Land coveted by the Rabaska project, then the City of Lévis and the Port of Quebec and now the Minister of the Economy. The Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA) may want all land to be returned to agricultural use, but the legal handle is not easy to grasp and it therefore says it is ready to negotiate with the government.
A 2007 agreement between the UPA and Rabaska provides in black and white that the company must take steps with Quebec to “reinclude in the agricultural zone the lots totaling an approximate surface area of 271.7 hectares”, in the event of non-completion. of the project. When the government has acquired this land, as it has already confirmed, this obligation will be transferred to it, it is also provided for in the contract.
“I’m afraid of losing everything, so I prefer to be open to a compromise,” says Duty the president of the Chaudière-Appalaches UPA Federation. It is not a question of being conciliatory, but because it is currently impossible to enforce the agreement, says James Allen in substance. “We are obliged to request an injunction [permanente]because we have no collaboration from Rabaska to go further,” he relates.
A request for a provisional injunction from the UPA was rejected by the Superior Court last June, because the judge did not see the sudden urgency to act. The UPA is now working to obtain a permanent injunction, but “it’s not a simple thing,” Mr. Allen said.
According to the words of the UPA memorandum of understanding, Rabaska must undertake to carry out “an approach to the Government of Quebec aimed at the adoption of a decree” in the event of non-completion.
One of the entanglements is that there is no legal document signed by Rabaska to signify the death of his project. Non-fulfilment, which is provided for in the contract, can therefore be difficult to prove in court.
If the repurchase transaction by Quebec is confirmed, this obligation will be transferred to the government. It will therefore then be the government which will have to make “a representation to the government”, if we follow the logic of the agreement. “The final decision will always rest with the government of Quebec,” rephrases James Allen.
It would therefore not be a question of fully respecting the contract entered into, as demanded by two agricultural producers in The duty Monday, but to “find a landing strip for everyone”, illustrates the regional president of the UPA.
The ideal would be to return all of the land to an agricultural zone, and then submit project by project for evaluation by the Commission for the Protection of Agricultural Land (CPTAQ). But James Allen believes in it less and less: “I don’t dream in colors of succeeding in having all 272 hectares. »
In a press release dated September 16, the union asked the government to “minimally” protect the land already under cultivation and the maple trees on the site. These areas correspond to approximately 120 hectares “to be put under a glass cover”, reiterates Mr. Allen in an interview.
However, the government’s invitation to discuss is still pending, he continues.
He also insists that agricultural land must be preserved at all costs, while Quebec is in full consultation to reopen the law on the subject. Mr. Allen says he fears in particular that places with poorer soil quality will not be as well protected. “Sometimes, there are soils classified 5 or 6 which are excellent pastures for meat animals or even classified 7 with excellent maple groves,” he notes. Cohabitation with industrial projects is often to the detriment of agricultural uses according to him, while only 2% of land is cultivable in Quebec. “We’re going to make Gruyere cheese,” he fears.