Angell Woods: questionable emails, angry citizens, angry owners and a lawsuit
Several hundred angry citizens turned out Tuesday evening in Beaconsfield to express concern over the Angell Woods projet.
The projet has pitted citizens, the city and owners of the private land all against each other.
Citizens and conservationists for the greenspace between highway 20 and 40 asked the demerged city to stop any developer from demolishing the forest.
The problem: the forest is zoned as residential and owned by about half a dozen people - privately.
The city of Beaconsfield revoked all zoning from the area three years ago, pending a debate and decision on what to do.
The land owners are now suing the city because they can’t do anything, even sell, their land.
Meanwhile, residents want Beaconsfield to buy all the owners out and expropriate them, to the tune of about $12 million – funds Beaconsfield does not have, according to a councillor.
Council has put forward a proposal now in the public consultation phase, that suggests returning the land to its previous residential status. New by-laws would be created to limit any potential developers from getting rid of the forest in its entirety.
“This document is protective of the woods,” said councillor Rhonda Masaad. “Legally restricting development as much as we can.”
Restricting development to about 20 percent per lot.
However, the document also shows that depending on different criteria, the unit density on the certain lots would also increase to over 400 units per hectare in some cases.
Citizens expressed deep concerns over a councillor who emailed one of the property owners giving them a heads up of what was in the works.
The move would effectively increase the value of the property, should the owner decide to sell.
A spokesperson for the city of Montreal said they have heard about the email that went out from a female councillor to an owner.
Citizens said the ideal solution would be to ask the city of Montreal to buy the green space. While the city says it has not received a response from the city, a spokesperson confirms they are trying to buy the owners out.
In a telephone interview, spokesman Jonathan Abecassis told CJAD News “they didn’t seem all that motivated to sell, some didn’t return our phone calls.”
Land owner Diana Shahmoon said the city however, didn’t put forward any solid offer. “No numbers.”
Beaconsfield council hopes to vote on the matter on the very last day they can for this session, October 1st.