By Gabrielle Fahmy
A first-ever meeting between Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Executive Committee member Réal Ménard to discuss the future of Angell Woods took place at Beaconsfield City Hall, Feb. 20.
Ménard, who is Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve mayor, heads Montreal’s influential sustainable development, environment and parks committee.
“It’s a major step because we need to have the city of Montreal as our partner for whatever we do in terms of acquiring Angell Woods,” Bourelle told The Suburban in an interview after Beaconsfield’s Feb. 24 city council meeting.
The future of the 105-acre green space was the signature issue of Beaconsfield’s municipal election campaign last year. The new mayor hopes that Montreal will help it to purchase and rezone the property as a nature park.
He said that while Beaconsfield might be able to afford a small contribution towards acquiring the land, it is Montreal that will have the resources to pick up most of the bill.
Montreal has a $12 million a year at its disposal for green space acquisition, Bourelle explained. During the next three years that will total $36 million—though he allowed that the money is not only for Angell Woods.
“They have the money to do this and this money has been specifically set aside for this. We’re counting on them,’’ said Bourelle.
Although the city’s valuation of the woods remains unknown, Bourelle noted that Montreal recently bought a similar, ten-acre parcel of land in Sainte Anne de Bellevue for $1.9 million.
Bourelle said that he hopes that Montreal’s involvement will help to negotiate a deal with the two main owners who still hold most of the privately held land in Angell Woods.
‘’They are legal landowners. We have to be respectful of that, we can’t just bulldoze over their property,’’ said Bourelle. ‘’But anything is for sale at a price. So it’s a question of whether we can come to an agreement on the price.’’
Negotiations are expected to begin in the coming weeks.
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