Lake St. Francois-Xavier

Weakened dam lakes

Batimetric mapsThe construction of a dam to raise the water level of a lake by two meters, as was the case at Lake Saint-François-Xavier in 1900/201, will obviously allow the water to invade the perimeter land below this new level, unless it is protected by a dike, wall or other human construction. Depending on the relief and nature of the soil, this operation will result in severe water erosion of the submerged surface.2

Since glaciers have left large accumulations of sand and gravel around our glacial lakes, including Lake Saint-François-Xavier, the resulting sedimentation, some of which will accumulate in the lakebed, will be all the more significant. And that's not counting the deposit of pitouns and wood debris that sank during the log drive. It's not easy to float hardwood3, if you've harvested such wood and used this method normally reserved for conifers. The floating of wood was certainly at the origin of the construction of the dams and dikes at Montfort4; probably to increase the flow of water at the outlet3.

Not to mention the catastrophic flooding of Thurson Lake (Thurston) in January 2004, the discharge of sand and abrasives from the Big Hill, or that caused by the extension of Hunter Street on the side of Napoléon’s Cap. Not to mention the absence, today, of a bottom sluice or aperture allowing the evacuation of sediment and debris at its outlet, as was the case with one of the two Montfort dams5.

Lake Saint-François-Xavier, located in a steep environment, was first home to a village attached to its orphanage. When the latter closed in the mid-1950s, with the resulting exodus of population and the demise of the Montfort railway, the lake's vocation as a resort became more pronounced. By the '30s, the lake had already become "one of the most popular north of Montreal", with 138 summer cottages out of 163 lakeside residences, and another 25 out of 44 houses in the village of Montfort6. Today's habitat is associated with this lake, with its depth and dimensions that, from now on, it would be hard to imagine being able to change.

Even with its 2-metre elevation, Lake Saint-François-Xavier is still shallow, with an average depth of only 5.4 m in the western basin and 6.4 m in the eastern basin, in contrast to Fraser and Farmer lakes, which are between 13 and 14 m deep.7 Accelerated sedimentation, warming of the water and other resulting problems make this lake all the more fragile.

If we were to remove the dam today, the water would have to cut a channel nearly two metres deep to pass under the Montfort bridge and continue to feed Lake Chevreuils, as well as the Rivière à Simon. However, we have no historical record of the accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the lake, nor precise knowledge of the transformation of its bathymetry8. Nor do we seem to have all the means necessary to monitor them.

"As Lac Saint-Charles is used as a drinking water reserve (for Quebec City), a dam was built at the outlet of the lake in 1934 ... replaced in 1948 ... to raise the water level. ... Between 1934 and 1948, the lowlands surrounding Lac Saint-Charles were submerged over widths of up to 50 m. Today, the lake level is about 2 m higher than it was originally. This impoundment upset the physical and biological balance by modifying the lake's morphometry, bringing in a massive input of sediment and periodically creating a significant oxygen deficit over half the water column. This explains the increase in sedimentation observed between 1939 and 1967"2.

Lake SFX therefore demands our full attention, in an attempt to repair the damaging effects of past anthropogenic action and limit the environmental impacts of current and future ones. The pressure on its environment can only increase with the growth of our habitat in its watershed (chemin du lac-Thurson and Des Érables Street, Lac à la Croix, etc.). Are we investing as much in protecting it as we are in developing it?

As part of their "Démarche de concertation sur la gestion des barrages anthropiques", and as a follow-up to the consultations and webinar they held on December 6, the RPNS and Abrinord watershed organizations have produced a document summarizing the information disseminated or gathered. Among other things, it reminds us that owners of high-capacity dams, such as the one on Lake Saint-François-Xavier, now owned by the municipality, are obliged to commission competent engineers to produce a Plan de gestion des eaux retenues (PGER). Such a plan includes a description of the hydrographic network upstream and downstream of the dam, including flood estimates and watershed response times...".

The owner is not required to produce a PGER, among other things, "when water is discharged at the lake outlet via a fixed weir (free spillway) that requires no management/operations"; which is precisely the case for the Lake Saint-François-Xavier dam. But, as Mr. David Godin, of the Direction générale des barrages, MELCCFP, stated at the December 6 webinar, owners should produce such a plan. In the case of high-capacity dams, a number of other obligations nevertheless apply.9

As part of the development of an PGER, "it is recommended that shoreline residents be consulted, that complaints be compiled and that a biologist be consulted to characterize the desired level and flow for the ecosystem."10  This eventual document, being of a public nature, could be useful to the analysis efforts of the Lac Saint-François-Xavier Environmental Fund and the Lake Association, to feed their knowledge of this body of water.

By Carl Chapdelaine

  1. Lake St. François-Xavier's Dam
  2. Envasement / sédimentation / comblement
  3. Chroniques anachroniques
  4. Dike or dam?
  5. Dam lakes
  6. 25e rapport de la Commission des Eaux Courantes de Québec
  7. RSVL + Morphométrie des lacs de Wentworth-Nord
  8. Batimetric maps<
  9. Loi sur la sécurité des barrages
  10. Webinaire : Naviguer dans les eaux de la gestion des barrages
Translated with (free version) & Linguee

To watch for next years, on Lake St-François-Xavier

Montfort Pavilion
  • The future of the pavilion; with the unveiling of the Advisory Committee's recommendations.
  • Estimated attendance.
  • Heritage preservation.
  • The allocated and pro-forma budget; the costs of restoring it; converting it into a multi-purpose pavilion; maintaining it; or demolishing it; constructing a new building and operating it.
  • Subsidy applications and invoicing for certain services.
  • Determining how the building will be used and what activities will be offered, based on the available budget:
-Room for meetings, shows, public markets, community events (corn roast, potluck, etc.), etc.
-Rental to groups or for special events.
-Montfort art gallery.
-Medical care facility.
-Disaster shelter (power failure, etc.).
-Library, kitchen.
  • Regional use, visitor reception and sanitary facilities.
  • Return of kayak, bike etc. rentals?
  • Management (manager, receptionist, employees, volunteers, etc.).
  • Electric reloading facilities.
  • Other
Aerobic corridor
  • Management and monitoring.
  • Cost sharing.
  • Newaygo Bridge.
  • The barrier.
  • Maintenance.
  • Injunction.
  • Right to occupy and circulate.
  • User cohabitation.
The lake
  • Lake access and boat wash.
  • Restoring the wharf at Newaygo.
  • The beach.
  • Dam, outlet, water level.
  • Promotion of a code of conduct, safety, lake map.
  • Sanitary facilities.
  • Aftermath of the Hunter Street extension mud and water flood.
  • Invasion of pondweed
  • Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association
  • Lake Saint-François-Xavier Environmental Fund
Community events: concert on the lake, potlucks, skating rink
Orphans' Trail
Parking : jurisdiction, management, access, stickers, rates
Relations between the municipality and the MRC
Residential development and tax measures for the poor
Services or a road for those without road access
Beautification and flowers (Newaygo marina, bin removal, camouflage and sharing, etc.)
Elections, on November 2, 2025.

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Dam lakes

Tributary streams to dam lakes discharge the sand and gravel collected in their watersheds. But dams are real sediment traps. It can "disrupt the transit of sediments from upstream to downstream in a watercourse" and modify its morphology, bed, and banks. The dam "will also modify the geochemical cycles of major elements (Si, Fe...), trace elements and/or contaminants (As, Cd...), as well as particulate nutrients (organic matter, phosphorus, nitrogen...)"1.

This addition of sediment also reduces the dam lake's water storage capacity.2 The more sediment there is, the less water remains in the basins, not to mention the loss of depth, with all that this entails3 for the Pavilion basin on Lake Saint-François-Xavier. But there is no historical data to quantify the extent of this phenomenon.

The Laurentians are part of the Canadian Shield, a very hard rock formation that resists erosion. Moreover, when surrounded by forest, the lakes are also subject to less sedimentation. And frost, several months a year, stops the accumulation of these sediments. However, deglaciation 10,000 years ago left vast quantities of sand and gravel at the foot of escarpments and in valleys; these sediments, which had not yet joined subglacial streams, are still ready to be transported by runoff, landslides, wave erosion, anthropogenic activities, or other means into our Laurentian lakes.1

Should we allow these sediments to fill our lakes in the long term, as in the case of Lake Saint-François-Xavier, or in a much shorter timeframe, as in the case of Lac Alouette in Saint-Sauveur?4 Should we not instead seek to slow down the phenomenon, or even reverse it? There are three classes of solution, ideally to be combined:
1. Limit upstream sediment input.
2. Dredge accumulated sediment.
3. "Allow sediment to pass through the dam at specific times, or to bypass it"1.

The first step is therefore to slow down the flow of sediment into the lake, by revegetating the shoreline, installing sediment traps, basins, or pits where sediment can be channelled into the lake, such as at the foot of the Big Hill, and by taking protective measures throughout the watershed. 

