The citizen group Rosemère Green, a group of volunteer citizens who are involved in ensuring the preservation of green spaces in urban areas, and the Coalition of Golf Courses in Transition (CTGT) welcomed the unfavorable notice of the Government of Quebec towards the request of the City of Rosemère to change the use of the site of the old golf course in a press release sent to local media on October 21st 2021. More specifically, the notice blocks the modification of the Land Use Planning and Development Plan (Schéma d’aménagement et de développement/SAD) referred to in draft by-law (PR) 21-02 of the MRC de Thérèse-De Blainville.
In the press release Rosemère Vert announced that it obtained the preliminary notice of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) following an access to information request and decided to make it public. “If this by-law had been adopted before the elections, it would have modified the MRC’s SAD and would have changed the land use of the site of the former Rosemère golf course so that it transitioned into a “Residential in a landscaped environment”. This change was requested by the City of Rosemère in order to open the door to a residential development on the site of the old golf course. The process of modifying the SAD was therefore interrupted and no modification of the latter will take place before the elections.” says Rosemère Vert
In its notice sent to the MRC on the draft Regulation, the Government of Quebec concludes that the MRC’s request to modify the SAD does not comply with government guidelines for land use planning (OGAT). Twelve departments and bodies concerned with land use planning, the Quebec Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks have conveyed their concerns regarding the draft Regulation.
According to Lucie Tremblay of Rosemère Vert, “the government’s conclusions are in line with what we have been reiterating for several months and that the elected officials of Rosemère and the MRC have always refused to hear. The needs as well as the impacts of the development of the site of the old golf course have not been assessed. The unfavorable opinion of the Government of Quebec shows that they did not do their homework and acted quickly to change the use of the site of the old golf course, just before the elections”.
Following this unfavorable opinion, Rosemère Vert and the CTGT ask the government of Quebec to immediately decree a moratorium on changes in the use of golf courses, to make legislative changes to the Expropriation Act and to put sums available to cities to facilitate the purchase of old golf courses to ensure the protection of these green spaces.
NSN reached out to Mayor Westram to comment on the Rosemère Vert’s press release and the Government’s response.
According to the mayor, from the outset, it is important to stress that the comments of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) in its letter of September 16 concern the draft by-law as a whole and this includes in particular Place Rosemère as well as the file of the old golf course. Thus, the comments are not specifically aimed at the golf course.
He also noted that his administration has been developing the urban vision since 2018 with and for the citizens. This vision identified major challenges, including those of commercial vitality on boulevard Labelle – the regional hub of Place Rosemère – the mobility of people on the 117 and on Grande-Cote and the planning of the land use in the old golf course area. This urban vision developed with citizens requires approvals from supra-local MRC, CMM and MAMH authorities. This is a normal and regular process when a municipality revises its urban plan.
Thus, in January 2021, the City made representations to the MRC and the CMM in order to assert the will of the Rosemère people regarding a mix of uses at Place Rosemère and in terms of the protection of a minimum of 50% of the old golf course. The Rosemère community wishes to maintain a density comparable to neighboring areas, which goes against the standards set by the CMM. The Mayor also said that already a 12% of the course has already been developed by the previous administration in 2016.
It is also at the regional hub of Place Rosemère that a higher density is planned. By the same token, this is where the majority of travel would be generated. The MRC and the CMM have given their agreement in principle to the request for a change of assignment and the government of Quebec made its comments in its letter of September 16, which mainly concerns the mobility of people.
“There are no surprises in the opinion of the MAMH. Our preliminary urban plan also identifies the issue of the mobility of people as a priority. We are going to work with the Government of Quebec in order to assert the will of the citizens in this normal and regular process. In short, as I have always said, my commitment is that citizens have the last word.” concluded Mayor Westram.