Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

The company will not use cultivated land, but does not rule out using arable land.

Northvolt: the compensation project in the agricultural zone?

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By giving the green light to the Swedish company's work in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville, in Montérégie, the Quebec Ministry of the Environment required Northvolt to “create, restore or conserve natural environments on an area to be determined, which will be of equal ecological value. »

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To compensate for the wetlands destroyed by its battery factory project, Northvolt is analyzing the potential use of several lands, some of which are located in agricultural territory, Radio-Canada has learned. The company assures that this is not land under cultivation, but the Union of Agricultural Producers of Quebec (UPA) is concerned about “collateral damage”. p>

By giving the green light to the work of the Swedish company in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville, in Montérégie, the Ministry of x27;Environment of Quebec required Northvolt to create, restore or conserve natural environments on an area to be determined, which will be of equal ecological value.

The ministry mentions a single natural environment of 30 to 50 hectares […] outside the site. The company has until January 2027 to submit its proposal to the government.

This compensation project is in addition to the 4 $.7 million in financial compensation that Northvolt must pay to the government for the loss of 130,000 hectares of wetlands, as revealed by Radio-Canada in November.

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The Northvolt mega-factory project site does not touch the agricultural zone, but its environmental compensation project could be in agricultural territory.

Following communications around the compensation to be carried out, we received several proposals which we are currently analyzing, explains Northvolt spokesperson Emmanuelle Rouillard-Moreau. The land that is under analysis by our teams is not agricultural land.

Asked to clarify what she means by agricultural land, she writes: We are indeed referring to land under cultivation. So it could be uncultivated land, but zoned agricultural? Yes, correct.

The president of the Federation of the Union of Agricultural Producers of Montérégie, Jérémie Letellier, is convinced that this humid environment replacement of 30 to 50 hectares in one piece will be in an agricultural zone.

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We don't see where else it could be. It won't be on Taschereau Boulevard, it won't be on Route 116.

A quote from Jérémie Letellier, president of the UPA Federation of Montérégie

Greatly concerned, the UPA published a press release affirming that this compensatory project would therefore cut into the agricultural zone in an unacceptable manner.

In the agricultural zone, there may be cultivated land, fallow land or even maple groves. The UPA recalls that it is in the southern crown of Montreal that agricultural land is the most fertile and that urbanization pressures are among the greatest.

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If all urban regions suffer from a lack of natural environments in Quebec, the most affected region is Montérégie.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">According to the UPA, it would have been preferable to prohibit Northvolt from destroying the wetlands of the Saint-Basile-le-Grand site, but it is too late, since the authorization was was given without recourse to an examination by the Bureau d'public hearings on the environment (BAPE).

Quebec law recommends x27;avoid destroying wetlands, first, then, second, mitigate these environmental impacts and, as a last resort, compensate for them.

Just as agricultural land cannot be considered as a space awaiting urban development, it must not become the site of creation of replacement anthropogenic wetlands for rich companies!

A quote from Jérémie Letellier, president of the UPA de la Montérégie Federation

This fall, a document written by the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food concluded that the development of the battery sector threatens agricultural territory.

We are well aware of the land development issues in Montérégie, assures Northvolt, which obtained its ministerial authorization in 4 months, while the average time in the region is 15 month.

Until now, the government has managed to bypassa lot of steps, so I wonder how he will manage this project, adds Mr. Letellier. He must set an example and he does exactly the opposite.

According to the SaluTERRE alliance, a group of organizations that aims to protect agricultural land, we still have bad reflexes when it comes to land use planning in Quebec.

We must not create new problems by trying to solve another one. You should not undress Pierre to dress Paul.

A quote from Carole-Anne Lapierre, spokesperson for the SaluTERRE alliance

The Legault government is currently carrying out a major consultation on the protection of the territory and agricultural activities, with the aim of reviewing the legislation.

Last June, in an interview with Radio-Canada, the president of the Commission for the Protection of Agricultural Territory of Quebec (CPTAQ), Stéphane Labrie, explained that according to the compensation project, it will require an authorization request from the Commission if it is located in an agricultural zone.

He mentioned recent cases where the agricultural land targeted by a compensation project no longer allowed it to be used for anything other than the preservation of wildlife, while the law requires the Commission to promote preservation. agricultural activities.

The president of the CPTAQ recalled that the definition of agriculture in our law is quite broad. Leaving land fallow is agriculture, within the meaning of the law.

Give a few weeks to an agricultural producer and it will bring wasteland back into cultivation, adds the president of the UPA Federation of Montérégie.

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