"It is also possible to carry out dredging or sediment purging, costly solutions that could have a considerable negative impact on downstream areas."5

Finally, the UN researchers mention the construction of "bypasses". "These separate channels allow water to be channelled directly downstream, especially during floods, which often bring in large quantities of sediment."5

There are also devices built into dams, such as bottom gates and sluices, as was the case with one of the two concrete dams on Lake Saint-François-Xavier, now demolished.6,7

  3. Envasement / sédimentation / comblement
  7. Silting of reservoirs

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Dike Or Dam?(<--- click)

The difference between dikes and dams is important since dams are subject to an increasingly sophisticated monitoring protocol.

• According to the Direction de la sécurité des barrages, Ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs, "X0005087 (the long earth embankment along Route Principale, now covered with vegetation or used as access ramp to Montfort Pavilion) is considered a dam within the meaning of the law; it is a retaining structure." In the inventaire du Centre d'expertise hydrique of this department, this dam is referred to as "high-capacity", since it has, among other things, a holding capacity of over 1 million m3.

There are different types of dam; the Lake Saint-François-Xavier dam is of the flexible (earth or rockfill) and immobile type. A dam is primarily defined by the fact that it impounds water, such as an artificial lake, a water reservoir, a managed river, etc. A dyke, on the other hand, is "a structure characterized by its length, designed to impede the movement of water (currents or tides) or to retain water". Dikes often run alongside watercourses whose floods could inundate neighboring land. They are therefore not specifically retaining structures.

Wentworth-Nord is now the full owner of the Lake Saint-François-Xavier dam. "The municipality is therefore subject to the Dam Safety Act. It will have to comply with the obligations decreed by this law and applicable to all dam owners:

  • maintain their dams in a state of operation such that they are not likely to compromise the safety of persons or property;
  • transmit any information or document required to update the dam directory.
The owner of X005087, classified in the "high-capacity" category, must also meet the additional obligations associated with this category:
  • ensure regular monitoring and maintenance of their structures;
  • have the safety of their structures assessed by an engineer;
  • carry out any corrective measures required to ensure the safety of their facilities;
  • compile and keep up to date a dam register, in which dam operations (maintenance, inspections, etc.) and major events such as floods or earthquakes are recorded;
  • produce a management plan for impounded water** ;
  • produce emergency plans for dams presenting risks to human safety.

The newspaper Accès recently reported that, in November 2022, the Abrinord watershed organization held its first consultation workshop on the subject. "More than sixty participants attended. Some thirty dam managers and fifty users also completed a survey.1 

Abrinord and RPNS (rivières Rouge, Petite Nation et Saumon) are now organizing a webinar on the management of man-made dams, on December 6, for all those concerned: Naviguer dans les eaux de la gestion des barrages.This event aims to bring together experts and key players to highlight the roles and responsibilities of the various actors involved, and to deepen your knowledge of the subject." (the Zoom link will be sent the day before to registered participants).

*Email communication from the Direction de la sécurité des barrages.
** Subject to exceptions, "The Dam Safety Act, implemented in 2002, requires the owner of a dam to have an engineer prepare and keep up to date a management plan for the impounded water. This obligation applies retroactively to all high-capacity dams. The dam owner must ensure that the management plan is applied. La gestion du niveau d’eau des barrages-réservoirs au Québec : aspects juridiques et environnementaux

"This plan includes the following information:
1 description of the hydrographic network upstream and downstream of the dam, including flood estimates and watershed response times...;
2 operating constraints relating to the safety of people or property located upstream and downstream of the dam, considered in normal and flood periods;
3 maximum operating level;
4 the flow rate and level corresponding to the safety flood;
8 if the areas surrounding the dam are inhabited, the upstream and downstream flood thresholds;
9 a description of the measures that will be taken by the owner to manage the water retained, particularly when the flow reaches the minor flood threshold, i.e. the flow at which property can be affected by the water discharged by the dam;
10 where applicable, a description of the risk communication strategy for civil protection authorities, other dam owners in the river system, businesses and the general public who may be affected by the application of the impounded water management plan." Gestion des eaux retenues par les barrages-réservoirs au Québec

Other sources :

  1. La gestion des barrages se complexifie dans les Laurentides (Journal Accès)
Other source: Life-span of storage dams

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

The Lake Saint-François-Xavier valley

This valley, in the Rivière du Nord basin, is surrounded by hills: "High, wooded mountains encircle this lake at a short distance from the shore "*. The valley, here defined by the 400-metre contour line, has its headwaters to the southwest, at the water's limit with Lake Saint-Victor, in the Rivière Rouge basin. It descends to the northeast. Lake Saint-François-Xavier is of glacial origin, or at least lies in two glacial basins, carved out by the glaciers.

Two concrete dams and a 200-foot earth embankment on a hard rock lock, straddled by a waterfall descending to Lake Chevreuils 40 meters below, were all that was needed to properly drive the logs and feed a sawmill.
Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Newaygo bridge vs. dam 

Lake St. François-Xavier's large surface area and capacity are largely due to the presence of the century-old dam next to Montfort Pavilion. Under the item Owner or mandatary in the MELCC's Répertoire des barrages data sheet, we find the names of the municipality of Wentworth-Nord and the regional county municipality of Pays-d'en-Haut, with no further details on their share of ownership or responsibility.

For several years now, this dam has been required to be brought up to current standards, due in part to its reclassification as a high-capacity dam. As things stand at present, we can imagine a 40%/60% split of the cost of the work required between the two owners or agents indicated.

In the dispute between the MRC and the municipality concerning the repair or reconstruction of the Newaygo small bridge, the Wentworth-Nord council asserts that it is not our responsibility to repair something that does not belong to us. The MRC, we presume, would instead demand a 40%/60% split, as with other expenses to be shared between these two entities in this dual-jurisdiction area. The impasse still seems total. (Should the owner then charge rent to the municipality, based on the cost of allowing residents to use the bridge; or put a toll booth on it?)

So, if the transaction for the purchase of the Pavillon by the municipality, and obviously the adjoining land, is concluded, would the portion of the dam that would come with the property result in the municipality becoming forever the owner of the entirety of this problematic dam, a structure far more capital than the Newaygo bridge?

Should the need arise to rebuild an obsolete dam one day, or if only to meet even more stringent standards, the MRC and the government, no longer the agent or owner, would not, according to the municipality's argument, have to pay for any part of the investment. That is, unless some other clause unknown to the undersigned comes into play. Of course, we can always count on major subsidies to alleviate the drain on the municipal treasury and residents' wallets, unless a real estate boom lifts the municipality out of its underprivileged status...

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Without a dam: two lakes..

An old dam as a bonus?

We do not have a recording of the Wentworth-Nord council meeting of June 21. Of the series of whereas that precede the resolution to offer $1 for the purchase of the Montfort Pavilion (assets and liabilities) and the land it comprises, we had only noted that one concerned the high-capacity dam that holds back the top two metres of water in Lake St. Francois-Xavier. Only Councillor E. Johnston voted against accepting the resolution, on the grounds that he did not have all the necessary information about the proposed transaction.

Who owns this dike: the shoreline residents, the municipality, the government (the MRC), or all and sundry? And who, as things stand, will have to pay for its maintenance, repair and even reconstruction?

In a letter addressed to the current members of the municipal council a few weeks ago, former District 5 Councillor David Zgodzinski warned them of the risky liability of any portion of the dike that accompanied the purchase of the Pavillon for $1. He cites a La Presse article, Lacs privés, aide publique, which mentions that thousands of dams in Quebec will have to be restored or rebuilt in the years to come; that this work, in the aggregate, will cost hundreds of millions of dollars; that the engineering and other firms called upon to see to it are already overwhelmed... Several municipalities, including Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard and Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, are aware of the huge problem this situation will cause them.

Ownership of these dams, responsibility for their maintenance, etc., is as confused as it is in our eyes for the Lake Saint-François-Xavier dike. The residents of these dammed lakes probably never envisaged having to pay the eventual bill and set aside a reserve to provide for it. "Cowansville invested $700,000 to preserve Bull Pond, located on the territory of another municipality, for the sole benefit of five private owners...; consolidation of the structure (having been) preferred to demolition because of the costs. ... Dismantling the retaining structures would have removed 75% of the lake's surface".

But how, wonders Catherine Hamé Mulcair, the young mayor of Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, who wants to offer "the joy of summer bathing", can she ask all her residents, half of whom can't even put a toe in one of its lakes with no public access, to contribute to their refurbishment?

To buy such a dam, or any section of it, for one of the poorest municipalities in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut? Even if the government program (PAFMAN), which ended on March 31, could be put to work? Never in a hundred years! And would the shoreline residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier support such a decision, as they risk being designated the sole owners of the old dike? In Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard, Revenu Québec, which inherited several dams from residents without succession, threatened to demolish one of them, forcing the municipality to take it over. And the MRC would refuse Wentworth-Nord's gracious offer to remove such a thorn in its side?

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

The Dam: A Sediment Trap

Doesn't the century-old dam1 that raised the level of Lake St. Francois-Xavier to two meters above its natural level constitute a sediment trap of the first order? Didn't it make the lake a huge sedimentation basin? Already a victim of historical, punctual, and permanent sources of sedimentation, isn't the lake condemned to see its depth decrease at an abnormal rate, at the cost of ever-increasing silting? Is the reproduction of its aquatic fauna not increasingly threatened because of this state, as is the clogging of spawning grounds, as well as the proliferation of algae and aquatic plants? It should be noted that the annual rate of sedimentation could be assessed using existing techniques.

