UPA fight­ing ur­ban sprawl

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

The Union des pro­duc­teurs agri­coles (UPA) is wor­ried about the in­stal­la­tion of a ter­mi­nal sta­tion for the Re­seau elec­trique metropoli­tain (REM) in an agri­cul­tural zone at the in­ter­sec­tion of au­toroutes 10 and the 30, on the South Shore of Mon­treal.

Read­ing the re­port pre­sented by the pro­moter, only the quad­rants of the cross­roads seem to have been con­sid­ered. “It is de­plorable that no other space in the white zone was con­sid­ered. The au­toroute 30 must serve as a phys­i­cal bar­rier to ur­ban sprawl. Less than ten years af­ter it was fin­ished, at the first op­por­tu­nity, it is pro­posed to cross this in­ter­sec­tion,” said the pres­i­dent of the UPA Mon­teregie, Chris­tian St-Jac­ques.

Be­sides the roughly thirty hectares sac­ri­ficed, this ter­mi­nal sta­tion in an agri­cul­tural zone brings with it the risk of more ur­ban sprawl, which is con­trary to the goal of de­creas­ing ve­hi­cle traf­fic and the prob­lems that come with it. The land around it will be bought by spec­u­la­tors who will let it lie fal­low. Then it would seem like a hous­ing project would be just right on those aban­doned fields; Deja-vu.

“Once again, we have con­di­tions to stop the ur­ban sprawl. This fear has been shared with the promoters. We must pro­mote a global vi­sion of the devel­op­ment of the ter­ri­tory that en­sures that cities be­come denser, the im­prove­ment of pub­lic trans­port and the pro­tec­tion of all green spa­ces, in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural land. This is why this ter­mi­nal sta­tion can­not be in­stalled in a green zone,” said the gen­eral pres­i­dent of the UPA, Mar­cel Groleau, adding that no other in­for­ma­tion has been di­vulged con­cern­ing the study of any other sites.

Ac­cord­ing to the UPA, it is im­per­a­tive that the BAPE comes out against what has been asked by the pro­moter, who hopes to dis­re­gard the com­pe­tency of the Com­mis­sion de pro­tec­tion du ter­ri­toire agri­cole du Que­bec (CPTAQ). It is the role of the CPTAQ to de­ter­mine if there are ap­pro­pri­ate ar­eas out­side of the agri­cul­tural zone and they can re­ject a de­mand for this one rea­son. Lo­cal farm­ers are still busy har­vest­ing their feed for the year.

The pace out on the farm hasn’t slowed down yet for lo­cal dairy and beef pro­duc­ers. There is still more hay­ing to do and the corn and soya crops, grown pri­mar­ily by the dairy farm­ers, are still to be har­vested. Oats, bar­ley and wheat have been har­vested. “We were able to seed our oats early in the spring be­cause it was warmer and drier than usual. The oats and wheat crops in the area were com­bined early and we got quite a re­ally good crop of oats and a lot of straw,” said beef pro­ducer Wen­dell Con­ner, of Hatley Town­ship.

Al­though the weather dur­ing the sum­mer was good for cut­ting hay, it wasn’t the best for an abun­dant hay crop. The dairy pro­duc­ers de­pend on good growth for their sec­ond hay cut which they need to har­vest when the pro­tein con­tent of the hay is at its high­est. “We had a lot of dry days in a row and it was wicked hot. It’s been so dry that the sec­ond cut of hay for the dairy men has not been so good. There is still more sec­ond cut hay to do,” said Mr. Con­ner.

Mr. Con­ner was happy to have sent his beef calves to the auc­tion in the spring, while the prices were still good. “We got a good price for our calves in May. The prices for beef cows had been pretty good, un­til re­cently, then the prices came down. Farm­ers are now get­ting half of what they were get­ting in 2015,” he said. In 2015 a good steer calf could sell for $2000 at the auc­tion, while now the same an­i­mal sells for be­tween $1,000 and $1,100. “There were a lot of beef farm­ers who stuck it out over the years when the prices were low, but then the good prices didn’t stay up long enough. I think there will be quite a few beef farm­ers who will quit,” said Mr. Con­ner.

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