Ensemble Montréal is demanding better protection for the Monarch butterfly. The party’s elected representatives are asking the municipal administration to intensify pressure on the Government of Canada to protect lands north of the Montréal airport in perpetuity, working in collaboration with Montréal, the borough of Saint-Laurent and the city of Dorval.
These lands include the “Monarch field”, a 19-hectare site with approximately 6,300 milkweed plants, a perennial essential to the survival of Monarchs, that were mowed down without notice by Aéroports de Montréal (ADM). To avoid a reoccurrence of this unacceptable event, the Official Opposition is calling on City Council to ask Ottawa to require ADM to immediately cease all development on this site.
“The mowing of the Monarch field is a wake-up call. Montréal must reiterate to the federal government the urgency of protecting this and other areas that it owns north of the airport to preserve biodiversity. They could eventually be included in the Des Sources nature park project, which would become a major environmental legacy for future generations,” said Alan DeSousa, Mayor of the Borough of Saint-Laurent.
Although city councillors unanimously passed an Official Opposition motion to adopt a pollinator protection strategy in 2019, it has not yet been implemented. The Official Opposition says it’s time for the administration to put its words into action by tabling this strategy by the end of 2022.
In the meantime, the boroughs and the Service des grands parcs, du Mont-Royal et des sports should be encouraged to plant milkweed and other native, nectar-producing plants. Knowing that Montrealers could also contribute to creating beneficial environments for the Monarchs, the Official Opposition is asking the administration to encourage the boroughs to offer free milkweed seeds this fall and over the coming year. Ensemble Montréal is also inviting the city to collaborate with Space for Life to further promote awareness programs and events related to this species.
“The Monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90% over the past two decades. If we want to ensure its survival, the time for action is now or never. The Monarch butterfly is an essential pollinator for our biodiversity and an international symbol of conservation and nature. Protecting it also sends a clear message about our intentions for the environment,” says Stephanie Valenzuela, the Official Opposition critic for the environment.
A motion to this effect will be tabled at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 22. This motion is to be forwarded to the federal Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, by the administration and the Montréal Metropolitan Community.