Anse à l’Orme acquisition points the way
By Robert Frank
Mayor Georges Bourelle plans to move Beaconsfield’s fraught Angell Woods file forward in 2014.
“We are well-aware that this is something which we will need to address within the next few months,” Mayor Bourelle told The Suburban in an interview this week. “Certainly within a reasonably short period, but I can’t tell you what we’re going to do until we have had a discussion in caucus among city councilors.”
Debate over the future of the tract of green space in the northwest corner of the city was the signature issue of last year’s municipal election campaign.
“We’re going to have to come up with a decision on that,” Mayor Bourelle acknowledged.
The mostly privately owned land has long been zoned for development, for which the owners have paid higher taxes than they would have had to remit, had it been zoned for parkland.
Since 2010, an interim control bylaw has precluded building on the land, but that was meant only to provide a temporary breathing space for the Montreal agglomeration council to negotiate with the owners to buy the land and preserve it in perpetuity as a park.
Last summer, six months after Beaconsfield councilors had been told that negotiations were underway, The Suburban revealed that Montreal mandarins had not yet undertaken any deliberation with the owners.
Mayor Bourelle hailed Montreal’s Dec. 20 acquisition of 4.5 hectares of land in Sainte Anne de Bellevue to enlarge the Anse à l’Orme nature park at a cost of $1.9 million plus taxes.
“It’s certainly a step in the right direction,” he smiled. “Hopefully we can address Angell Woods down the road in the same manner.”
“No date is set, but we all agree that we need to sit down and address it,” Mayor Bourelle concluded, noting that the issue will not appear on the agenda of Beaconsfield’s Jan. 27 city council meeting.
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