Without all the required expertise, it is difficult for the undersigned to make the required diagnosis; but certain rules, findings and considerations must apply. And studies have been carried out on other lakes in Quebec that, like Lake St. Francois-Xavier, have been developed by man. The case of Lake St. Charles in the Quebec City area, where a dam was built in 1934, with similar consequences, is an example.2, 3

Gravel, sand, and other debris, stripped from the banks and the entire watershed of a river, are carried upstream and downstream by the current. They move in this way, more or less rapidly, depending on their granulometry, the flow of the watercourse, the slope, the obstacles encountered, their compaction, etc.4, 5, 6  Even if the outlet, placed here at the top of the dam, under the Lisbourg road, will allow a part of the sediments to cross it, a large quantity of the latter will be retained and will accumulate at the bottom of the basin. While some of the finer sand will pile up at the foot of the dam, the larger particles and heavier gravel will settle further upstream.

The deposition of sediment at the bottom of Lake St. Francois-Xavier, the consequent siltation and increase in turbidity, more specifically caused by the presence of the dam7, are in fact reflected from upstream to downstream over its entire surface area. The hydromorphology and the physico-chemical balance of the watercourse4 are modified by the presence of such an obstacle and the slowing down of the current that it causes. And it is not only the dam that accentuates the problem; the channel under the Montfort bridge is almost entirely filled by the sand and gravel discharged by the Big Hill, which also constitutes a sediment trap. It is of course fortunate that such a trap, with a sediment pit, has now been built at the foot of the Hill instead.

Between the "Church" basin and the appendix that separates it from its outlet, unless we are mistaken in our location, there used to be a 70-foot concrete dam, built around 1919 by the Pères de la Compagnie de Marie, if we are to believe the 25th report of the Commission des Eaux Courantes de Québec (on the year 1936); a dam on which intrepid boys would go to play... It had a "bottom gate (L: 3.3 feet, H: 2.8 feet), placed in the center of the dam, ... (and a) sluice (an opening 8 feet wide by 2 feet high) closed by wooden beams...". Wasn't this last one supposed to allow, on command, the passage of wedged logs and other debris that would have piled up there?

There was another dam, the one that contained only one opening, to allow water to flow through the wood pipe that led to the sawmill below. But since the reconstruction of this dam and the destruction of the 70-foot dam, probably rendered useless to raise the water level and thus increase the water load necessary for the operation of the sawmill, there is no longer any way to adequately drain the lake bottom, we must note.

Obviously, an engineering analysis, with the collection of appropriate measures, would be required to evaluate the exact situation and consider, if necessary, the solutions to be brought.

In the case of the St. Charles River, "...the study that was conducted in 2011-2012 on flow management at Samson Dam showed that regular opening of the bottom gate would allow sediment to be released to the (Saint-Laurent) River, limiting impacts on infrastructure and improving the quality of aquatic habitat (Roy-Gosselin, 2012)."2

The effects of impounding water by a dam, however, can be contradictory and thus require a full analysis. For example, "The impoundment of water may improve its quality, by allowing the deposition of suspended matter, the disintegration of some dissolved matter, and the decrease in the number of bacteria. (Purcell 1939) "8

By Carl Chapdelaine


  1. Centre d'expertise hydrique du MDDELCC 
  2. Envasement / sédimentation / comblement 
  3. Omble de fontaine : Réhabilitation de son habitat dans la rivière du Moulin  
  4. Comment concilier barrages et transport des sédiments? 
  5. La sédimentation dans les lacs … processus, rythmes et impacts  
  6. Dealing with Sediment: Effects on Dams and Hydropower Generation 
  7. L’envasement des cours d’eau 
  8. Bulletin canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques  
Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Robinson Crusoe at Lake St. Francois-Xavier

Life on a desert island, all to yourself and in the middle of nature? Perhaps you were seduced by it in your youth. Well, it's still possible; it even exists. In fact, it's the lot of many of the "no road access" people on the lake.

Imagine, you, the city dweller, finally having a cottage on the shore of a beautiful lake. You found it through a real estate agency. For an affordable price, your retirement fund, you realize your dream! You will spend part of your summer there, according to your leisure. And why not in winter, on occasion, in the beautiful snow and an enchanting decor, or in front of the dancing flames of your fireplace, thanks to the logs that you have strung together?

Owners who are selling it to you seem to regret their departure, perhaps due to family problems. The agents, the notary, all invite you to sign the contract. It's a win-win situation. You have the keys to your domain; it's time for a tour of the property.

Ah, there are a few hiccups regarding sanitation compliance that need to be addressed. Moving would be quite complicated; you will be accommodated with old furniture left on site. Only the motor of the boat was taken away. What about garbage collection and large pieces? The signs of a leaky roof can be seen through the fresh paint on the ceiling. Several of the pilings that support your castle seem to be leaning towards the lake. The facade, on closer inspection, looks a little distorted. Year after year, its base also tries to get imperceptibly closer to the shore; a corner of the house sinks at the same rate.

It's time to call in the contractors. They will want to use the late Mr. Backman's barge to transport machinery and materials. Oh, the barge went to the scrapyard! But the ice cover on the lake allows for winter traffic, a sympathetic neighbor will tell you. With two meters of snow, you don't count on it.

So, how did this Robinson do on his island? Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to isolate yourself like that.

You are now thinking of an access road. Your neighbor on the land registry, in his dreams of an estate on a huge territory, had indeed envisaged one; the remains of the log bridge that would allow him to cross the stream that separates us from the Aerobic Corridor are still there. But the necessary permits to realize his dreams could never be granted; year after year, he had to be content with enriching the municipal coffers, without obtaining the slightest return.

Access by road to the Aerobic Corridor shared-use lane dead end, along with a handful of your landlocked neighbors, and generate additional traffic there? "Won't you think about it?" the mayor and prefect will teach you. You have water access status. For the money of your new property, the purchase of a seaplane would make it easier for you to commute to the metropolis. Well, notary, real estate agents, you have presented things well!

And, to make sure you never have a road to your property; to put it back on its feet if the weight of the snow or the fall of a tree has broken the roof; you will be zoned for all access from the back in green land, with a prohibition to cross. Your isolation will be forever enshrined, and you will be part of the rampart used to protect the lake from any new access. You will always have the option of connecting directly to the Route Principale, along the Aerobic Corridor; as the crow flies, it's two and a half kilometers. That's if you can buy the hilly land to cross; get the necessary building or water crossing permits; and spend millions on it. Would the Thurson Lake Road model work for you?

The municipal services have been helpful, though; you can now take your garbage and recyclables to the beautiful semi-submerged containers; it's a far cry from the ugly, always-overflowing pen. For large pieces, you will have to find a way to get them across the lake, and, with the pick-up truck rented in town, to drop them off at the municipal ecocenter. Leave a container at the marina, like a few years ago. "Don't you think? What an expense; and not being able to control the materials that will be deposited there would go against the recovery of waste and the objective sought by the Municipality; environmental protection obliges.

Go to Morin-Heights to fill up your car with gasoline and drop it off at the Laurel Ecocenter. If the Lac-Thurson highway or, more modestly, the Hunter Street Extension were built to protect the environment by servicing the septic systems of some twenty properties, we are not going to worry about a few individual trips to Morin-Heights and Laurel to allow for a hypothetical recycling of your junk.

You have returned to the tranquility of your cottage. You've earned a session on the computer or watching web TV. Bell is there for you; or rather, was there for you. Forget about web TV; forget about the great discoveries on Facebook; the internet service that could have been adequate when you first arrived at the lake, despite its many faults, is almost impossible to connect you to the rest of the world this summer. No matter how hard you try, you won't get any more; with Bell, only the invoice is faithful to you...

But why not make the most of this return to the old life? Isn't it your internet subscription, along with the television, that has taken away some of the time you could have spent on resort activities; on discovering this wilderness: swimming with the fish and playing hide and seek with the loon, rowing on the lake, contemplating the landscape, walking the Orphan Trail. Go back to the Belvedere and the Refuge, now padlocked; go back to its peat bog, its beaver dam. Take the excursion, equipped with your mosquito repellent hood, to Lac à la Croix, the lake where the ferocious deer flies are more abundant, if possible, than the little black in May and the indelible mosquitoes.

Fortunately, your thirst for nature has finally been satisfied. Your friends and family had made the diagnosis before you and, with the help of the pandemic, their visits have become increasingly rare. You now have the time to do the maintenance work that is now the main purpose of your stay at the lake.

You wanted to play Robinson Crusoe, like the pioneers did at the lake? Well, now you can ripen in your pen, with all the misfits like you. When you or your cottage is down, you'll go back to town. All you'll have to do as a souvenir of that beautiful lake is to pay your municipal taxes or, before you get there, find another Robinson. Your difficult trail, pompously named Mount Street, may one day be transformed into an intermediate bike path between the impassable Orphans' Trail and the cushy Aerobic Corridor.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

L'harmonie au lac St-François-Xavier...

