Montreal

Lachine boaters' association vows to 'never lift anchor' in fight to preserve marina

Montreal officials were quick to celebrate this week when a local boating association decided not to pursue an injunction against the city’s plans to transform the Lachine marina into a waterfront park. However, the association says it will continue to fight.

Montreal aims to turn marina into waterfront park by 2025

The City of Montreal announced in July that it would be replacing the Lachine Marina with a new waterfront park. (City of Montreal)

Montreal officials were quick to celebrate this week when a local boating association decided not to pursue an injunction against the city's plans to transform the Lachine marina into a waterfront park.

However, the association says "the fight is far from over" and "we will never lift anchor" in a Facebook post Friday.

"The boaters' association will now proceed with a solid Plan C, ensuring that all Montrealers are made aware of this shameful erasure of historic value for both Lachine and Montrealers alike," the Lachine Boaters' Association (APPPL) says.

"The APPPL will now be undertaking their cause through a strong, political action to make their voices heard and pursue their case."

The City of Montreal announced last July that it would be replacing the Lachine marina with a new waterfront park that would make aquatic activities such as kayaking, canoeing and possibly swimming more accessible to residents.

Montreal announced the marina would close after the 2020 season to begin construction on the $20-million park that is slated to be completed by 2025.

APPL's president Josée Côté said the city moved forward with this plan without consulting the 450 people who currently dock their boats in the marina.

Lachine already has several kilometres of parkland available along the river, the APPL argues, and the new park would not generate revenue for the city while the marina, after covering its own operating costs, generates more than $200,000 annually.

 "The City of Montreal should not gloat with its cavalier decision and the outcome of the situation," says Côté in the APPL's statement.

Her comments come just one day after Montreal officials published a statement of their own, quoting Lachine borough Mayor Maja Vodanovic as saying she is glad that the "honour of all those who worked on this file has been restored" by the APPL's decision to give up its legal fight.

"We are eager to work, now, on the transitional uses and the planning of this exceptional site which belongs to all of us," she says.

Residents like Charles Hauss says the new waterfront park will allow more people to enjoy more budget-friendly aquatic activities such as kayaking and sailing. (Charles Hauss/Facebook)

In the coming weeks, the City of Montreal will begin public consultations on the final vision for the park, to be achieved over a four-year period. Transitional programming will also be announced for the site.

According to the city's website, Montreal has about 35 marinas with a total of nearly 4,000 docking spaces and 350 places for visitors. It is up to the boaters to use the city's online directory to find a new spot to dock, the city says. 

Regardless, the APPL says Montreal is turning its back on the past by demolishing a marina that has long served as a stopping point for tourists and earned revenue for the city.

"This municipal marina is truly the jewel of the Lachine nautical basin and is firmly anchored in over a century of maritime traditions and history which all Montrealers should be proud of," the association says.

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