
The Coalition asked that certificates of authorisation (CA) for the development be nullified and that construction stop until environmental assessments and community consultations are performed.
They also asked that work be prohibited in a 500-metre radius from the where two adult and three young Least Bitterns—North America’s smallest heron—have been spotted in the adjacent marsh on federal land in accordance with the Species At Risk Act (SARA).
Justice Guylène Beaugé found that the Coalition did not provide sufficient proof that the Quebec Environment Ministry contravened principles of the Loi sur le développement durable by delivering CAs without prior environmental studies.
In addition, the wetland where the Least Bittern was found has not been declared a critical habitat for the protection of the species by the federal government. It is something Beaugé described as “especially true” since the Sierra Club issued a letter to Minister or Environment Catherine McKenna in August asking for her intervention, to no response.
“I think Minister McKenna has got a responsibility for the protection of natural spaces and I am quite willing to collaborate to do what we can to protect the habitat of the Least Bittern,” said mayor of Saint-Laurent and a former member of the Green Coalition, Alan DeSousa, who supports the development.
The federal and provincial environment ministries did not respond to request by TC Media for comment by time of publication.
“The environmental fight is a very difficult fight,” said lawyer Ricardo Hrtschan, representing the Green Coalition. He plans to meet with his client next week to discuss further steps.
Plans for the campus have seven buildings that would eventually house green or nano tech companies. Technoparc will also cede 46 per cent of their land to become protected green space as part of the future des Sources nature park.
“We are hoping everyone will see how [the project is] beneficial for the environment,” said director of communications for Technoparc Montreal, Carl Baillargeon. “If you look really deep into what’s being done versus other industrial research parks, this is totally different. We’re bringing the nature into the office.”
Work on the first phase of the eco-campus—an extension of Alfred Nobel Blvd. and a levee to protect water levels in one marsh—started back Wednesday.