Happy spring to our APAW members! We hope you are enjoying the feeling of the warmth of the sun finally drying out the earth, leading the trout lilies to start poking through the brown leaves of the forest.
As discussed at our Annual General Meeting last month, there is some news on the Angell Woods front. We are now awaiting the judgment of Madame Justice Johanne Mainville in a case which was heard over two very long weeks in March. One of the few remaining Angell Woods “non-conservation” landowners, Yale Properties, sued the City of Beaconsfield, alleging that the City acted in bad faith. Yale’s lawyers claimed that the City went out of its way to block a development plan hastily submitted by the landowner around the time that the City passed its Angell Woods interim control by-law, back in 2010.
APAW intervened in the case in support of the City. APAW’s attorney assisted the City’s lawyers in their arguments that Beaconsfield has been following all required urban planning rules in simply attempting to carry out the wishes of its elected officials, its citizens and the regional authorities to which it reports, regarding the land use of Angell Woods.
Yale Properties then actually turned their attention against APAW, asking the judge to issue an injunctive order specifically against APAW, its members, officers and directors, prohibiting all access to Yale’s privately-owned part of the Woods. This request would be above and beyond any normal rights to generally keep people off their private property.
It is not at all clear how such an order would work in practice, particularly because it now seems like the majority of people walking in Angell Woods are not even APAW members. It may be that we will be required to formally advise our members that Yale Property’s lands are private. For the record, APAW has of course always acknowledged that portions of Angell Woods are private property.
The judge has taken the whole matter under advisement and will presumably issue her judgment in the coming months. We will keep you posted.
In other news, APAW had filed a formal complaint with the Conseil de la Presse over an article which appeared in the Suburban in 2016, alleging that it was grossly inaccurate regarding certain facts about Angell Woods and that it was highly unbalanced in its reporting of the issue.
After both sides submitted written arguments, the Conseil de la Presse issued its judgment at the beginning of April. APAW’s position was upheld across the board. A link to the judgment is on our website.
In terms of next steps, we are still waiting for the City of Beaconsfield to finalize its zoning of Angell Woods, in compliance with the conservation requirements of the regional authorities, being the Montreal Metropolitan Community and the Agglomeration of Montreal. We will be watching closely.
In the meantime, enjoy the trout lilies!
Your APAW Executive
You are cordially invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Association for the Protection of Angell Woods
Thursday, March 16, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Annexe Herb Linder
303 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield
We hope to see you in person to THANK YOU for your support over the years.
Our guest speaker this year is Kim Marineau, biologist and our adviser for the management of the Angell-Woods Nature Reserve. The conference is entitled:
“Emerald Ash Borer and Urban Woods”
If you are interested in running for the board of directors of APAW, please contact us at email@example.com by Friday, March 13, 2017
Only duly-registered members as of March 13, may attend
Report from the Board
Election of the board of directors
Dear APAW members:
We hope that you are enjoying the annual spring transitions in Angell Woods, as the trout lilies give way to trilliums and the maple, ash and iron-wood tree buds burst into their summer leaves.
You may be aware that as part of its exercise of putting in place up-to-date zoning rules to comply with the regional PMAD and Montreal Agglomeration schéma plans, the City of Beaconsfield is reassessing its long-term development needs. It established an advisory committee on land use planning and development, to listen to the citizens in this regard. Because it initially appeared that one favoured initiative was a high-density TOD (transit-oriented development) in Angell Woods, APAW submitted a brief to examine the pros and cons of such a development, in terms of tax revenues, traffic flows and quality of life for West Island citizens. That brief is now available on our website: www.apaw.ca.
Please note that our brief was submitted BEFORE the announcement of the light rail system due to be built over the next few years, connecting the West Island to the downtown public transit system with trains which will run every 15 minutes or so, similar to the metro frequency. The new light rail system makes it even more clear that a development in Angell Woods adjacent to the Beaurepaire AMT station could not truly be characterized as a “TOD”. TOD’s are supposed to attract residents who choose walking and public transport over our standard suburban car-intensive approach. Given the low frequencies of the current Vaudreuil-Hudson AMT line trains, any new residents moving in to condos adjacent to the Beaurepaire station would no doubt still feel the need to own the customary 2 or so cars per household.
The new light rail system is great news for the West Island. It is also good news for Angell Woods.
Thank you as always for your continued support. Community support is what will ultimately save Angell Woods.
Your APAW Executive