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Consultation session on the MRC's Strategic Vision for Land Use Planning

This consultation session was held in Sainte-Adèle on February 21.
We were told that the Salle Rousseau Vermette at Place des Citoyens was full (around 75 people). Most were from Sainte-Adèle and Saint-Sauveur, the two dominant towns in the MRC.

The presentation, accompanied by the screen broadcast, seemed to be very well received by the audience. This interest was reflected in the question periods, while everyone in the room took out their cell phones to take part in the interactive polls, the results of which were displayed on the podium screen as they came in.

The aging population and the housing crisis were among the themes put forward.

In response to a question as to whether Wentworth-Nord and Lac-des-Seize-Îles had the means to implement the measures envisaged by the MRC, such as adaptation to climate change, the prefect, André Genest, indicated that these municipalities would benefit from a specific approach.

The session had to be closed after two and a half hours of discussion.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Housing developments in Wentworth-Nord

The evolution of housing in Wentworth-Nord seems to be proceeding apace. Whether due to the arrival of newcomers or the change in status of the cottager who has chosen the designation of principal residence, the significant leap in population growth over the past few years is guiding this evolution.* We have also seen the unevenness of this growth across the territory.

Originally a municipality of single-family homes, many of them lined up around the lakes, the emergence of integrated projects outside the ring around the lakes has created a somewhat different model, generally characterized by higher housing density. It's worth noting that the untouched shores of some of these last small lakes could remain so, as foreseen by the developers of Domaine lac Pelletier, who have modified their original plans to allow the construction of a greater number of housing units by establishing themselves in the second crown of the lake.

At the same time, faced with the urgent need to protect the environment of watercourses, riverside integrated projects - still possible on small, untouched ponds such as Lac à la Croix and, perhaps before long, Lake Thur(s)ton - are, on the contrary, leading to a reduction in this density.

It should be noted here that, while integrated projects help to reduce costs per housing unit and make municipal infrastructure more cost-effective, when such projects lead instead to the creation of huge estates, as at Lake à la Croix, they should produce the opposite effect.
But, in fact, the housing model in the first ring around the lakes is now set since most of them are already built. Some vacant lots will end up following the same pattern, unless regulations change the situation. Future subdivisions will inevitably be built further away from the lakes, so that one day, lakeside residents will no longer be in the majority.

At the same time, the rising value of waterfront properties will accentuate the historical tendency to allow only the wealthiest to buy them. And the gentrification effect of this rise, with skyrocketing property valuations in all the areas concerned, is strangling long-standing owners, who are often elderly and sometimes have only their pensions as income. The reduce costs per housing unit in integrated project doesn't mean that buying it is affordable for those on a tight budget. What's more, the municipality is hardly endowed with rental housing, since the job market context is clearly not conducive to it. In conclusion, we can see an evolution towards a society of the affluent.

Recently, it has become clear that young people are no longer able to own their own home, let alone a second home, unless they inherit one from their parents. They now seem destined to remain tenants, with rental rates that will not allow them to accumulate the downpayment required for such a purchase.

In Wentworth-Nord, the age pyramid is likely to be affected, with young households becoming rare. Those who have been able to make the most of the situation, to accumulate the necessary sums, and who are already older, should be the home buyers of tomorrow. They will be accompanied by a group closer to retirement, this time with a good capital base. A specific approach to the services associated with this customer profile will need to be adopted.

If tourism, or some other unexpected resource, were to develop in Wentworth-Nord, we can imagine a somewhat different development. Shops and services would change the labor market and encourage the construction of rental housing. Young households would regain their rights, and the age pyramid would describe a more balanced situation.

Expected changes to the municipality's urban plan and the resulting bylaws, as well as the orientations favored by the MRC's future Strategic Vision Statement for land use planning, could tend to steer real estate growth and development in a different direction - a heavy responsibility for our elected officials and administrations. And isn't the future always full of surprises?

*Nord-Wentwortois, According to the 2021 Census of Canada (Summary)

Population by five-year age groups and gender, Canada, 2021

By Carl Chapdelaine

Spatial planning and the environment

Environmental protection, sustainable development, the circular economy, and other terms refer to notions whose importance is now tending to supplant that of economic profitability alone in the calculation of growth; that of urban sprawl, as opposed to densification; that of consumption, as opposed to recycling; that of the individual, as opposed to the community...

By planning the occupation of the territory under their jurisdiction, the various levels of government certainly have an essential role to play and a tool of choice in safeguarding our environment. In Wentworth-Nord, this is demonstrated by the introduction of interim control, which aims to adjust regulations in the face of real estate development, among other things. This means saving on infrastructure and municipal services, protecting the environment, and enhancing residents' quality of life, and so on. But will regulation alone change the course of development, directing it towards new imperatives?

Our administration can also re-establish a spatial balance in land use planning. For example, it may seek to counterbalance the natural formation of a development pole in one part of the territory, as is currently the case in Montfort, by consolidating the administrative vocation of the Laurel sector, or the tourism vocation of the Saint-Michel sector, if the latter supports it. For the players in the development cluster, this rebalancing could be considered unfair.

"Quebec is currently undergoing a major reform of its land-use planning framework. Did you know? The subject may seem technical, but the stakes are very concrete, since the government is reviewing the parameters that frame the evolution of our living environments and the various activities that take place on the territory." La Presse

You're probably wondering how you, as an individual, can respond to the urgent call to protect our planet and our own living environment. Well, since it seems obvious that the higher authorities need your support in this wave of reforms that may alter your habits or plans somewhat, take an interest in their diagnoses and proposals. At the consultations currently underway (February 15 in Morin-Heights and February 21 in Sainte-Adèle), let them know of your interest and concerns.

