I have never been a big fan of golf courses. Building them has usually meant the destruction of a forest or, in the extreme, ancient burial grounds. Still, they are a lot better than a big box mall with endless parking. In the last few years I have visited a few parts of the green spaces that run mainly on the north and west sides of Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, and this summer I discovered the west section of Golf Dorval.
The controversy here is that the airport needs to expand and it is merely taking some of the land it owns back for those purposes. On the other hand environmentalists, and some golfers, have objected that this land contains valuable wetlands that are home to migratory birds such as geese and that the land also contains important streams and other animals. I have personally seen red foxes in 2 locations.
SOS Dorval, a citizens coalition, sent a petition signed by an impressive 20,000 people to the federal government. What followed is an all too familiar passing of the buck between the feds and the airport, although the airport quite arrogantly says it is simply taking it’s own land back and no one can do anything about it.
Of course none of this would be happening if Mirabel airport had not failed so spectacularly.
The Green Coalition also has some documentation on their site (scroll down a bit).
In the fall of 2006 I took this shot which verifies that this was a stopping point for Canada Geese. They are almost impossible to see here but there are at least 60 of them.
In the meantime the bulldozers have arrived. Here is what that land looks like as of September viewed from the far right.
The golf course has condensed itself from 36 holes to 18. Here is a short tour of the area above.