The Slow Death of Montreal’s Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard Nature Park

Crackling Bomb Fireworks Aimed at Nesting Birds in the Marsh bois-de-l

Crackling Bomb Fireworks Aimed at Nesting Birds in the Marsh bois-de-l’Île-Bizard – Photo by Steve Troletti

As I visit the community of Ile Bizard I can’t help but think that it was the inspiration for Toby Keith’s 2006 album release “WHITE TRASH WITH MONEY”. A West-end stuck up, pretentious group of self indulged individuals gloating in their own self glory as they ridicule their East-end neighbors! A reality fueled by their own perturbed existence that barely reaches past their imagination. Bitter little old ladies cry wolf just to have innocent Coyotes assassinated by the dozen so that they can rule over their quaint little island in all tranquility with their inbred little Bichons.

In the heart of this cesspool community that is Ile Bizard today, you can find what was once the most beautiful Nature Park in all of Montreal, The Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard. A beautiful mixture of wooded paths and marshes accessible through several platforms and passerelles with one that is over 500 meters long. It was once home to one of Montreal’s most diverse fauna and a favored nesting ground for many migrating birds.

The City of Montreal describes this park as “Marshlands with many secrets”. “This picturesque park, which looks out over the Lac des Deux Montagnes, is home to swamps surrounded by stands of maple and cedar. Explore the various trails of this star-shaped park by bicycle or on foot. From the winding walkway over the park’s great swamp, you can see beavers, turtles and ducks. In the summer, you can go canoeing or swimming. In the spring and fall, bring along some binoculars to watch migrating geese fly overhead or congregate along the lake’s edge. The peaceful forest is an excellent setting for hiking and cross-country skiing in the winter.”

Montreal may use the words Peaceful forest but long gone are the days of the peaceful forest. Like many of Montreal’s nature parks, developers, golf courses and crazy neighbors are slowly encroaching on the marshes, disturbing the peaceful natural environment and killing valuable wetlands necessary to the survival of many species.

In just the last few years the Golf course has expanded closer to the Marsh. Now canons, rockets and Golf Carts are used to chase away and frighten birds that land on it’s made by humans for humans plush green turf. The rockets and canons can be heard from the Marsh and not only frighten wildlife on the Golf course but also frighten wildlife in the protected park including visitors who spook at the sound of the rockets. They sound just like RPGs and for those of us who sacrificed ourselves, put our lives in danger, to defend our countries, it makes us question why we did what we did just to protect self centered egotistical individuals like the residents of Ile Bizard. I don’t need to be reminded of an inbound RPG when I’m trying to decompress, relax and enjoy nature and nor do the birds who were once respected and once strived in these protected nesting grounds. It’s a Nature Park not a war zone, it’s not suppose to sound like a battlefield!

Low Flying Helicopter - Ile BizardLow Flying Helicopter – Ile Bizard

Developers have built houses by the thousands bordering the Nature Park from all remaining sides. Music, lawn mowers, construction equipment drown out the sounds of nature all week long. Rich spoiled individuals fill the top of the noise pollution spectrum with their high power boats and helicopters that are even used to buzz the marsh. One of the direct neighbors dumps dirt into the marsh to expand his land and little to nothing is done by the city to stop him.

The permissiveness and lack of respect by Ile Bizard residents is sickening to say the least. The population increase has lead to a dramatic increase in bike traffic throughout the park. The narrow passerelles are now a danger zone for nature lovers and birdwatchers as bikers speed through without any concern for those around them. Signs asking bikers to walk their bikes on the passerelles are systematically pulled down and destroyed.

Dog owners are denied access to the passerelles with their dogs. They do however have access to the rest of the park. Yet every time I’m their someone walks their dog on the passerelle disturbing nesting birds or potential nesters that perceive these canines as predators. These permissive residents of Ile Bizard take on the attitude that if ducks are allowed so is their dog.  Were not just talking permissive and egotistical. These so called affluent humanitarians have dumped yet an other cancer on our society, their offspring. Children raised by nannies and domestic help without the love and attention from Mommy and Daddy! Today this new generation of self centered egotistical pigs have the cash and resources to cause even more damage as they spit in our faces doing what they want when they want!

At just sixteen years of age these modern day affluent Ile Bizard hoodlums are well funded with cash for fast cars, designer drugs, and the means to entertain themselves at the perils of the society around them. With absolutely no sense of responsibility and a total lack of respect for everything around them they are the new generation that will give the Ile Bizard Nature Park its final blow and kill it of for ever. Unless we, the people, take action and stop them!

