City takes action to create Rivière-des-Mille-Îles nature preserve

The Laval executive-committee is asking city council to approve measures that will pave the way towards creating one of the largest nature reserves in Quebec along the edge of the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

The first phase of the plan calls for the inclusion of 432 municipal land lots (568 hectares), including islands in the river. The lots in question are already within an area defined as protected by the city.

The new status will grant them additional protection. The project initially got underway following a recommendation made by the Laval-based non-profit nature conservation group Éco-Nature.

“I am proud of this step forward towards the realization of my commitment, big news for Laval residents,” said Mayor Stéphane Boyer. “These additions will multiply by a factor of 20 the area of this protected zone, making an area around twice the size of Central Park.

“The refuge is home to around two-thirds of the animal species in Quebec,” Boyer continued. “By protecting and by connecting these areas together, we will be encouraging the survival and reproduction of hundreds of animal and plant species that live there, while also ensuring people from Laval access to their nature heritage.”

The provincial government is also very enthusiastic about the City of Laval’s plan. “The Rivière-des-Mille-Îles nature refuge is an exceptional site from the point of view of fauna as well as flora and is an area with very high biodiversity,” said Pierre Dufour, Minister of Forests, Fauna and Parks in the CAQ government.

Calling the 568-hectare preserve “a considerable area for protection on private lands,” Dufour said the city’s move is “an important step and an important advantage in the enlargement project for the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles nature reserve ever realized by our biologists in conjunction with Éco-Nature.”

“For more than 20 years, the City of Laval has supported, through real measures, the mission of Éco-Nature to protect, conserve and promote the rivière des Mille Îles and its tributaries,” said Éco-Nature director-general Christine Métayer.

“The addition of these islands, shores and wetlands to the nature refuge is the most recent example. The entire team from the Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is overjoyed with this decision. The people of Laval should feel proud of the commitment by their mayor and his commitment to this magnificent ecological, recreational/touristic project, a major legacy for future generations.”

Among the islands in the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles that will become part of the nature preserve are l’île aux Vaches and l’île Saint-Pierre, which were purchased by the city in 2020. The city says that a third island, l’île Locas, is about to be purchased and the transaction is near the point of being completed.

Laval allows property tax late payments and in two installments

The City of Laval says that due to ongoing economic fallout from the Covid pandemic, property tax bills for the year 2022 will be payable in two installments, due in June and in September. The due dates for the installments are also being extended.

According to the city, the first installment (which had initially been due on March 23) will now be payable no later than June 15. The second installment (which would normally have been due on June 21) is now payable no later than Sept. 13.

“The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt within many families in Laval,” said Mayor Stéphane Boyer. “We hope to help lighten the load for them, allowing them to benefit from a few months of respite in order to better plan their budgets. This boost will also be applying to businesses in Laval.”

City receives certification for stance against domestic violence

The City of Laval has become the first municipality in Quebec to become certified by the provincial government for its efforts to help reduce domestic violence through support provided in the workplace.

Sponsored by the provincial government, the program was launched on Jan. 25 by Isabelle Charest, the minister for women’s issues in the CAQ government. Quebec banking corporation Groupe Desjardins is the only other organization to have received the certification so far.

Through the certification, the city acknowledges its responsibility as an employer to take action when a situation involving harassment by the spouse of an employee arises in the workplace. The city has also pledged to adopt a workplace policy whose goal will be to put into place preventive measures to stop domestic violence.

“The city wishes to facilitate and encourage employees caught up with domestic violence problems so that they can ask for help and to make the situation known,” said Laval Souvenir-Laval city councillor and executive-committee member Sandra El-Helou, who is responsible for women’s issues dossiers on council.

“We hope to have a workplace environment that is respectful and empathetic and where people know they are supported and not alone,” she added. “This is an employer’s responsibility, although mostly a human responsibility.”

In Laval, there are three shelters for women and children who are victims of domestic violence: Maison de Lina (450 962-8085), Maison L’Esther (450 963-6161) and Maison Le Prélude (450 682-3050). Their services are confidential and are offered 24 hours out of 24, 7 days out of 7.

Here are some other resources:

  • SOS domestic violence | 1 800 363-9010
  • CAVAC de Laval | 450 688-4581
  • Centre des femmes de Laval |514 808-2909
  • Athena’s Shield (multilingual services) | 450 688-6584
  • CISSS de Laval
  • And in case of emergency, call 9-1-1.