Two years late, Verdun Beach set to finally open
New beach on shore of St. Lawrence River to be inaugurated June 22.
Montreal is getting a very belated 375th birthday gift: a brand new beach in Verdun.
After years of bickering over its location and cost, as well as a holdup in getting federal and provincial authorizations, the beach is set to open June 22.
While the beach was originally slated to cost $4 million, the final bill will be closer to $5 million.
The beach is in Arthur-Therrien Park, just off Gaétan-Laberge Boulevard near Hickson Street, behind the Verdun Auditorium.
"We are really happy because it was a long road to get to today," said Verdun borough Mayor Jean-François Parenteau.
"When we started the project, we thought it would be a lot easier than it actually was."
Excavators are currently working furiously to open the beach on time, and residents curious about the project are surprised to hear it's really happening — and soon.
"I've been watching this project since the conception," said Heather Hill.
"Every summer, they say it will be open soon, so I'm just hoping that is the case this summer."
Gilles Lefebvre, also known as Capitaine Québec, says he's excited to bring his grandkids to the beach but isn't pleased about how the borough has dealt with the delays.
"Instead of telling us they would finish the beach at this date and then this date, they should have just told us work was ongoing, and it'll open when it can," he said.
Water quality will be tested
The water will be continuously monitored, and if the quality falls below acceptable standards, the beach will be closed to swimming.
But Parenteau says the beach's location gives it an advantage.
"We have the privilege to have the Lachine Rapids so close to the beach," he said.
The rapids act as a filter for the water passing through them.
The borough is holding a pre-opening party on June 20, before the official opening happens June 22.
"My Speedo is ready," Parenteau said, laughing.