Eastman declines citizens’ petition for moratorium on new development projects

BCN Staff

Following the filing of a petition titled “Pour un développement immobilier, vert, durable et réfléchi à Eastman” calling for a moratorium on new development projects, the Eastman Green committee and the Municipality of Eastman met to discuss the concerns of the population of the environmental impacts of the projects carried out in the Eastman territory.

On April 1, 2021, a petition supported by more than 500 signatories was filed with the municipality. The petition asked the municipal council to impose a complete moratorium for a period of three months on the issuance of any new permits, agreements or certificates authorized for a development project outside the urban perimeter.

According to the press release, the three-month period was intended to be a time to focus on the urban, environmental, social and financial issues of real estate developments in Eastman. The purpose of this process was to encourage the municipality to go beyond provincial and regional standards in order to show leadership in environmental matters.

The members of the council mentioned in the most recent meeting that since the merger of 2001, the vast majority of the real estate development of the municipality takes place within the zones identified by the strategic zoning plan. Council members also noted that it has legislated to minimize environmental impact, when they could not be avoided, in terms of lighting, erosion, retention of runoff, drainage, height of houses in the mountains, density and steep slopes.

The municipality decided this is not a good time to conduct a public consultation. The council had some justifications, starting with the overhaul of the urban plan expected a year from now. Once the plan is completed, the municipality will then have in hand concrete elements that will give greater weight to the protection of the environment, in particular a characterization of wildlife corridors throughout the territory of Eastman. These elements will also make it possible to better align with the new development plan of the MRC de Memphrémagog.

Council declined the request for a moratorium, believing that a moratorium is a drastic measure, which penalizes almost everyone without distinction. Likewise, the council did not want to take steps as restrictive as those linked to a moratorium, while the next municipal council may not treat the file or the consequences of this interruption in the same way, starting in November 2021.

Following the discussion, Eastman Vert and the Municipality of Eastman decided to collaborate to collect citizen data through a survey that will take the concerns of the population on environmental issues and the development of the territory. With the responses received, the municipality believes that the future 2021-2025 council will effectively be able to better identify the main ecological concerns of Eastman residents. The results of such a survey could also improve and complete the overhaul of the future urban plan.

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