Perron: Cost could top $1.5 million
By Robert Frank
Mayor Georges Bourelle provided a breakdown of how much Beaconsfield has thus far spent it its bid to buy up land in Angell Woods, during the June 16 council meeting.
He read part of an itemized breakdown in reply to Beaconsfield resident Gilles Perron during question period.
“In 2007, we acquired a portion of land for $148,700,” responded Mayor Bourelle. “Later in 2007, we made another purchase worth about $200,000 and in 2008 we spent another $200,000 on an acquisition.”
“This year, we have made a series of smaller acquisitions, worth about $43,000, $18,000, $6,000, $5,000 and so forth,” he added.
Perron expressed concern that “to purchase about 25 per cent of Angell Woods the city has spent $750,000 and will possibly spend another $800,000.”
Wants other West Islanders to kick in money
He asked Bourelle to pass a resolution to ask neighbouring cities like Pointe Claire, Kirkland and Baie d’Urfe to contribute to the purchase the green space, which would be turned into a regional park.
“I will certainly ask and see what their reaction is,” promised Mayor Bourelle, “particularly to take the necessary initiative at [an upcoming] agglomeration council meeting.”
Last month, The Suburban reported that Beaconsfield had voted to add another $250,000 to its war chest to buy Angell Woods land from its current owners.
In addition to the earmarks for eventual property purchases, the city has forgone considerable tax revenue since it passed an interim bylaw that prevents owners from building on the land, which is zoned for development similar to the city’s leafy Beacon Hill district.
Beaconsfield has also had to pay for legal fees to defend its stance in court, which would bring the total cost to the city so far over $1 million, not counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it has already allocated to discretionary Angell Woods war chest for future acquisitions.
Councilor Pierre Demers, who voted against last month’s quarter-million dollar earmark, said that while campaigning door-to-door during last year’s municipal election campaign, the overwhelming majority citizens whom he met favoured preserving Angell Woods as green space but were unwilling to shoulder the eyewatering cost of buying the development land from its longtime owners.
The previous, Pollack city administration had favoured a compromise that would have saved at least 80 per cent of Angell Woods, with eco-friendly transit-oriented development limited to a small footprint surrounding the Woodland commuter station—a proposal that Mayor Bourelle endorsed during the election campaign.