Has Sherbrooke abandoned the idea of becoming “the green city of Quebec”? A few hours before the opening of the lake-to-the-shoulder that will meet the elected Sherbrooke residents Friday and Saturday at City Hall, the Regroupement des Boisés de Sherbrooke calls on Mayor Steve Lussier and his administration so that the questions surrounding the quality of the environment and sustainable development are at the heart of the priorities of the current municipal council.
In a letter to Mayor Lussier, from which La Tribune obtained a copy, the Regroupement recalls that a report produced in 2009 at the request of the Perrault administration had developed specific recommendations to make Sherbrooke an exemplary city in terms of management of ecological areas and sustainable development.
Among these recommendations, the Table on Ecological Areas called on the City to protect 12% of its territory in quality ecological areas by 2020 – a percentage that many cities have since upgraded. The Table also called on the City to rethink the road system and how to move by sustainable mobility, particularly by linking the city’s green corridors.
Since the production of this report, the Regroupement de Boisés de Sherbrooke says it does not feel “a sufficiently clear and long-term vision” of environmental issues, while many residential and commercial projects are emerging everywhere. on the territory.
« On a l’impression que la Ville réagit seulement lorsque des citoyens se lèvent, au lieu de prendre les devants sur les questions environnementales », déplore Lucie Desgagné, coordonnatrice pour le Regroupement de boisés de Sherbrooke, qui cite le cas du carré Belvédère où la grogne des citoyens semble ignorée de la part de l’administration municipale. « Les gens de ce secteur ont clairement exprimé, et à plusieurs reprises, qu’ils ne voulaient pas de stations d’essence. Pourquoi la Ville ne réagit pas? Elle dit que les promoteurs respectent les règlements. Mais il faudrait qu’il y ait plus d’écoute… ».
Ms. Desgagné believes that Sherbrooke is able to show leadership on environmental issues. “If Drummondville has been able to develop an eco-district, why is Sherbrooke unable to take on a larger role? ”
In a letter to readers, published last week in The Tribune, the former president of the citizen committee who produced the report, Michel Montpetit, in turn challenged the City by asking if the environment was “still” part of the concerns of the elected .
“In recent years, the environmental division of the City of Sherbrooke has been abolished, despite the fact that the Université de Sherbrooke trains 73% of Quebec’s environmental graduate students (…). It also abolished CHARMES, which had become a reference for other municipalities, “recalled Montpetit.
Created in May 2017, the Regroupement de Boisés de Sherbrooke is made up of the Citizen Association for the protection of Boisé-Fabi, the Regroupement du Bois Beckett, the citizens’ committee of Boisé-Belvédère, the Boisé des Deux-Ruisseaux, the Friends Victoria Park, joined by Jean-Marie Croteau, former President of the Regroupement du Mont-Bellevue.
According to its coordinator, the objective of the Regroupement de Boisés de Sherbrooke is not to “go to war” against the municipal administration, but rather to recall the place that environmental issues must occupy in the priorities of the City.
“We do not look for confrontation at all,” says Lucie Desgagné. We hope for better listening and collaboration. It is believed that the election of a new board is a golden opportunity to restart discussions on a real environmental strategy. ”
All indications are that environmental issues will occupy a large part of the trade at the Lac-à-l’épaule. Councilor Sherbrooke Citizen, Évelyne Beaudin, announced Thursday that she intends to raise the issue of sustainable mobility among the priorities that the board should address. She believes that sustainable mobility has paid for the tax freeze of Mayor Lussier:
“While other major cities in Quebec are starting to develop transportation projects, it seems that Sherbrooke has remained stuck in the 20th century,” she says. I hope that not only will we make it a budgetary priority for 2019, but that we will be able to think about sustainable mobility as a whole, “said the city councilor, who also intends to raise issues surrounding democratic processes and economic prosperity. from the lake to the shoulder.