Shoreline Landowners? No!

Landowner $ -- -> $ Municipality + $ notary + $ surveyor

The Director of Urbanism and Environment Services, Mr. Benoit Cadieux, has some bad news for us. Some owners had been made aware of this when they recently purchased their property. For the others, around Lake Saint-François-Xavier, it is a total surprise. One homeowner even found his house on land that had become municipal. You can find out what it is for each property by consulting GeoCentralis*.

Simply close your eyes and buy this strip, pay the surveyor and the notary? But wouldn't it be possible, all together, to contest and assert an acquired right? It seems so: (French)
*GeoCentralis  Recherche -­>Adresse -> Scroll the level down to find your street ->Civic number ->place the hand on the riverside lot between your property and the lake if any.)

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

A dock for the Lac St-Victor Estates' lot at the head of Lake St-François-Xavier.

Note: Councillor David Zgodzinski indicated that this item was removed from the agenda; that another avenue would have to be identified...

Addition of May 21, 2021:

The request for exemption, presented by Mr. Marc-André Dunn at item 8.42 of the agenda, would aim at regularizing, following the reorganization of the cadastre, the limits of his property at the expense of the waterfront lot 5 830 263 adjoining that of Lac St-Victor Estates at the head of Lake Saint-François-Xavier (5589067), we understand.

Would the Estates already have the right to build a dock on this lot? If so, the requested exemptions would not change the current situation. On the contrary, if one of the derogations gave them this right, then the risk of access to the lake by one or more owners associated with Lac St-Victor Estates would become more concrete.

Questions we believe should be asked when this agenda item is presented:
- Who owns the unbuilt lot 5830 263; the municipality or Lac St-Victor Estates?
- Does Lac St-Victor Estates already have the right to build a dock on this lot?

The Wentworth-Nord council will vote, during its regular meeting of May 21, on a request for a minor exemption regarding the Lac St-Victor Estates lot that caused so much controversy among Lake Saint-François-Xavier residents, earlier this year.

It is to authorize the creation of an unbuilt lot bordering the lake and to allow the construction of a dock "to serve a single non-waterfront residence".

There was concern that, despite all the assurances given to residents and the involvement of the Lake Association, a strategy already used at neighbouring lakes to give their residents access to another lake was about to be repeated here. The requested exemption would go against the spirit of the municipality's by-law, which is intended to prevent the application of such strategies.

Residents who wish to object to the request for an exemption will have to do so during the meeting, i.e. when the item is dealt with on the agenda, and not during the question period.

With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

By-law on Lac à la Croix coming into force

Last step in its creation, a public notice announces the coming into force, on April 15, 2021, of Bylaw 2017-498-7 authorizing the zoning amendment for the realization of the Lac St-Victor Estates integrated project at Lac à la Croix.  Lac à la Croix: sign?

More or less rapid thawing in Lake Saint-François-Xavier

We learned from Mrs. Hélène Chartier that the thawing of the Newaygo basin of Lake Saint-François-Xavier appeared later than that of the Montfort basin. But why? We had no idea. Was it true?

A large lake freezes and thaws more slowly than a smaller one. Bathymetric maps show that the Newaygo Basin (West) is larger than the Montfort Basin (East), 2,410,000 m3 vs. 1,880,000 m3. Bathymetric maps  Its surface area is 0.449 km vs. 0.297 km. This may partly explain why it thaws after the latter. The East Basin trench, however, is deeper (16.9 m vs. 9.6 m, and 6.3 m mean depth vs. 5.4 m).

Several other variables, especially morphometric and hydrological, certainly come into play; but we have not found a scientific list of them. We can think of the shape of a lake, elongated or round; of the length of its perimeter and therefore of its shoreline, with the contact of the shoreline, of the land that reacts differently to the phenomenon of thawing. There is the play of the differences of sunshine. The wind can blow across an elongated lake, such as the two basins of Lake Saint-François-Xavier, and disrupt the phenomenon.

And the shoreline of the Newaygo Basin, with a lower density of habitat, is probably more forested than the Montfort. There is the contribution of tributaries, streams, and their own watersheds, which can vary both water temperature and current velocity. (The West Basin, with its watershed, is itself tributary (i.e. upstream) to the East Basin).

Probably because of its volume, the water renewal time is slower in the West basin: 0.83/year against 0.37/year for the East. But does this delay its warming?  L'Atlas des lacs des Laurentides (CRE)

For his part, David Clark notes, if we understand him correctly, that a strong easterly wind during the thaw, as in this year, prematurely frees most of the Montfort Basin from its thin ice cover by forcing it to pile up to the west, towards the Newaygo Bridge. (The axis of the two basins is southwest-northeast.) This phenomenon would affect the Newaygo Basin less, especially its bay along the Aerobic Corridor.

If you have the answer to this, please share it with us.

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Early Ice-out! 

In this very early spring, we learn that the lakes surrounding Montfort are already having their ice cover slightly sliding under the water. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is already in bloom. Soon, the snow will be a white memory. In 2020, the region only had this change in early May.

Summer vacationers must be starting to worry about the condition of their cottages, their electrical installations, the mooring of their docks. Would some of them have taken advantage of the unusually warm days this week to conduct on-site inspection?

Certainly, the permanent residents are waiting for them with open arms; but while respecting the physical distance measures... And what about the instructions of the authorities for interregional travel? The municipality of Wentworth-Nord, like the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, seems to be stingy with its directives. Wave after wave, are we going to relive the uncertainty of last spring. Has the distrust of one another, a behaviour that worries sociologists, faded?

Montrealers are ahead of their Laurentian neighbors in terms of vaccination, but the instructions for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated remain the same. However, videoconferencing cannot replace human contact.

Translated with (free version) & Linguee.


By Carl Chapdelaine

Lac à la Croix : sign?

Draft by-law 2017-498-7, authorizing the zoning amendment for the realization of the integrated project of Lac St-Victor Estates at Lac à la Croix, was adopted by the municipal council on February 19. Contrary to the impression given, this zoning amendment would not really be decisive in the realization of the developer's project. However, it has monopolized the attention of the residents of the three neighbouring large lakes, who, for various reasons, could be concerned about its realization. The question of the impact on the environment has not yet been truly addressed by the authorities, nor by those who want to represent us.

It has been suggested to residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier that a servitude in a contract to be signed between a non-profit organization, such as the Fonds environnemental du lac Saint-François-Xavier, and, we understand, Lac St-Victor Estates, would prevent the latter, (as well as any purchaser of their lots), from accessing Lake Saint-François-Xavier through a waterfront property they own. The same type of agreement should eventually be concluded between the Fund and all concerned waterfront property owners of this lake.

The servitude (here, according to our interpretation, the prohibition of passage, therefore negative) is a charge imposed on a lot, the "servient land" (here, the Lac St-Victor Estates lot or those of the shoreline owners of Lake SFX?), in favour of a lot belonging to another owner, the "dominant land" (here, the Environmental Fund lot). Moreover, would such a servitude apply to contiguous land, as is the rule, or would it apply to land that is not contiguous?

This contract involves the purchase of land by the Fund, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is our interpretation that the servitude prohibiting a right of access to the lake is included in all such purchase contracts. All you would have to do would be to sign to move on... Do you understand the scenario, its implications and promises? Do you believe it?

You would sign a contract to become co-owner of a private waterfront strip on the Florida coast, an exceptional opportunity, but one that you should quickly respond to, given the rush on this offer? Or would you first ask an independent expert to clearly explain all the implications and results of your commitment?

Recently, the lake Saint-Francois-Xavier Association (ALSFX) and the LSFX Environmental Fund informed their members that they were working closely together on this issue and that they were in close contact with the municipality and representatives of Lac Notre-Dame. In mid-February, the ALSFX had requested the services of a law firm to obtain a legal opinion on all accesses to the lake. The Lake Association planned to provide a summary to all its members upon receipt of this legal information. Fund members would also be kept informed of the progress of the discussions.

The two organizations are therefore in discussion with people who are involved in or have expressed their support for the realization of the lac St-Victor Estates projects at Lac à la Croix. The agreement studied, which was modelled on the one that would have been developed at Lac Notre-Dame, would not have worked over there because some owners refused to sign it. The same promoter was therefore able to set foot on a neighbouring lake, but suggests that he will not do the same at Lac à la Croix. If the servitude was positive, i.e., it gave a right of way and access to Lake Saint-Francois-Xavier to a limited number of owners (those of Lac à la Croix), this being presented as a lesser evil by lac St-Victor Estates, it is the Fund that would be taken with the future administration of this servitude.

Wouldn't the solution be to restrict the use of the area, to be defined by the urban planning services and adopted by the municipal council? This is to the extent that it is applicable and not disputable by the owners and the developer; the latter, we believe, according to Director Cadieux, having already abused the permitted uses of Lake Saint-Victor.

If the municipal council made the right decision; if it had no choice; it does not seem, even with two public consultations, to have explained it properly to the residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier, who are increasingly worried, left to their own devices and, unlike those of the two neighbouring large lakes, without the slightest recourse in the face of the development at Lac à la Croix as it stands.

