On Saturday, September 8, 50 to 55 people gathered at the West Bolton Town Hall to hear about a conditional agreement by the Appalachian Corridor (ACA) to purchase three-quarters of the Mont Foster development property. ACA’s objective is to reduce the environmental impact of the residential development as much as possible through creation of a 217 ha nature reserve.

The total area of the development property in West Bolton and Saint-Étienne-de-Bolton is 294 ha. The agreement with the project developers will create a 217 ha (74% of the property) nature reserve and guarantee public access to the observation tower at the summit. The 217 ha nature reserve will be purchased by ACA for approximately $2.5 million with financial support from federal and provincial governments ($1.2M), the ecological gift program ($0.6M), private foundations ($0.2M) and local sources ($0.5M).

This new nature reserve will fill the space between a 36 ha reserve in West Bolton, and a much larger reserve in Saint-Étienne. The value of the land is based on evaluations by two certified land assessment experts.

The next step in the process will be a review of the proposal by West Bolton Council and the Brome-Missisquoi MRC to ensure that it meets applicable regulations and guidelines for the project. This will be followed by a public information meeting to review the proposal, and if all is well, the project will proceed.

With luck, goodwill and flexibility this will bring the Mont Foster controversy to a conclusion.