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Google wants to build a data center in an agricultural area in Beauharnois

Google wants to build a data center in an agricultural area in Beauharnois

Thus, a land with a total area of ​​62.4 hectares can accommodate this project, to which the information technology giant intends to allocate $ 735 million ($ 600 million) to it. Once built, the center will create around thirty specialized jobs PaidAccording to the Quebec Ministry of Economy.

Other jobs must be created to complete the construction of these new facilities.

Since the land Google wanted to acquire is located in an agricultural area, the Legault government has pledged to compensate for the loss of this land by ceding equivalent space to the UPA-Fondaction Agricultural Fund.

These lands are outside the Hydro-Québec agricultural area, next to the land where the new data center will be constructed.

However, the construction of these facilities would not be possible without the intervention of Quebec, which acted by decree to allow the implementation of this project. The most recent one, which was adopted on April 28, authorizes the agricultural area to be excluded from certain plots so that Google can establish its neighborhoods there.

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The land that Quebec promised as compensation for the 62.4 hectares of lost farmland is located near the site where the data center will be installed.

Photo: Taken from the document of principles agreed upon between CMM, Hydro-Québec, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economy and UPA

By doing this, The government grants a private company […] An important right to scrutinize the limited, unrenewable collective wealth essential to Quebec societyJeremy Letelier, president of the Agricultural Producers Association (UPA) in Montergue, lamented.

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He noted that Quebec’s cultivable agricultural area accounts for only 2% of the province’s land.

Adopting a decree allowing a foreign multinational company to get its hands on target territory without going through the established process sets an unfortunate and disturbing precedent.

Quote from:Jeremy Letelier, President of the UPA de la Montérégie

Mr Letelier accused Quebec of neglecting the powers of the Committee on Agricultural Land Protection in Quebec (CPTAQ), whose mission is to advise the Legault government on protecting agricultural areas.

On December 6, 2018, the CPTAQ The city of Boarnoise’s request to exclude these lands, which was subsequently estimated to have a total area of ​​93.61 hectares, was rejected from the agricultural area for the sake of Establishing an industrial project on an international scale.

But by another decree, adopted in September 2019, the Castilla government removed a jurisdiction CPTAQ The file related to the City of Beauharnois’ request to create A computer data center on land owned by Hydro-Québec.

This example, which opens the door to the politicization of division in Quebec, must never be repeated.Jeremy Letelier insisted.

More moderately, UPA President and CEO Marcel Grollo deemed it exceptional case.

According to him, the compensation that Quebec announced on the sidelines of the project comes Reducing damages by re-establishing new lands in green areas, protecting other lands threatened by urban development and facilitating their development through new agricultural projects..

The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, has already announced this monetary compensation Not refundable $ 3.54 million will be awarded to the UPA-Fondaction Agricultural Fund To promote the start of its activities.

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In addition, Hydro-Québec will cede some 150 hectares of land in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, in Montérégie, to the UPA-Fondaction Agricultural Fund. In order to emphasize relevance and sustainability Relations between the latter and the royal institution.

The president and CEO of UPA said he saw it A sign of confidence To the new confidence. However, he emphasized that the federation prefers that the government in the future rely on expertise CPTAQ Before allowing the change of agricultural land Profession.

The way that should be preferred, in all circumstances, is to allow the committee to carry out its work.

Quote from:Marcel Gullio, President of the American Bar Association

While the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontani acknowledged the importance of protecting farmland, he stressed that the mitigation measures promised by the Legault government were Unprecedented. They It bears witness to our commitment to preserving farmland, He said.

Plus investments Pioneer That Google’s access to Beauharnois would entail, the expansion of multinational activities in Quebec confirms We are positioned as one of the most dynamic and green technology centers in the worldWelcome to Minister Fitzgibbon.

Same story with the mayor of Warrenoys, Bruno Tremblay, who was thrilled with this project to come Promote the development of our industrial park.

Another $ 2.7 million envelope will be allocated to the CMM. To ensure the implementation of the urban agricultural parkLegault government said.

Google has been installed in the province since 2004, Google indicated that in addition to its activities in Montérégie, its offices in Montreal, To be developed on Viger StreetUp to 1000 employees. The American giant intends to make Montreal one of its three main offices in the country.

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