Moreover, in these times when board members accuse each other of malfeasance and of direct or indirect personal interests in making decisions or supporting developers; when those who intend to run for a first or second term may be motivated primarily by the search for allies within our community, etc., can we give them credence? Similarly, can we trust the project proponent and let those who say they represent us sign the agreement they suggest? How can we be sure that, as at Lac Notre-Dame, they will not be fooled in the same way? Sign and throw yourself in the air; or make sure you have a certified parachute first?

With all reservations, without having all the data and without claiming to have the necessary qualifications to evaluate the situation; 

by Carl Chapdelaine, 

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Lac à la Croix: referendum?

Public notice, W-N.

As Wentworth-Nord's Director of Planning and Environmental Services, Mr. Benoit Cadieux, had indicated, Lake Saint-François-Xavier residents are completely excluded from the possibility of requesting a referendum, since there is a recreational zone (REC-09, in purple on the sketch included in the notice) that prevents their zone from being contiguous to the zones concerned (H-58 and H-60). However, residents of Lake Saint-Victor (Zone 58) and Lake Notre-Dame (Zone 59) are eligible. Residents of the latter lakes will therefore decide whether or not to hold a referendum on a project that primarily concerns Lake Saint-François-Xavier; at least as far as the watercourse environment is concerned.

"In the context of the declaration of a health emergency ... any procedure for registering persons entitled to vote ... under ... the Municipal Elections and Referendums Act is replaced until further notice by a 15-day period for the receipt of written requests for a referendum ballot".

"Applications must be received no later than March 17, 2021 at the office of the Municipality of Wentworth-Nord located at 3488 Route Principale or at the following e-mail address Persons sending a request by mail are invited to do so as soon as possible to take into account the postal delivery time.
By Carl Chapdelaine.
Translated with (free version) & Linguee.

Lac à la Croix: allocation of responsibilities

<-- Cartography of wetlands

In an email exchange initiated by Ms. Colleen Horan, Mr. David Clark will intervene to remind the role he sees for each organization involved in this file. He could speak from experience, being the former president of the Association du lac Saint-François-Xavier (ALSFX) and founder of the Lake Saint-Francois -Xavier Environmental Fund.

Ms. Horan asked the directors of the Fund if they would take action on the upcoming development plan around Lac à la Croix. "Will you follow the advice of our councillor David Zgodzinski to accept a piece of land from the municipality and therefore contact the lawyer from Lachute who worked on the Lac Notre Dame project, to go ahead with this proposal in order to safeguard our lake and its access?"
Mr. Gerald Van Gurp, new on the Board of Directors of the Fund, had responded to Mrs. Horan that his directors had not been sitting idle.
Since Councillor Zgodzinski's (District 5) triggering email, there had been multiple Zoom meetings attended by Councillor Zgodzinski, as well as the President of the Lake Association and and a key person from Lake Notre-Dame, with valuable experience sharing. The municipal planner and the developer had also been contacted. The President of the Fund was currently at the helm waiting for a document requested from the planner.

David Clark noted that there were four entities/organizations involved in this issue: the Lake Association, the Environmental Fund, Councillor Zgodzinski and the Municipality. The developer was of course also in the middle of the picture, but he was not speaking of him at this time. In this case, "each one has a specific role to play and responsibilities to carry out. Those roles and responsibilities must be respected and each party must fulfill their roles and perform their responsibilities. If we do not insist on this we will end up exactly where we are, everyone looking to the other guys to do something, the people responsible dogging the bullets and confusion and lack of action prevailing."

"The Lake Association should have the lead on this. This is a lake and lake community issue and that is their domain. The Fund is the source of resources to enable the Lake Association. In this particular instance they will need to take on an addition role. Because the Lake Association is not incorporated, it is not considered a legal entity so it can not own property. The Fund is incorporated and so can own property. This is actually good for the Fund as it allows them to increase their assets, grow in value at little cost. Everyone wins."
"However the fact that the Fund is performing a responsibility on behalf of the Lake Association does not transfer leadership from the Lake Association to the Fund. The Lake Association is still responsible to manage this to completion. "

"Our councillors role is to manage the interface with the Municipality and make sure this stays visible and that it gets executed in a timely manner and with no holes in it. I think this piece is working well at this point and we should all thank Dave Z for keeping this alive."

"The Municipalities role is to ensure no agreements are approved until this issue is settled to the satisfaction af all parties and that everything is in place to Protect our lake and the Lac a la Croix wetlands, not just the lake but all the vulnerable areas around it. This would include environmental studies and any necessary changes in municipal regulations and zoning require to protect this vital and sensitive environment. Because this area is a wetland at the very top of our watershed it is critical to the health of our lake. I believe any work in this area would come under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government and that they need to be involved and approve it. This was the case with the Thurston Lake Disaster and this particular project is very similar."

Reported with reservations, by Carl Chapdelaine.

Lac à la Croix: duped?

Contrary to the expectations of Lac Saint-François-Xavier residents, who had mobilized to participate in the second consultation and express their concerns, draft by-law 2017-498-7, authorizing the zoning amendment allowing the realization of the integrated project of Lac St-Victor Estates at Lac à la Croix, was on the agenda of the Wentworth-Nord council meeting of February 19. Indeed, in an e-mail addressed mainly to the members of the boards of directors of the Lake St. Francois-Xavier Association and of the Lake Environmental Fund, the councillor for the district where the two lakes are located, Mr. David Zgodzinski, had announced that the motion would be postponed until March.

Also, contrary to what we had become accustomed to from the Council over the past few months, the agenda that could have set off alarm bells with us was only published at the last minute. The mobilization to participate in this Council meeting and face its members in the question period could not be adequate. They would have tried to pull the wool over our eyes that they could not have done better.

So, bogus consultations? About sixty participants in the second one; full of questions, but without decisive answers; the absence of the mayor and all the councillors who were going to vote for the acceptance of the draft by-law, except for the one who presented it, Mr. Eric Johnston; what was the result? Wasn't everything determined at the outset? Wasn't it just a matter of making it look like we were listening and ready to respond to the concerns of those whose lake might be affected? Was the democratic process not respected?

Councillor Johnston, who is piloting this project in his neighbor's district, the latter to be voting against it, was seconded by Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradise in his motion under agenda item 9.16. However, Councillor Zgodzinski expressed confidence in the promoter's promises to prohibit third party access to Lake Saint-François-Xavier. Lac St-Victor Estates would seek an agreement to this effect through the Lake Association. He also reiterated the concerns expressed about the potential environmental impact on the watercourse and gave assurances that the matter would be closely monitored.

Councillor Cliche, who last summer consulted with a handful of Montfort residents on another issue, today among those who are concerned about this project and who have put their trust in him, reiterated the reservations expressed by Mr. Zgodzinski, before voting in favour of the project. He did not explain, to our knowledge, what motivated his decision. Councillor Paradis did not give any more reason to vote in favour. The hopes of the residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier had just vanished. The mayor's two allies, Mrs. Paradis and Mrs. Rioux also voted in favour. In this time of Carnival, Mr. Ghali, as the fox, did not have to vote and share in the odiousness of a probable masquerade on the backs of the "tyrants" of this lake.

The question period would finally allow Denyse Pinsonneault, Colleen Horan and Danielle Desjardins, our Mothers Courage, to brave this council which "lacked consideration and respect" for the people of Montfort. Didn't the Director of Urban Planning and Environment Services, Mr. Cadieux, "promise that there should be a formal agreement" on the question of access to Lake Saint-François-Xavier before the adoption of the draft by-law? We had no say in the protection of the lake. As a result of these interventions, we saw some support for them on the Zoom application.

The mayor stated that the required approval process had been followed. Councillor Johnston will add to this by recalling the consultations held, the systematic listening given to the various fears expressed, etc. Environmental issues would be addressed in the next phase. To prohibit access to Lake St. Francois-Xavier, a lawyer would work on the preparation of an appropriate contract. He added that the Association of this lake and the Environmental Fund were comfortable with this.

(But were these the two organizations that responded to the recent environmental disaster caused by council's blindness to the Hunter Street extension; or even warned residents about the implications of the new project? Did they consult with their members, with all the environmental data in hand? Did they represent the majority of the residents of the lake, as the neighbouring District Councillor would like to believe, with all of Council behind him? And in what capacity could the Fund speak out on this issue; on our behalf? Did they participate, willingly or unwillingly, in the deception that seemed to have taken place here? And why give so much weight in the balance to the opinions of lake associations in another district, or another watershed?)

Had a model for accepting a residential development, potentially with a foot on land in a nearby lake, just been enshrined as a precedent in Wentworth-Nord, with the risk of bamboozling the residents involved? It seems to us that this municipal council will have a lot of work to do to earn back the confidence of the citizens of Montfort involved in this debate, or to make the case for such consultations. But who will want to take their side and defend them in the next election?

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

With all reservations; by Carl Chapdelaine.

