In response to an unexpected influx of visitors to Rawdon waterfalls last weekend, the municipality of Lanaudière decided to close its parks to non-residents until Tuesday, June 30.
“It’s a big decision“Said mayor Bruno Guilbault on social media on Monday afternoon, after a meeting of the city council.
The closure for one week concerns the municipal beach, the Dorwin Falls park and the Cascades park.
During the broadcast All morning, a little earlier, the mayor had the opportunity to explain the situation.
“People said to themselves: “We have found a place!” and called their friends from Montreal … It came from everywhere. At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the Sûreté du Québec decided to close the place completely“, He had specified.
To explain these overflows, Mr. Guilbault mentioned the scorching temperature, but also the fact that no water park is still open in Quebec because of the pandemic.
For Robert Mariani, owner of the O’Cascades campsite in Rawdon, “the mayor made a wise decision”
According to his calculations, the Cascades park was hosting about 4,500 people last weekend, three times more than the site’s capacity.
“We were literally invaded by all kinds of people who have zero respect for waste“Deplores Mr. Mariani, who points out that cleaning the site took two full days.
He believes the break period will allow for electronic billboards to inform visitors on the roads around the sites, as well as a towing system to avoid the chaos experienced last week.
On Sunday, a petition from angry citizens was posted online. It calls on local and provincial authorities to take action to enforce health and public safety standards. By early afternoon Tuesday, it had received more than 7,400 signatures.
Not a unique case
Rawdon’s case is not unique. In Gatineau, elected officials deplore the lack of civility at the beach of the Cedars Park. According to Councilor Audrey Bureau, the deconfinement could explain certain misconduct.
“When we get to the point where our blue-collar workers have to do housekeeping twice a day on the beach, it’s that people really don’t show civility“Said the councilor, who believes that the municipality should be less tolerant of alcohol consumption on the site, which is normally prohibited.
In Sainte-Adèle, in the Laurentians, the municipality had to intervene to limit the influx of bathers at the Sainte-Marguerite falls. Parking was restricted and firefighting and police intervention was required.
But for Marc Verville, director general of the grouping of watershed organizations in Quebec, these usage conflicts are symptomatic of a larger problem. “Right now, there are so many lakes and rivers that are difficult to access in Quebec that the interesting places become very well known, very crowded and it creates this kind of conflict between the local population and those who come from outside.“, He argued during the broadcast 15-18, on ICI Première.
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