The snow depot located next to the Du Tremblay woodland in Longueuil is only used in winter, but its environmental repercussions are felt all year round. Citizens and pressure groups are asking the City to find solutions to protect waterways and the wildlife that inhabits the wooded area, particularly the chorus frog. On the City side, we assure that developments are to come in the coming months.
“I find it absurd that a city like Longueuil wants to create a wildlife refuge in the Du Tremblay woodland while installing a mountain of poison right next to it, which flows into it. »
Wildlife photographer Patrick Bourgeois is a regular at the Du Tremblay woodland which, with its 267 hectares, is by far the largest nature park in Longueuil. He has photographed the tree frog there several times and finds it inconceivable that so much damage would be caused to such a fragile ecosystem.
The amphibians have all left the woods. It’s truly sad.
Patrick Bourgeois, wildlife photographer
The City of Longueuil affirms, however, that the chorus frog still remains present in the Du Tremblay woodland, and continues to be heard, even if the number of individuals is decreasing.
Director of conservation for the organization Ciel et Terre, Tommy Montpetit made the same observation, and for a long time. When the snow melts, the discharge of wastewater contaminates the Massé stream and risks causing the habitats of several species to disappear. Very few animals are found in the woods today.
“(The wetlands) cannot withstand the force of the current when the dump melts,” explains Tommy Montpetit, who believes that moving the dump would only move the problem. “We see holes forming through (the concrete slab) on which the dirty snow is deposited. This is totally laughable! The water flows directly into the Massé stream. We must therefore manage to keep the dump where it is, but by blocking the holes. »
“The woodland has been contaminated since 2008,” adds the expert. Will we be able to decontaminate it? Will (animal) life resume? These are important questions that need answers. »
Alain Branchaud is general director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Quebec section. In addition to the chorus frog, his organization maintains that fish are also threatened by the flow of water in the Du Tremblay woodland sector. He deplores the poor management of this aspect at the City of Longueuil.
“This is a file for which there should be regular inspections,” he said. He would like the Ministry of the Environment to sanction the City and monitor the quality of the water where the various threatened species live, such as the horned mullet or the mud grayling.
The City of Longueuil is aware that the proximity between the snow depot and the wooded area is problematic. The director of strategic advice and spokesperson for the City of Longueuil, Louis-Pascal Cyr, explains that the City’s objective, to decontaminate the site as much as possible, is first to limit the quantity of salt added in winter. . However, an even more important step remains to be taken.
“The objective, initially, is to enlarge the settling basin, which will increase the capture of sedimentation,” says Mr. Cyr. Ultimately, we want to ensure a diversion of water towards the sewer network. »
The expansion of the basin must be completed by winter 2024, when the water diversion will be on a larger scale. Longueuil is already in discussions with the Quebec Ministry of the Environment for field work which will begin in the summer and fall of 2024.
“We asked our teams to review the entire project while respecting wildlife,” said Boisé-Du Tremblay municipal councilor Lysa Bélaïcha. It respects the criteria that are required, including reducing the width of Béliveau Boulevard, and the ban on real estate development in the Du Tremblay woodland. » She says she intends to monitor the impacts and environmental repercussions of the snow dump in the long term.
Lysa Bélaïcha adds that the City of Longueuil has promoted the conservation of the chorus frog habitat by adding ponds in the Du Tremblay woodland, and that the flow of water from the snow deposit does not affect these ponds. According to Tommy Montpetit, the City must at all costs protect the habitat of this species during field work if it is serious in its desire to protect this environment. “Our guidelines for protecting natural environments in the territory are clear,” assures the municipal councilor.
“A simple problem, basically, which has now become a huge problem,” concludes Mr. Montpetit.