Lac à la Croix (follow-up)

Lac à la Croix's watershed >>>

It seems that the property owners' associations, both on Lake Saint-Victor and on Lake Notre-Dame, have no serious reason to oppose the adoption of the draft by-law on which the 2nd consultation took place on February 9. The residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier would then be left alone if they could already oppose the project by referendum. The municipal council appears to be moving towards the adoption of this draft by-law; however, its inclusion on the agenda for the meeting of the 19th of this month would be postponed to the March meeting.

Lake Saint-François-Xavier residents consider it to be the most threatened by the Lac à la Croix development project. Visibly excluded from any decision-making involvement in its acceptance by council, except for the promised opposition of their councillor and president of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Mr. David Zgodzinski, they are visibly outraged at the situation and the administrative injustice they seem to be facing. Some of them have undertaken a petition, by e-mail, to be sent to all members of Council; it is without counting on their voting intentions in this election year...

Councillor Zgodzinski has since reportedly spoken to the developer, who has assured him that Lac St-Victor Estates would be prepared to accept a legal clause preventing them (and any purchaser of their lots at Lac à la Croix) from accessing Lac Saint-François-Xavier through the one they own at the head of the lake. The municipal Council would seek to reach such an agreement with the developer before proceeding to a vote.

But in order for the problem not to be simply displaced, it would urgently be necessary, we understand, for a land border, formed by the sale of parcels of lots from the current owners to a non-profit organization, such as the Lake Association, to first separate the waterfront lots from the second-tier lots. An easement by notarized agreement between the Association and each owner of these lots would then prohibit the crossing giving access to the lake. (To be verified.)

However, even the problem of access resolved, that of the potential threat to the environment of the two lakes, that of Lac à la Croix in any case, the need for a thorough analysis of which is apparently minimized, would remain unresolved. (It can be assumed that the slight difference in level, with the presence of the marsh separating Lac à la Croix from Lac Saint-François-Xavier, could still serve as a buffer to increased sedimentation or pollution by the project).

Since the work was carried out for residential purposes, the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) could not have intervened with the municipality on the first phase of the project, south-east of Lac à la Croix, as this responsibility falls entirely to the municipal authorities. Will it be different for the second phase? In our opinion, it is unlikely. If on the contrary, the work would still have to be undertaken before the MELCC could intervene. Nor can MELCC object to the proposed zoning change. Does the new By-law respecting the supervision of activities based on their impact on the environment (REAFIE), which came into force on December 31, 2020, change the rules?

The REAFIE, which focuses on simplifying procedures for obtaining environmental authorizations for projects, may not bode well for the protection of the environment of lakes and wetlands. At the same time, the government is delegating more power to the MRCs and municipalities. But don’t the economic reality and the meagre resources available to them to analyze the environmental impact of these projects lead them to give priority to development over the environment? The debate brings us back to the confrontation of the two avenues that several municipalities and the MRC of the Pays-d'en-Haut are currently experiencing, including, in the headlines, Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs and, closer to home, Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard with Deer Lake. (Cf.: Development vs environment

Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine.

Translated with (free version) & Linguee.

Lac à la Croix, 2nd consultation: Notes

Lac à la Croix, 2nd consultation on Draft By-law 2017-498-7: Notes

With reservation: We are unable to report on this consultation session held by videoconference. At one point, the Zoom application's counter was showing 56 participants - a record! There were a few representatives of the Lake Saint-Francois-Xavier Association Executive. The questions would multiply, sometimes in English, and we would not be able to understand or record enough of the interventions to be able to report on them. From what we have been able to follow, however, we can identify certain points.

The director of the municipality's Urban Planning and Environment Services, Mr. Benoit Cadieux, urban planner, would make the presentation using maps and tables already published; he would also answer questions from citizens. (See Issues at Lac à la Croix) Councillor Eric Johnston, who had presented the draft by-law, would add his voice to the Director's explanations. Mr. David Zgodzinski, Councillor for District 5, which includes Lac à la Croix, with most of the land covered by Phase 5 of the Lac St-Victor Estates development, was the only other member of Council at this meeting to our knowledge; the absence of the others would be noted and later denounced.

The main question of many residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier was related to their fear that the promoter of Lac St-Victor Estates would use his lot at the head of the Lake to give access to property owners who would settle at Lac à la Croix. In an e-mail addressed to the Director of Urban Planning and Environment Services, with a copy to council members, Mrs. Denyse Pinsonneault had explained the potential consequences of such a manoeuvre. She had not forgotten the environmental impact, possibly harmful to both lakes, of the realization of the Estates project. Many residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier had expressed their support for this initiative.

To this main question, Mr. Benoit Cadieux replied a few times that an agreement with the promoter specified, as we understand it, that there would be a servitude for the eventual sale of this lot to an individual; which would concretize the prohibition of giving a right of way with access to the Lake to a third party.

But the problem could arise again with another waterfront property at the head of the Lake or anywhere else around it, and Councillor David Zgodzinski would indicate that all waterfront property owners should then be required to sign a similar easement. Such an initiative had already been implemented by half of the property owners along the shores of Lake Notre-Dame, said a participant. But for some, and probably for Director Cadieux, this avenue or variants seemed like a dead end. For Director Cadieux, should we look at restricting uses instead?

Many were still worried that such an easement could eventually be revoked, and asked that a way be found to make it perpetual. However, Councillor Eric Johnston believed that any decision could eventually be modified, so one should always be on guard, and that one should be particularly careful (when signing such contracts or adopting similar by-laws).

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins of Lake Notre-Dame stated that the same developer had already taken advantage of a property on a waterfront lot on that lake to build two wharves which gave access to residents of Lac St-Victor Estates; the latter lake, unlike the former, being closed to motorized navigation. (To be specified.) She was convinced that he would seek to develop a similar situation with his lot on Lake Saint-François-Xavier.

The undersigned had well prepared a question dealing specifically with the protection of the Lake itself and, consequently, of Lake Saint-Francois-Xavier; but a few speakers had preceded him and had already addressed various points concerning this aspect. An English-speaking participant seemed to develop his argument on the subject at length, but we were unable to understand what he had to say. As Mr. Cadieux had already indicated that an analysis of the impact of these projects on Lac à la Croix would be undertaken next summer, we simply asked him what it would be and how the capacity of this small lake to support any habitat could be determined. Biologists and other specialists would be called in, he suggested, without giving more details.

His answer fell far short of our expectations. While Mr. Eric Johnston will explain, at the end of the session, that this type of consultation is the new formula proposed by Quebec to eventually take over the referendum process*, because it takes place before rather than after a decision is made on a project, here we had a process in which we were still putting the cart before the horse. Was the bill passed, was it going to be blocked because it was harmful to the environment?

And some wondered whether, once consulted, their concerns and recommendations would really be taken into account when the vote was taken. Someone wondered whether residents would be allowed to make a specific decision on whether to accept the bill in a referendum. Council was not required to do so, we believe we learned from the Planning Director's response, but if it were to be done, residents in the designated zones would be able to obtain it if the minimum required number of applications were received by the municipality. So, we replied, would the residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier be in one of the given zones; only half a dozen residences being located at the head of the Lake. Mr. Cadieux assured us that yes, for those located in the zone adjacent to the project, but he did not have on hand the delimitation of such a zone.

(Information will be obtained to the effect that the current or proposed recreational zone of the Orphans' Trail prevents the zones encompassing the residences adjacent to Lake Saint-François-Xavier from being contiguous to that of the project. Whether or not there is a referendum, would there not be an outcry from the residents of this lake if Municipal Council did not take into account their obvious opposition to this draft by-law?)

Given the recognition expressed by several participants for the consultation process experienced again at this session, despite the uncertainty regarding the introduction and their participation in a referendum process, Councillor Johnston was just about to reinforce the importance of such an approach in the future. However, Councillor Zgodzinski, bearing the apprehensions of his constituents and fearing among other things that the acceptance of this draft by-law would create a precedent based on a still incomplete analysis, as feared by Mrs. Desjardins, will say that he will have to vote against it. However, he would point out that this would probably not be the case for the majority of council members, who would see this project as a significant source of property revenue for the municipality.

*Since 2018, municipalities have obtained the right to replace this provision, seen as negative, with the development of a "public participation policy" (which does not, however, give decision-making power to the citizen). In order to take advantage of this provision, municipalities must first have adopted a by-law to this effect. Participation publique, MAMH

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with (free version) & Linguee

Issues at lac à la Croix

A second public consultation by videoconference will be held on Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. on Draft By-law No. 2017-498-7.

Here are, in our opinion, a few questions concerning the environment, to be asked to the Director of Planning and Environment, Mr. Cadieux, as well as to the members of the municipal council, and which are of particular interest to the residents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier :
1. What will be the impact of the upcoming projects at Lac à la Croix on its environment, as well as on the environment of Lac Saint-François-Xavier; and how can you measure it?
2. Will the modifications requested by the promoter modify the impact of its projects on the environment?
3. Do current or modified regulations and zoning prevent the promoter and future owners of its land from accessing Lac Saint-François-Xavier by motorboat, via land owned by the promoter? What are these regulations or zoning constraints?
4. Does the municipality intend to transfer land in this sector to the promoter, and under what conditions?
5. What does the by-law allow the developer to do with its land?
6. …
Translated with (free version) & Linguee.
Projet de règlement 2017-498-7
GéoCentralis-Evinbec : Zoom-in and click on any case to see its attributes : Rôle foncier (Wentworth-Nord)

Lake Saint-François-Xavier's tributaries

Lake Saint-François-Xavier is a lake in the Laurentians located in the village of Montfort, in the municipality of Wentworth-North. One travels approximately 80 km to get there from Montreal, by the Laurentian highway, then road 364 and finally the Chemin de Montfort.



