New threats to the
Technoparc’s biodiversity

New industrial developments in the green spaces of the Technoparc de Montréal

May 10, 2023

New threats to the biodiversity of the Technoparc have emerged: the company Hypertec, known for its data centres, plans to build on seven hectares of green space in the Technoparc, putting the sector’s biodiversity at immediate risk. The first lot targeted (2482893, 2482889, 2482895) is a part of wetland complex that provides a critical buffer zone to Heron Pond and Ipex Marsh. A second lot (2597315), located at the corner of Alexander Fleming Street and Marie Curie Avenue, was also acquired by Hypertec.

On April 4, 2023, lots 2485893, 2482889, 2482895 and 2597315 were sold to Hypertec by a group of investors. If permitted to go ahead, construction will result in losses to biodiversity, as well as in fragmentation of 215 hectares of integral green space. We remind the public that more than 27 hectares of greenspace and natural lands have been destroyed in the Technoparc since 2005. In February 2023, 7350 Frederick Banting Inc. razed a 3 ha urban forest in the northern section of the Technoparc (lot 1163769). Hypertec construction will contribute to ongoing losses of ecologically valuable greenspace, which have already totalled the equivalent of 75 soccer fields in Montreal’s second poumon vert, and where over 220 species of birds have been documented.

Despite numerous election promises to protect the sector made by both major parties in the 2021 municipal election, little progress has been made. We are still waiting for concrete action. Projet Montréal had promised the creation of a Parc-Nature des Sources that would cover 175 hectares, including all the land south of Alexander Fleming; the current mayor of Ville Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa, also announced his hope to protect 170 hectares. However, to date, only 16 hectares have actually been zoned for protection.

In the summer of 2021, the citizen group Technoparc Oiseaux mobilized the public against Medicom’s proposed project to build a medical equipment factory in the Champ des Monarques. With numerous community-science biodiversity censuses and reports, alongside concerns expressed by several politicians and the general public, the project was in the end withdrawn. Scientists and public opinion are now unanimous: development in the green spaces of the Technoparc and adjacent federal lands is no longer an option.

As the IPCC’s alarming reports continue to accumulate and the disastrous effects of climate change are increasingly felt, when will we finally put an end to industrial development in the last green spaces of our urban areas? The Montreal Commitment adopted at the recent COP15 was intended, among other things, to encourage cities around the world to reduce threats to biodiversity by conserving existing natural environments and their connectivity.

The often-mentioned idea of compensation for environmental losses and degradation has been wholly unreliable, as seen with the so-called “new” marsh on Frederick Banting Street, which was offered as compensation for the destruction of the former Marais Coeur and Petit Marais Hubert Reeves. Rather than develop natural environments and green spaces in the Technoparc sector, Montreal could place a moratorium on development in greenspaces in the Technoparc, and become a model and a world leader in the protection of urban biodiversity.

We remind the City of Montreal, the federal government and private developers that all 215 hectares of the Technoparc wetlands and adjacent federal lands must be protected or irreversible consequences will befall this area which is so vital for biodiversity, so essential for its cooling island effects in the north of Montreal, and so precious a legacy for future generations.

Benoit Gravel and Katherine Collin
for Technoparc Oiseaux

Feature image: Technoparc wetlands, by Patrick Barnard

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Technoparc Oiseaux is a citizen-mobilization group of over 4800 members working to protect and restore the wetlands, rewilded greenspaces, and natural habitats of the Technoparc and adjacent federal lands.

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