The Friends of Dunes Lake want to see a sea green support ribbons adorning the entire town.

Environmental group reaching out to developer

The Friends of Dunes Lake want to see a sea green support ribbons adorning the entire town.

And to help make it happen dozens of members of the peaceful action group gathered Sunday in the parking lot of the Saint Lazare bog to distribute free green ribbons they hope people will affix to trees in their yard as a visible sign of support.

At issue is the group’s ongoing effort to save Dunes Woods, a 40-hectare old-growth forest they say studies have proven is of great ecological value in the region. The woods and Dunes Lake, which sits in the middle of the lushly forested area, could be partially or fully denuded and replaced by luxury homes if the town relinquishes a reserve it has on the land. A borrowing bylaw that would have allowed the Town to expropriate the woods and turn it into a protected green space was recently defeated following a register signed by close to 1,000 residents.

Many in favor of the bylaw and the conservation project blame the spread of misinformation on the defeat of the effort.

But the group is ready to move forward and work with the Town and the developer to come up with a solution to save the forest.

David Belot says Saint Lazare will see a negligible gain at best if it allows the developer to build 10 or 15 houses on the land.

“They will have to build more roads, offer more services and infrastructure, so the benefit is limited,” he opined, adding cutting down the old-growth trees will mean homes already situated in the high water table area will probably end up grappling with more water issues.

“Once you take out the trees, where will the water go?”

Karen Acres and Pamela Tremblay were encouraged by the number of people stopping by Sunday to get free green ribbons to tie around trees in their yard.

To date more than 1,400 ribbons have been distributed.

“We need a green movement… this is about our quality of life,” Acres said.

Friends of Dunes Lake supports any measures that will allow the forest to become a protected green space.

And they want to reach out to the developer to see if they can work together to make that happen.

“We’re hoping to open a line of communication with him,” Tremblay said.

For Sharon Weiner, who has lived in Saint Lazare for more than 30 years, the woods are where she played as a child, and they’re where she and her husband walk with their dog now.

“I just think enough is enough when it comes to development,” she said, adding, “For me there is no way you can place a dollar amount on a 500-year-old tree.”

Kristina Edson

Kristina Edson

Journalist

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