Verdun residents raise concerns about beach project

Loud partying, possible wildlife destruction and litter were all cited by Verdun residents as concerns about the beach, expected to open next year.

Loud partying, possible wildlife destruction, litter among issues raised at public meeting

Verdun residents raised their concerns, from possible noise to environmental detriment, about the proposed beach. (WAA Montréal)

Louise Matte says she invested in a condo by the St. Lawrence because she enjoys the peace and quiet.

She's trying to sell it and says the only negative comments she gets are about the $4 million beach that is slated to open nearby next year.

"They'll be eating, they'll probably be drinking. They won't want to leave when it [closes]," she said.

Matte is one of a number condo owners who spoke about their frustrations with the beach at a public meeting last night.

Verdun Mayor Jean-Marc Parenteau said the meeting was meant to let citizens voice their concerns so the borough could act on them.

Others at the meeting asked if the borough had considered the increase in foot traffic and potential garbage.

Parenteau says the plan is to have the beach ready for use next summer in time for Montreal's 375th anniversary.

Threat to wildlife?

The beach is slated to open next year in time for the city's 375th anniversary. (WAA Montréal)

There was also concern about the impact on wildlife.

The borough looked at four different locations for this beach and finally decided on putting the beach behind the Verdun auditorium because they said it would have the least environmental impact on the land.

Parenteau says the new beach will work around the existing ecosystem.

"That's why we work with the [Environment Ministry], to ensure it will conform with the environment. With fish, birds, trees, it was hard but now we can present a beautiful project for the future," he said.

A park, bike path, strong current

The borough also chose that location because of how accessible it is – visitors can park in the auditorium's lot or take the Metro and get off at de l'Église station, which is close by.
The beach will have a park, wooded areas, a bike path and other recreational activities. (WAA Montréal)

It's also close to Verdun's busier streets. The borough believes putting the beach there will give its downtown area an economic boost.

But there are some drawbacks to the location. 

The current is stronger there, so the city will have to do work to slow down the water.

The beach will include a park, woodlands, recreational facilities, a bike path and a library. The development extends over several hundred meters.

with files from CBC's Sarah Leavitt