Fireworks litterin mash at Ile Bizrd Nature ParkFireworks littering mash at Ile Bizrd Nature Park

As of July 1st, 2011, Canada Day, there has been a weekly gathering of young residents inside the park, at night, after closing. A large amount of expensive fireworks and firecrackers are fired on and into the Marshes disturbing if not injuring wildlife that is currently nesting in these fragile wetlands. This goes without counting the empty bottles of Alcohol that were also thrown in the Marsh. The event was repeated on the 8th of July and I fear it will be repeated this Friday evening. As if the event is not disturbing enough, the trash is left behind on the deck and in the marsh itself. The chemical composition of these explosives are extremely polluting and directly affect the food chain (Fish and amphibians) that are the main source of food for many water birds such as the Pied-billed Grebe and their young.

I stumbled upon the remains of the festivities on the morning of Saturday the 9th. What shocked me more than the litter of detonated ordnance was observing the joggers and cyclists who just jogged by and never lifted a finger to help clean the mess and protect some of the environment. Some of them may have even kicked some of it in the marsh to clear a path as they jogged by. Yes Ile Bizard Residents love to roll in their own excrement! Only one person had cleaned up a box full of trash and what was left was still disgusting to see.

White Trash Bag Full of Firecrackers and Fireworks - Ile BizardWhite Trash Bag Full of Firecrackers and Fireworks on the Passerelle – Ile Bizard

We collected the remainder of the littered ordnance and informed the Park’s management. To our surprise we learned about all of the ongoing vandalism and the lack of concern expressed by Public Security officials. The administrators of the Network of Great Parks of Montreal has been trying without success to get help from Montreal’s Public Security, but to no avail. Public security insists the public is in no danger during these violent acts of vandalism so their is little for them to be concerned about. Local residents (The few remaining good ones) have even presented themselves in person at the local police station and were informed of a lack of effective personnel and that nothing could be done at this time. Most private corporations deal with a lack of effective personnel. It’s up to upper management to effectively delegate and manage priorities in order to get the job done. In the private world CEOs loose their job for not getting the job done but I guess it’s different for civil servants. In the last few years many of the wooden structures have been vandalized by setting fires to them. The belvedere at Pointe aux Prairies has been closed for two years due to fire and the gazebo over looking the Lake of Two Mountains burnt to a crisp at the Ile Bizard Nature Park. This little fireworks display left much of the railing scarred from fire, yet to this date in addition to all the previous incidents public safety officials are refusing to intervene leaving a young twenty-four year old male, with no police authority, alone at night to patrol all the regions Great Parks.

Crackling Bomb and Residues Ashes - Ile Bizard PasserelleCrackling Bomb fireworks and Residue Ashes on the Railing of the Ile Bizard Passerelle

Last year I reported a similar situation at the Ile de la Visitation Nature Park where a great deal of litter was amassing in the streets, the park and on our barges just waiting to be swept into the river, The environment at night was one of crime and prostitution as people partied after closing hours with drugs and alcohol. The events disturbed local residents, polluted the environment and caused public safety issues as the individuals drove away with their vehicles while under the influence. Local authorities did close to nothing to resolve the situation and things have just gotten worst.

A huge number of photographers, nature lovers and birdwatchers have enjoyed and taken advantage of the beauty that was once found at the Ile Bizard Nature Park. Now that it is being slowly killed off by irresponsible residents and money hungry developers no one is willing to say Thank You to Mother Nature for all the beauty she provided. No one is ready to fight for the nature that has no voice in our bureaucracy. Everyone is just walking away hoping to find a new spot to enjoy, observe and photograph nature. If we don’t act now, the same people who are destroying Ile Bizard today will come at our heels and destroy the next few remaining nature preserves we have left to enjoy in the Montreal Region.

Ile Bizard Passerelle Littered with Fireworks and Firecrackers after 1st CleanupIle Bizard Passerelle Littered with Fireworks and Firecrackers after 1st Cleanup

Hypocrisy - Wetland Conservation sign at the Tree House - Montreal Botanical GardenHypocrisy – Wetland Conservation sign at the Tree House – Montreal Botanical Garden

The City of Montreal has a history of allowing developers to disturb and destroy the tranquility of its Marshlands. The hypocrisy is overwhelming as you visit the Tree House at the Montreal Botanical Garden. You can see a sign by the Marsh that educates people on the importance of wetlands and why they must remain serene. Yet they have allowed, just recently at the Pointe aux Prairies Nature Park the expansion of a Sport Center at the neighboring school. For over two years large indoor sport complexes were erected feet away from the Marsh and ongoing outdoor excavation work to design additional soccer and football fields has yet to stop. Now the Marshes are empty, for the exception of a few mallards, but you can hear the crowds cheering as games take place alongside the Nature Park. Ile Bizard Nature Park will soon suffer the same faith as less and less birds and wildlife find refuge in its wetlands.

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