September 26, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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New Seniors Home in Granby | “We took the lungs out of the city”

New Seniors Home in Granby |  "We took the lungs out of the city"

For 35 years, Carmen Martel and Roch-Andre Brissette have enjoyed the birds, squirrels, rabbits and deer that roam the centuries-old woods in their backyard in Granby. These scenes are now a thing of the past. Last July, the forest adjacent to their property was almost completely razed to make way for a new nursing home.

“It’s a disaster […] They promised to provide a green belt around the project. They didn’t respect it,” laments Mme Martell, showing us the gaping hole less than two meters from his land.

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

In all, only about forty mature trees have been preserved on this plot of land that once numbered 377.

day passed Press On Wednesday, trucks and workers were busy at a massive construction site in the heart of Granby’s residential area. In all, only about forty mature trees have been preserved on this land, which once numbered 377.

“It’s all over in three days”

In 2020, residents of the neighborhood expressed concern about a nursing home being built in the area. The selected land, where there is a century-old maple grove, is owned by the government and is adjacent to a psychiatric facility.

Citizens voiced their voices at the municipal level. But last July, it was a shock: the machines came and destroyed everything. “In three days, everything was gone,” sighs Mr. Brissett, pointing to the stump of a mature maple tree that once shaded his yard.

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

Clement Roy, treasurer of the des boisés de Granby, near the construction site of the new old people’s home

“Citizens felt they were cheated. The value of their home has fallen. Their life changed. We ripped the lungs out of the city,” laments Clement Roy, treasurer of the des boisés de Granby, which will hold a press conference to condemn the situation this Friday.

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Medical Specialist in Microbiology-Infectiology, dd Mirabelle Kelly remembers the day everything was cut. “I was shocked when I saw the pitch. I can’t believe this is being done on government land. We have difficulty securing wood on private land. Why don’t we protect those in public? she asks.

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

dd Mirabelle Kelly, Clinical Specialist in Microbiology-Infectiology

dd Kelly is even more “sad and angry” that in these times of global warming, preserving mature trees, she says, should be a “priority.” “And we’re not talking about air quality. hot island Soil permeability…”, she calculated.

A medical expert points out that forests in urban areas play an important role in people’s health.

I understand that our health institutions and our government involved in this destruction have not considered the impacts on the health and ecosystem services provided to the citizens of this forest.

dd Mirabelle Kelly, Clinical Specialist in Microbiology-Infectiology

CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS indicates that the land was chosen because it “meets all the criteria established by the MSSS. [ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux] “. In the 2021 guidance document, the MSSS suggested that the seniors’ home should be “at the heart of the community, close to activity sectors”.

A spokesperson for the MSSS, Marie-Claude Lacasse, points out that the land sought is “typically in urban or village environments with little forest and avoiding wetlands”. “In cases where deforestation is necessary, experts are advised to preserve as much greenery as possible,” she said.

The land “seemed all appointed”

At the Société Québécois des Infrastructures (SQI), which is leading 46 seniors’ home projects in Quebec, it was noted that “the development of some projects will require the cutting down of some trees.” “However, when necessary, experts [ingénieurs forestiers et arboristes] First employed to reduce erosion and its effects and replant trees,” said spokesperson Francis Martel. About 46 trees will be planted in Granby. “But it will snag”, M. was afraidme the hammer

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

The massive construction site is located in the heart of a residential area in Granby.

Responding to the complaint made last summer, Dd Kelly, SQI’s executive project director, Sophie Laporte, wrote that the Granby site “appeared ideal because it was not contaminated, did not present a wetland or archaeological problem.”

In the document, we can see that SQI has undertaken to “maintain a 5 meter strip of trees” around the project. The City of Granby confirms that this strip needs to be preserved by desecrating it. But we find that “the contractor did not respect the delimitation” because a clause permitted him to do so. “This will ensure the return of the five-metre strip at the end of the work,” the city said.

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

Construction of a new nursing home in Granby

“As part of the Granby Seniors House project, SQI, the project manager, was asked to do as much as possible with the regulatory powers the city has in terms of land use planning,” Mayor Julie indicated via email. Bourdon.

The situation is similar in other cities

Clement Roy emphasized that Granby’s case was not unique. Citizens of Saint-Foy and Val-d’Or have decried the fact that forested areas have been destroyed in recent months to build homes for the elderly in their homes. In October 2021, Nature Quebec launched the SOS campaign for homes for the elderly, in collaboration with the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment and La Planet s’invite en santé, to condemn the construction of seniors’ homes on woodlots, recalls Cyril Frajao. Executive Director of Nature Quebec.

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

Homes bordering a nursing home lot in Granby

“These are two solutions in opposition […] Forests and mature trees are being destroyed to replace old people’s homes and urban farming bins. I don’t understand,” he said.

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The land evaluation grid used by SQI for its projects “does not take into account the environmental weight of what is chosen to build there,” Mr. Frazao expressed regret. “A mature tree is worth about $5,000,” adds Mr. Roy.

dd Kelly believes that Quebec must learn from what is happening in seniors’ homes to prevent it from happening again. “We need all these shields to combat the effects of global warming,” she said.

Calling SQI “extremely sensitive to environmental protection”, its representative, Francis Martel, confirms that a working group is currently “considering the integration of various aspects of sustainable development, including ecosystem services, to improve land selection criteria.”.

Every day, Martel and Mr. Brissett look at the construction of the old man’s home through a metal fence surrounding the land, recalling the many hours they spent cross-country skiing, walking or hiking in the woods. “There is almost nothing left today. Hard to accept. I feel we can do better,” said the hammer

Already late

A total of 46 old age home projects are currently in the government’s pipeline. Only 2 of the 33 houses promised by 2022 will be delivered on time. To run these institutions, 5,726 full-time positions need to be filled.

Learn more

  • 48
    Number of spaces in the future Granby Seniors Home with a scheduled delivery date of summer 2023

    Source: CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS