Montreal boat owners ask court to block city's plan to turn marina into waterfront park

An association of boat owners is hoping a court injunction will force the city to compromise with them.

The city wants to shut the Lachine Marina to build a $20-million public park

Martine Rochon, a spokesperson for the association of boat owners, said her group hopes the injunction will force the city to compromise. (Franca G. Mignacca/CBC)

A group of boat owners has filed an injunction request that, if granted, would block the City of Montreal from transforming the Lachine Marina into a waterfront park.

In July, Montreal announced it will permanently close the marina this month in order to make space for a $20-million project that will open a new section of Lac Saint-Louis and the Lachine Canal to the public.

The plans include space for kayaking, canoeing and possibly swimming by 2025.

The association of 450 boat owners who use the Lachine Marina presented an alternative architectural plan to the city in early August. Martine Rochon, a spokesperson for the association, said their plan would have allowed both the park to be built and the marina to stay open. 

Rochon said the association has not had any further conversations with the city since then. "We had no choice but to deposit the injunction in hopes that they will reverse their decision and hold public consultations so that we can cohabitate the space," Rochon said. 

The City of Montreal announced in July it will transform the Lachine Marina into a waterfront park, with space for kayaking, canoeing and possibly swimming. (City of Montreal)

In their injunction request, the association of boat owners accuse the city of refusing to negotiate in order to reach a compromise.

The association also says the city has not obtained permission from Transport Canada to dismantle the marina. Furthermore, it claims getting rid of the marina will eliminate around half the docking spaces on Lac Saint-Louis and create a backlog at other marinas. 

According to the city's website, Montreal has 35 marinas with a total of nearly 4,000 docking spaces and 350 places for visitors.

A polarizing project

The city said it will be up to the boaters to find new spots to dock their boats. 

In a statement, the city said it understands the disappointment within the association, but added that "the city is prioritizing the interests of all Montrealers, rather than those of certain people."

A hearing has been scheduled in Quebec Superior Court for Oct. 20.

Since the plan was announced, events have been organized by the public to express both support and opposition to the project.

Ensemble Montreal, the opposition party at city hall, has collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition to keep the marina open.

With files from Franca G. Mignacca


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