People living in Hudson, Que. are urging local officials to step in to stop their beloved lake from draining away because of a crack in the dam.
Pine Lake is an icon of the town Hudson, located west of Montreal.
Hudson resident Jennifer Butler says she bought a house across from the lake because she knew her sons would enjoy watching the wildlife, fishing and catching tadpoles.
'What we’re left with is a small stream running through a giant mud bowl.' - Jennifer Butler, Hudson resident
But this spring, as the ice melted, she watched as her beloved lake turned to mud.
“When it began to thaw, the lake cracked and caved into itself. And we saw that there was a huge hole leading down to the muddy bottom of the lake,” she told CBC's Daybreak.
“The lake completely drained and what we’re left with is a small stream running through a giant mud bowl.”
Butler says the lake was a place where the community gathered year round for skating, fireworks and Father's Day fishing tournaments.
Now she says her family is forced to watch as the rich ecosystem dies.
“My five year old ran to meet me in the driveway with a small turtle in his hand, and he said ‘Mommy, mommy I’ve got a turtle.’ I said, ‘Oh, let me see,’ and he said, ‘It’s dead.’”
According to property appraiser Andy Dodge, the lake's disappearance could result in property values dropping by as much as 15 per cent.
Butler says the municipality isn’t working fast enough to save the lake. She said the land was originally owned by homeowners, but they signed the deed over to the town, with the promise that it would preserve and protect the lake.
Now locals are trying to dig up the deed as proof.
Search for a solution could take 8 months
Hudson Mayor Ed Prevost says he’s doing everything he can.
Prevost says in order to receive approval to fix the dam, the municipality needs to work with several levels of provincial government.
“Our hands are a little bit tied because we have to deal with several ministries,” he told CBC's Daybreak.
Prevost says he sympathizes with local residents.
“It’s a tragedy… environmentally and otherwise.”
“I think the idea of abandoning the lake and just accepting mud flats or Pine Desert ... is completely unacceptable.”
Prevost says it’s too early to pinpoint how much it could cost to fix the lake.
He said it could take up to eight months to find a solution.
In the meantime, residents are banding together to fight for their lake. Local homeowners plan to meet next Monday to discuss their next plans.