West Bolton Public Consultation on Mt Foster Development

The public consultation was held at the TBL Community Centre on May 25 with 125 people in attendance.

Presentations were made by West Bolton Mayor Drolet, the developer, Mme. Lelièvre of ACA, the West Bolton urbanism consultant and the Mayor of St-Étienne. Together they outlined the reduced number of lots in the development, and the agreement reached between Appalachian Corridor (ACA) conservation organization and the developer to place 217 ha of the property in West Bolton and St-Étienne in conservation status to be owned and managed by ACA. The conservation area covers most of the endangered salamander habitat identified by biologists. The agreement will ensure public access to the Lookout Tower, maintenance of paths and control of hunting.

Changes are being made to several regulations to ensure that all construction on the mountain is carried out with respect for the environment. These changes include establishment of a PIIA to govern house design and construction, sharing of driveways where possible to minimize clearing and access construction, installation of rainwater ponds to control runoff and strict limits on the area to be cleared for construction of each house.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A period covering: use of Paramount Rd to access Mt Foster and the Mt Gauvin development in St-Étienne; the reasons for a vote by West Bolton residents (some of the changes to regulations cover the whole municipality); the establishment of an emergency exit road to link Paramount Rd and Mountain Road. Use of this emergency exit road will be controlled by gates. It can also be used by hikers and cyclists but not by any motorized vehicles except in cases of emergency. It was explained that the entire area above Glenview road at the bottom of Paramount is a cul-de-sac and public safety requires an emergency exit.

One person in the audience insisted on making a presentation against the agreement and the development. Many people left the room.

In closing the Mayor noted two points: If the proposal is accepted the summit of Mt Foster and the habitat will be protected in perpetuity as a Conservation area and there will be public access to the summit and the Lookout Tower; residents of West Bolton have been sent an envelope with information on the proposal with a ballot and return envelope to indicate their support or objection to the development. Ballots will be counted on June 7.