Town of Sutton and Nature Conservancy of Canada reach agreement in principle to protect 323 hectares

As announced by Sutton mayor Robert Benoît at the last council meeting on April 3, the Town of Sutton and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) have reached an agreement to protect three mountain properties totalling 323 hectares later this fall if all goes according to plan. The Town plans to use the $1 million received to upgrade its community and cultural facilities.

“I am very pleased with this news, which will enable us to protect land of high ecological and environmental value in perpetuity,” says Mayor Robert Benoît. “What’s more, the money to be paid by NCC will enable us to create an important reserve earmarked for the renovation or construction of community and cultural buildings owned by the Town, thus avoiding the obligation to borrow or finance such work.”

Nature of the transaction

The transaction between the Town of Sutton and NCC involves three parcels of land, and is expected to take place in September. NCC must first confirm the financing with its financial backers and receive approval from its Board of Directors. If approved, the agreement will be finalized in September.

These three sites will be added to the adjacent sites already held by NCC.

  • The transaction value for the three lots is $2 million. NCC will pay $1 million to the Town of Sutton, and the remainder will be considered a donation of land from the Town to CNC.
  • The lands will be held in perpetuity, in accordance with NCC’s mission and the conditions of NCC’s financial backers.
  • The cutting rights owned by the Town on the three lands that are the subject of the transaction, as well as on other lands already acquired by NCC, will be transferred to NCC.
  • Lake Mohawk, located on one of the transferred lands, will thus be protected in perpetuity. The other three lakes (Spruce, Mud and Vogel), which supply the mountain sector drinking water reservoir, are not part of the agreement and will remain the property of the Town.
  • The agreement is subject to two conditions imposed by the Town: the Parc d’environnement naturel de Sutton (PENS) may continue to maintain and operate its trails located on these lands; leashed dogs will continue to be allowed on these properties in accordance with the rules of the PENS and NCC.
  • The total surface area of the lands in question is approximately 323 ha (see map), or 3.23 km2. They represent 1.1% of Sutton’s territory and will be added to the 17.6% already conserved, in line with the Quebec government’s objective of gradually reaching 30% of protected territory.

A special $1 million fund for community infrastructure

The Town plans to put the $1 million paid by NCC to acquire the three lots into a specially created reserve, in the same way as a park fund.

According to the council’s wishes, this money will be used for municipal purposes, to renovate or build community and cultural infrastructures. This reserve will give the Town considerable financial leverage to carry out projects that benefit the entire community. The creation of this reserve will be the subject of a resolution presented at a future meeting.