Mont-Saint-Hilaire: The Will to Preserve


Preserving our natural environment and stopping environment destruction sometimes involves municipalities just having the will to apply existing laws.

The Case of l’ACMSH

Take the case of l’Association des citoyens de Mont-Saint-Hilaire (l’ACMSH). They are demanding that their Town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire preserve a rare stretch of land of ecological, recreational, historical, and patrimonial value at the foot of Mont Saint-Hilaire.

The Area in Question

The area in question, known simply as zone A -16, consists of an apple orchard, two small ancient forests, open fields, a stream and a wetland. The forests shelter various species of trees and plants, some of whose survival is precarious, while the fields shelter a number of species of birds, also threatened, and an incredible number of indigenous species of bees including a bumble bee protected by the federal Species at Risk Act, especially in the orchard within the zone. A biodiversity study was conducted with the Legacy Fund’s support.

Spread along the road with its vistas for cyclists and tourists are a number of patrimonial ancient houses and an apple orchard.

What the Law Allows

The PMAD, Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement, which was adopted in 2011 and under revision in 2023, laid out the vision for making Grand Montreal attractive, competitive and sustainable and the regulations to achieve these goals. Its broad goal is to stop environmental destruction and makes biodiversity protection of central concern.

While the Plan adopted minimum housing densities per hectare, municipalities can opt for higher densities in some parts of their territory to allow for greatly reduced densities in other parts. In this way the Town can preserve areas of high ecological, recreational and patrimonial value.

It is this consideration which l’ACMSH is asking the mayor, Marc-André Guertin, to seek from the Municipalité régionale de comté de la Vallée-du-Richelieu.

For an appreciation of just how determined and dedicated this group of citizens is, please see their most recent press release and their formal Demande de statut particulier pour la zone A-16.

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