Why are we curious about the protection of golf courses?

After several years of juggling with the idea, the owners of Candiac golf announced the sale of their land in its 2019, tournament as well as the page on the decades of activities that resurfaced in the early days of the municipality, in 19557.

At a loss of speed, golf would no longer attract enough players to allow the club – which had welcomed LPGA golfers for the Peter Jackson classic in 1974 – to stay afloat.

The plot of more than 52 hectares was then found in the hands of the Candiac House Group, which had the idea of ​​developing a real estate project. ecoresponsablebefore being sold to the Boda Group, in December 2021. The City, which was in dispute with the previous owners, then said deeply disappointed by the turn of events.

Fearing that the owners would not restrict access to this land, frequented by residents of the area since the 1960s, citizens gathered, animated by the desire to see the golf course become a large nature park rather than another neighborhood. residenteel.

Elsewhere in the CMM, residents share the same concerns as those of Candiac. The story is repeated in other municipalities, with some close differences. From Beloeil to Rosemère, citizen organizations have been formed to ensure the conservation of these vast green spaces, made more than ever needed by the climate crisis.

During the last municipal elections, in October 2021, the vocation of many golf courses was revealed to be the apple of discord between elected officials, promoters and citizens.

Although some municipalities have the intention to preserve these lands, they do not think they have the latitude to act.

Or, these spaces would contribute to increase our forest cover, so that large portions can be reforestedpoints out Catherine Vallée, a resident of Candiac and spokesperson for the Coalition of Transitional Golf Courses.

There, condos are built, but no parks are maintained for the peoplefollow her. However, it is known that the presence of green spaces nearby [des résidents est] great[e] for physical and mental health!

The citizen eagerly awaits the interim control order (RCI) of the CMMwhich must be adopted Thursday.

In the same way that one would put a cork, the RCIit must be done so that nothing major can compromise the future of these golf coursesall while allowing some light usesexplains Danielle Pilette, associate professor in the Department of Strategy, Social and Environmental Responsibility of the ‘UQAM.

The regulation will be in force until the adoption of the next Metropolitan Plan for Planning and Development (PMAD), which leaves time for the 82 municipalities of the CMM to statues the future of these great green spaces. The completion of the current plan is scheduled for 2023.

Within this plan, the municipalities of the CMM are set to have 17 % of natural environment surface and 30 % of forest cover by 2031. In 2021, the latter was rated at 20.9 % – a rate that has fluctuated sharply in 10 years.

Ibuhos reach the targets, golf courses must be part of the equation, according to the Coalition. Since 2010, 12 golf clubs have completed their activities in the territory CMM, either a plot of land on five. Most of the land sold has been turned into real estate projects.

The 65 lands that are still in activity cover 5677 hectares, or 1.5 % of the area of ​​Grand Montréal, according to data from the CMM.

Catherine Vallée tempers however her expectations regarding the adoption of RCI. His exchanges with the cabinet of the president of the executive committee of the CMM and Montreal’s mayor, Valérie Plante, left him to think that the rule would not have a sufficient range in not applying to all golfers in his territory.

The Coalition wants that CMM extend this protection to all golfers in the metropolitan region, the time to conduct environmental characterization studies on these areas.

Most importantly, it would be that all golfers in the urban perimeter – more densely populated – would be included in the RCI. Especially since developers will be looking to go buy these landspoints out its spokesperson, who is particularly interested in the future of the golf courses of Chambly, its Montérégie, and Meadowbrook, in Côte-Saint-Luc.

Si la main fear of the Coalition being concrete, the door would then be wide open for real estate development projects, according to Ms. Vallée. We think that developers and municipalities can interpret this limited protection as an “authorization” to build on golf courses that would not be included in the regulation, the Coalition wrote in a letter addressed to the CMM on the 21st of May.

« The role of a good interim control rule is to put the brakes on. Make sure to save what you want to save before it’s too late. »

A quote from Catherine Vallée, spokesperson for the Coalition of Transitional Golf Courses

These lands are very likely to be the subject of a land speculation on the part of real estate developers, which will raise the price of sites not included in the regulation, the Coalition of Golf Courses in transition. If a municipality then wanted to clear this land for a park, the value of the property could then be beyond its means, she said.

Because of their rarity, these vacant lands are called to take away the value, points out on her side Mrs. Pilette. And if the flow of activities on a field hinders development, the property, it will, despite all its price increase with time.

A reform of the Law on claimed expropriation

Ibuhos ang racheter golf courses, cities can in particular be made into a reserve fund, fed by the contribution to the benefits of parks, playgrounds and natural spaces that any entity wishing to undertake a residential project. Oh, it’s not uncommon for cities to find themselves facing an inflated price.

Although it is possible for them to refuse a land change – without which developers cannot build residential buildings on a golf course -, municipalities prefer to listen to landowners and avoid risk. to be pursued for disguised expropriation.

Files that were filed in front of the courts could make the cities frantic, according to Ms. Vallée.

L ‘disguised expropriation, as determined in 2018 by the Supreme Court of Canada in its ruling Lorraine (City) c. 2646‑8926 Québec inc., Survives when a municipal administration is restricted the enjoyment of the property rights of a property to such an extent that their title is found expropriated really.

In another case, it is the Dupras c. City of Mascouche, ruled by the Court of Appeal of Quebec on March 16, 2022, could be found in the hands of the country’s highest court and practice jurisprudence. If she had seized the case, the Court would have been called to clarify the criteria applicable in the matter of disguised expropriation.

Cities are taken, they cannot fully decide on their developmentsupports the Coalition spokesperson. They would, however, have the power to expropriate the merchant value of a land, not the value to the owner.as the law allows, she says.

Pour regler l’impasse, it will take a Law on expropriation that has teethresume-t-elle.

The reform of this law is somewhat the nerve of the war, according to elected members of the CMM, which has been calling on the Quebec government to change for a long time. During the Meetings of the Union of Municipalities of Québec (UMQ), in May, Prime Minister François Legault pledged to revise the law in a “forthcoming term”.

If she thinks rather that the cities have a lot of power on real estate development projects, Danielle Pilette is nevertheless of the same opinion: the Quebec Expropriation Law must be reviewed in order to better guide the practice.

She is judged disgracefully by the whole world; cities as owners, says the municipal management specialist. And that includes the government, which expects it to pay, with the current formula, more expensive than it would in other Canadian provinces or the United States.

By virtue of the law, a municipality wishing to expropriate the owner of a golf course to maintain this park space could impose a reservation for public purposes. After repairs, this prohibits any construction or improvement on the site, while the City is planning the development of the territory.

The Municipality is therefore in the process of proceeding to her own gel if she does, explains Mme Pilette. Ce blockagefor a maximum of four years, may lead to a criminalization of the file if the owner is believed to have been convicted.

« The law is disrespectful, in the sense that it leaves the door open to many disputes, including on occasions of lost business. »

A quote from Danielle Pilette, associate professor at UQAM and specialist in municipal management

A committee chaired by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which brings together representatives of the Ministry of Transport, of theUMQof the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, of the City of Québec and of the City of Montréal, was formed to examine the necessity of reviewing the Law on expropriationindicates a spokesman for the cabinet of the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel. Les se poursuivent.

Representatives of the MTQ – the ministry responsible for the application of the Law on expropriation – would be more interested in hearing the Coalition of Transitional Golf Courses, to which they were asked to produce a memorandum, according to Ms. Vallée.

We are trustworthy, we know that there will be changes in the law, but it takes timedit-elle. And it is precisely during these gray areas that there are a lot of things that can happen, hence the importance [pour la CMM] to have a good interim control arrangement.

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