If you're a resident of Montreal, like me, you may not have the right explanations on the process.  In spring, the winter ice cover on a lake starts to give way and sink when the temperature rises above zero Celsius. But ice floats on water, right? The undersigned had noticed this phenomenon and had rather thought that a layer of water had accidentally ended up on top of the ice, without being able to quickly regain its place under it. This was not the correct explanation.

Here are reported a few explanation on some of the interrelated phenomena based on temperature changes. The central point is that water is the densest at 4°C. Above or below this temperature, it is less dense, less heavy, and will tend to lodge above the water at 4°C.  In the spring, the temperature of the melting ice eventually reaches 1, then 2, then 3, then 4°C. If the water from rain or melting snow around this ice is warmer, it will cover the ice. This is the beginning of the show. (in french)

This anomaly, since one would expect a correlation in only one direction between the change in temperature and the change in water density, explains several phenomena. And why does the water at the bottom of our lakes stay at about 4°C, except for lakes that are too shallow, among other cases?

In winter, "because of this dilatometric anomaly, below a temperature of 4°C, cold surface water no longer conveys downwards, preventing deeper water from cooling". anomalie dilatométrique, Without this rule, the water in a lake could freeze to the bottom, preventing all aquatic life from surviving.

Furthermore, the temperature, and thus the density (or weight) of a lake's water, from the surface we understand, changes with the seasons. If it varies with depth, as it does in summer or winter, thus following a thermal stratification, the water does not tend to mix. However, when it reaches about 4°C at any depth, at some point in the spring or fall, a little bit can trigger what is called spring or fall mixing. The latter then causes a mixing of the elements present in the lake water.

Note: This is not a scientific treatise; the idea is to put the reader on the path to understanding the phenomenon.  The reader should seek a more rigorous analysis from competent sources.

Translated with (free version)

By Carl Chapdelaine

Lac-Thurson road on Google Earth:

Aid for rehabilitation of LSFX's dam?

In the spring of 2018, the Department of L’Environnement et la Lutte contre les changements climatiques announced investments of 45, 7 M$ for the upgrade of public (Government) and municipal dams. In a new financial assistance program for the upgrading of the municipal dams (PAFMAN), $ 13.7 of that amount would go to "financial support to municipalities which are owners of a high-capacity dam".

The dam at the foot of Lake Saint-François-Xavier seems to meet the criteria of the program and it has been, to our knowledge, identified as requiring to be brought up to standards. The municipality of Wentworth-Nord and the regional county municipality of the Pays-en-Haut, which has engineering studies on the state of the dam, were also indicated in the data sheet of the Repertoire of the dams of the MELCC as being its owners or agents. Lake St. François-Xavier ; PAFMAN

"The PAFMAN unfolds in two parts:
Part 1: A study of security assessment of the municipal dam in accordance with the obligations laid down by the law on the safety of dams;
Part 2: Execution of repairs arising from the recommendations of the evaluation study on the security of each dam and which are required to ensure its security and its compliance with standards in accordance with the law."

January 29, 2019, a release of the MELCC, now under the authority of the Minister Benoit Charrette, announced that eligible municipalities could now benefit from the program. MELCC, communiqué

PS. Would it not be normal, in the presence of any dam in inhabited areas, to assess the risk of flooding below in case of a dam burst? Urgence Québec gives some measures to be taken in front of such a risk. In the case of Lake St. François-Xavier and according to the form that would take such a burst, we can well imagine that the flow would instantly take the direction of Deer Lake and its shoreline, 40 meters below and only 600 meters from the dam. This short route is also enough incised to form a channel for water, mud and debris of all kinds. Today, simulation software use topographic and hydrological data, among others, to allow specialists to visualize the effect of such an eventuality. Risk level, Portrait de la ZGIE, Abrinord, pages 140 to 143 ; Loi sur la sécurité des barrages

With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Topographic profile of the Newaygo Basin

The Lakes of the Canadian Shield were still occupied by glaciers 10,000 years ago. Sliding slowly upstream downstream in the valleys, the latter have overdeepened closed depressions by abrasion, often giving these glacier lakes their typical U or pot shape. Here, the North-South profile crosses two depressions: the Lake and the adjoining Bay. By combining theory to bathymetric or isobaths curves, one can imagine their own profile. The isobaths are themselves extrapolations from spot measures. The Google Earth elevation profile would be, on the other hand, in full from the satellite photo obtained.

With Microsoft Translator + Linguee
View a path’s elevation profile on Google Earth Pro
Carl Chapdelaine

Grade: % and degree

On Google Earth, by moving the arrow along the profile of the chart, you will get a reading of the elevation at this new point, of the distance between the point of origin of the profile and this point, and the percentage of grade at the latter. The inclination of the slope seen on the chart does not represent the actual inclination; it is simply the result of the ratio between the vertical axis, here the altitude, and the horizontal axis, here the length on the field of the profile. The slope percentage, however, is real. A grade of 100% corresponds to an inclination of 45 ° (degrees). It is given a positive or negative value to differentiate the two directions. A grade of 40.2%, as on this graph is equal to 22 °. It is this last measure you would visually see on the ground. Looking at the Laurel-Montfort topographic profile, one would see the Rocky Mountains rather than the Laurentians...  Wikipedia         

Please report any mistake or misleading translation that you would have noted.                                                                                     C.C.                             

topographic profile of the Montfort Basin

Here the profile crosses both the summit of Mount Napoleon and the pit of the East Basin.  
Topography and altitude are specific to the Google Earth methodology. Approximate bathymetry based on interpretation of the CRE-Laurentides map.

 Bathymetric map, East                     C.C.

Map of the region, 1894

This inset map is from a larger one that covers a large area north of Montreal and part of the Outaouais Region. The link allows you to access the entire map scanned by the Direction de la Collection nationale et des collections patrimoniales, from the  Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
Roads, from which the roads of today have used some sections, are plotted in red. The train would have come to Montfort in 1894, the year of publication of the map; however, the railway which was a branch line from the «P’tit train du Nord»’s main has not yet been sketched. The latter had joined Chute aux Iroquois (Labelle) in December 1893.
The map also shows the division of the territory into townships, ranks (Roman numerals) and lots. Wentworth-Nord did not exist yet; Montfort was in the large Township of Wentworth.
The detail does not allow us to precisely appreciate the outline of Lake Saint-François-Xavier.  Following the construction of a first dam by the brothers to run the orphanage sawmill, had it already overflowed its original bed? It is unlikely. Is then the 1894 map giving us the contour of the original lake?  In the inventory of the MDDELCC’s Centre d’expertise hydrique, the dam is said having been built in 1900 and modified in 1920.
Also, why can the two meters level of depth of the bathymetric map let us believe that there were originally two lakes, while literature always makes mention of one lake from the start? Would the ballast probably used for the construction of the railway have divided the Lake into two basins?

Note: We should soon have, for the first time, another map being scanned, dating from 1897 and showing the major Lakes of the region North of Montreal accessible by the Canadian Pacific railway or that of the Montfort Rail Road.
Carl Chapdelaine
Collections nationale et patrimoniales, BAnQ

Density of the habitat 

It would be interesting to have a figure of the density of the habitat around Lake St-François-Xavier, in its various facets.  Without it, how could we possibly define the support capacity of the Lake, i.e. what degree of impact of human activities on its border it can absorb, without having its natural balance disrupted?
There is the road network; its maintenance and traffic that it supports that threaten it greatly. There is the input of wastewater, the flow of motorized boats, etc. And all of these factors are more or less substantial depending, somehow, on their frequency. They are indeed based on the seasons, the length of stay of residents and visitors, yearly, seasonal or occasional. But data are too scarce at the Lake to measure the weight of each of these variables.
Here, using the houses localization by determined sector around the Lake and the ratio of their number in a half square kilometre1, one can have a quick overview of the diversity in the density of habitat in these same areas. It's a bit like making an inventory of the periphyton after having divided the Lake in a certain number of sectors, or the characterization of the shore.
We could also assume that seasonal cottages are occupied for less than 100 days per year on average; that is certainly the case for those who are not winterized. The traffic generated by the cottagers frequenting them follows the same curve. With an average of two people per household in Wentworth-Nord, we could estimate the number of residents who live in the various sectors identified in the Lake by counting the number of houses. The resulting figure could be compared with the data on residents possibly already available at the Municipality and adjusted. But only a survey on their length of stay and that of their visitors would allow us to associate to it the density on a day to day basis of this habitat or, let’s say, its actual frequentation.
Our cartographic approach does not claim to be scientific; we would need to push more deeply in details and calculations in order that it slightly is. However, if our glance can already give us a good idea of our environment, we can expect at least an overview of the situation. It would be interesting, following a more rigorous analysis, to see if there is a correlation between the degree of vulnerability of a specific sector and the density of its habitat, once weighted any other variable involved.
1. In order to respect the ratio, the number of houses is multiplied by two for the areas of 1/8 of 1 km2 (125 000 m2).

The sawmill duct

Woud pipe

Probably for the metal pipe.

Lake St. François-Xavier's dam

September 6, 2015
 In the inventory of the MDDELCC’s (Quebec’s Department of Environment) Centre d’expertise hydrique, the X0005087 dam, built in 1900 and modified in 1920, is said to be of "high-capacity" since, among other things, it has a holding capacity of more than 1 million m3.*  And it has just been reclassified on the rise, as a "B", following, for one, the visit of Mr. Éric Martel, representative of the Centre d’expertise, could we learn from the MRC’s recent release.  It has a height of 2.4 m, a length of 103 m;  and it is said to be an "earthen dam".  However, there is no information about its strength; and the level of consequences of its failure is unknown.  It was not the first dam built at the foot of the lake; a previous one must have been dating from the 1880s, at the beginning of the founding of Montfort.  
Engineer Pierre Dumas showed us a cropping of the original bathymetric maps of Dr. Richard Carignan. (They are in possession of the municipal authorities). By following the 2 meters isobath, they show us the Western and Eastern sections of the lake with their corresponding lowered water levels; it must have been the height and initial rough outline of the Lake, before the construction of a dam. Both basins would have then been forming two separate lakes.  You could look at their two hypsometric sheets in the Laurentians lakes web Atlas and see what area and what volume of water that represents. Other data, such as time of renewal and drainage ratio, are also evaluated, Atlas des lacs : Lake St. François-Xavier (West)Atlas des lacs: Lake St. François-Xavier (East). (When following the 2m isobath, looking at the global bathymetric map gives an idea of the former lake contour : Bathymetric map of LSFX)
 In its 1941 report, the Commission of Common Waters of Quebec mentions the existence of two concrete dam sections, a first one of 29 feet. (It was at the entrance of the road access leading to the Montfort Pavilion, where the observation trench has just been dug and where is the fire water intake; but where you will not see much visible traces of still present concrete parts. According to the report, the dam had a hole to let the water pass to a wooden supply line (girdled with iron); its diameter is not specified.
 (Our hypothesis is that the original duct was at least of four feet in diameter. The dam was demolished and replaced by the current dike. A huge funnel, possibly in metal, would eventually be incorporated into the structure to direct water towards the duct, while the wooden one was replaced by a metallic, of only two feet in diameter The latter proved to be insufficient to supply the saw mill and the power plant situated below, without forgetting, at a time, the wooden pool for the orphans. A large diesel Chrysler engine had to be added, as well as a huge reservoir for this hydrocarbon that has had the misfortune to flow into Deer Lake to kill quantity of fish.)
 This duct appears to have been in a straight line, from the opening in the dam to the last concrete pillar.  It borrowed a depression in the land while leaving the dam, at the crossing of route Principale and the access road to the Pavilion, where it passed under a bridge.  A long series of these supporting pillars, spaced by ten feet, are always present at the entrance of the village and join the Main road at Hydro Quebec’s post 14-42. But they are almost completely hidden by shrub lands.  Strangely enough, these pillars are sometimes of arch opening for receiving an about two feet in diameter duct, while others, interspersed in the alignment, are rather designed to receive one of at least four feet; i.e. probably for the earlier wooden conduct but as well used to support the new one.
 The second section of concrete was a 70-foot dam (probably the one blocking the current channel that opens next to the Pavilion), pierced with two openings for overflow, a bottom valve and a wooden sluice 8 feet wide (Is it a door that can be used to remove water during floods?). It was probably the section that was demolished to be replaced by culverts under the Chemin de Lisbourg and on which the boys liked to show fearlessness.
 As we were told by Mr. Mayor Genest, water leaks appeared in downstream of the structure in recent years. On dry weather indeed, several small water leaks are now visible in the observation trench dug for this purpose. The MRC has recently hired Mr. Pierre Dumas, an engineer and consultant in hydraulics, energy and environment, expert in dammed lakes, to conduct a safety study on the century-old dam. We saw the engineer at work on earth and, using a tuba, in the lake, not far from where the fire water intake is located.
 No tree planting should have dressed this structure had already learned Mayor Genest; with decomposition, tree roots, which have drilled deep paths, will eventually leave as many inappropriate channels to pressurized water.  He had also let know that an engineering firm, briefly consulted, was already suggesting a widening of the dam where are the seen leaks, while a second, specialized in dams, would have gone for digging there a trench to be filled with clay.
The rupture of a lake or river dam may occur, as was the case with the artificial Lake Bison (600 meters long) at Saint-Raymond, in Portneuf, which emptied in about five minutes in June, after having yet undergone the prescribed inspections successfully.  Some local residents reported having experience a mini tsunami and believe that water infiltration in the dam could be the cause, while heavy rainfalls had completed the work. The unlikely failure of the dam of Lake Saint-François-Xavier would be of a different order of magnitude; mais dont le Québec a eu de tristes exemples. but Quebec has known sad examples of such.
A first dam and duct were therefore built at Lake St. François-Xavier from the beginning of colonization;  it was essential to the operation of a sawmill that would allow the construction of the village and the orphanage.  That probably was the dam that would have collapsed, as reported by the elders, taking away all the facilities of the mill it served at the time; mais apparemment sans faire de victime. but apparently causing no casualties.
 Thank you to Mr. Gérard Chartier for his valuable collaboration.
 Information and old photos from residents to shed light on the overall picture of this issue would be most appreciated.

 Carl Chapdelaine


observation trench

Former Lake (West)

Former Lake (East)

Oh Lake!

With the best wishes for the Christmas Holidays from the RSVL team.


Alphonse Beauregard (1881-1924)

At the feet of three hills dressed with firs lies a deep, clear and wise lake, where many times I got off, in the morning, to pick up the peace it offers.

Round and lush, at its centre, an island looks like the diamond of a ring. Around, leaning trees, at the water's edge, draw there vague shapes.

Still free of any dock, of any open path; useless and pure tiara; it is in the harshness of this desert country, a work of art to the art itself.

I'm your poor lover, Lake; but can't stop sinister axes. Hear their sound around, the bell tools of the trees which dress-up and hide you.

You will become, among houses and bare fields, water without attractions, a pool, a thing which is used to navigate over, grabbed by masses.

Who cares! They will not, these imposed masters, have known your smile of virgin; I keep it in my heart like a secret kiss that I would have picked on your bank.


Lake St. Francois Xavier

Topographic map of the lake

«Toporama» is a service of the Atlas of Canada. The arrow turns into cross to go in all directions, covering all of Canada. The search tool takes you directly to the desired location (but you will have to find your way back…).
The map can be enlarged to full page using the link at the bottom, to the left of the latter; you then discover new interesting strong tools. One of them allows you to measure the distance between two points that you have placed anywhere on the map, or to get the area of a polygon that you have managed to draw around a lake, for example.
Click on the small image, here on the right, to see how I got 0.7 square km for Lake Saint-François-Xavier, by drawing its outline, in fact, by a succession of straight segments forming the sought polygon (blue line). 
As a first step, once the map is zoomed in, you "put under the magnifying glass" i.e. maximize what you want to measure; it will be more accurate. You click on "To measure". The icon of the tool for measuring a surface appears darker; then you point the arrow on your starting point and click left once. You move the line to the first change in direction, then release. You click left once again; and so on until you have closed the polygon. You then double-click, always left, and look at the result. Don't worry about the other side of the polygon that follows your every movement. But don't do anything else at the same time; you could ruin your effort...
If you find more interesting options, let us know. 

Enlarge map


Bathymetric maps

Bathymetric Map (West)                        Bathymetric map (East)                      1936 map

Lake St. Francois Xavier watershed

A first publication of such a map, thanks to Abrinord.
Lake Saint-François-Xavier watershed is a sub-basin of the Rivière-à-Simon’s one. This watershed is itself included in the Rivière du Nord watershed, which with that of the Rivière Rouge cover a large part of our region before both flowing into the Ottawa River. The bold black line on this map delineates this whole from the Rivière rouge watershed, at West and South here, with Notre-Dame and Saint-Victor Lakes left blank. Our thanks to Abrinord, the Rivière du Nord watershed organization, involved in several research projects carried out by the MRC or other and with which we look forward to collaboration in certain issues.


Rivière-à-Simon's watershed

Here, at a smaller scale, is the Rivière-à-Simon watershed in which are included Lake St. François-Xavier and Deer Lake. 
You will find our lake at the southwestern end, just over the word Wentworth-Nord, since the limit separating us from Rivière Rouge watershed goes between our lake and the Lake St. Victor - Lake Notre-Dame duo.
You will notice that we are at the head of our part of the watershed, only topped by small Lac-à-la-Croix. We may be a risk for others, namely Lake Chevreuil, but no one is a risk to us.
Now, isn’t that amazing to see the area covered by the Rivière-à-Simon watershed?

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