During these public consultations, you should also make sure that these reforms are in line with the reality you experience in a municipality like Wentworth-Nord, which seems, for land-use planning purposes, to pose particular challenges. At the same time, these authorities will have focused on raising awareness of the problems identified, of situations that run counter to the objectives pursued, and will have appealed to your participation.

In fact, many individual or entrepreneurial initiatives in the fields of construction, transportation, services, or other areas are all measures to occupy the territory. If, by necessity or preference, you choose to have a car for each member of your household, or the vehicle that will guarantee you all the space you want, you're helping to define the necessary infrastructure and increase your environmental impact. If you can afford active or sustainable mobility, don't hesitate. Here, individual decisions determine the whole.

Population growth in Wentworth-Nord, with the resulting sprawl of housing, is eating into the remaining natural territory, with its forest cover, wildlife, biodiversity and so on. It deprives this wildlife of free access to the lakes, which are now entirely surrounded by housing. Even when space seems infinite, its development must aim to preserve the balance between these two opposing movements. Development planning must therefore ensure that it does not weave a spider's web of habitat throughout the municipality. So, should we encourage the maintenance of growth poles located in the smallest possible space, and linked by a road system kept to a minimum?

Due to the sprawl of its housing and lack of adequate services and shops, Wentworth-Nord has become like a huge residential suburb, but with very low density, in which the car remains the only means of transport. Is this not one of the municipality's greatest environmental impacts?

And this vast suburb, in which affluent complexes and estates are springing up and developing, is now home to a mix of haves and have-nots, another variable to be considered in development planning.On such a vast territory, air pollution from exhaust fumes and road traffic seem insignificant, except in rare areas under construction or at village entrances. But is this a valid reason not to try to remedy the situation? Shouldn't the accelerated promotion of electric vehicles and measures to support this mode of transport, such as the availability of public charging stations, form part of tomorrow's road plans? In the absence of gas stations, won't electric charging stations at key points solve a major transportation problem in our municipality by 2035?

The Projet d’énoncé de vision stratégique de la MRC en matière d’Aménagement du territoire (MRC's Draft Strategic Vision Statement for Land Use Planning) puts forward the challenge of creating village cores, or simply service cores, where they are lacking. Can the model be applied to Wentworth-Nord, when the trend is the opposite; as seen in Montfort, where despite growth, a butcher's shop, café or simple convenience store have disappeared, and wondering about the future of a moribund community pavilion?

Do cooperatives, public markets, medical care centers, multi-purpose community centers, industrial or commercial hospitality infrastructure, or other alternative formulas offer viable solutions? Or should we turn to other models, yet to be discovered?

The municipality will still need to find additional financial resources and attract businesses and services. The other Laurentian villages, now towns and crossed by the first access roads, have developed largely thanks to tourism, added to vacationing; but Wentworth-Nord, which offers great potential in this respect, is resisting the invasion it implies. Will the revision of Wentworth-Nord's urban plan, which looks like a development scheme, provide an opening?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

The MRC PdH's planning vision statement: Zoom consultation

Held Febbruary 3rd, 2024.

After a word from the Prefect, Mr. André Genest, Ms. Isabelle Marcoux, of the Institut des territoireschaired the session, explaining the meaning, process, and purpose of the Projet d’Énoncé de vision stratégique de la MRC en matière d’Aménagement du territoire (MRC's Draft Strategic Vision Statement on Land Use Planning). Referring to the projection of some sixty plates, she will clearly and succinctly set out the fruit of a lengthy exercise.

The Zoom counter shows around a dozen participants. The session, which will last almost two hours, will include a question-and-answer period for each of the selected themes. Vicky Fréchette, Urban planner with the MRC's Services de l'environnement et de l'aménagement du territoire, will answer these questions. The screening will also feature short interactive quizzes to, among other things, gauge the degree of understanding and encourage participation from the meagre audience.

The content of the plates and the explanations provided will appear to us as a concise and exceptional presentation of the MRC, under the themes dealt with. A comparison with the situation in the Laurentian region, or in Quebec as a whole, will serve as a framework for this picture. It would take someone a lot of work to bring together so much relevant information. Please refer to our article for an overview of the Énoncé's content, issues and vision.

1st question period (Our reproduction here has only short excerpts.)
Mr. Marc Bilodeau. You've given us a realistic portrait and your vision of the MRC's land use planning; but the municipalities also have their urban plans. How can the two be combined? ... (Response not noted.)
Ms. Line Légaré. How do you counteract what goes against your vision, development plans, sustainable development, etc.? ... (Answer not noted.)
The undersigned. You talk about housing complexes, urban cores, clustering of businesses and services, etc.; but Wentworth-Nord, for example, is a lake municipality. Isn't there another model for such a situation? Answer: Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs is in the same situation. You must create nuclei ...
Mr. Marc Bilodeau. Concentrate housing, avoid urban sprawl; that's all well and good, but the proportion of single-family homes is high in many of our municipalities. ... Reply: When possible, complete the occupation of streets before opening new ones, etc. ...

2nd question period
The undersigned. You advocate public access to bodies of water, but you don't mention the resistance of shoreline property owners in your findings. Shouldn't we focus on raising awareness?
(Response not noted.)
Mr. Bilodeau. There are a lot of isolated properties around lakes, on mountain tops. We need to raise awareness. (Response not noted.)

3rd question period
The undersigned. You're aiming for a reduction in greenhouse gases, a reduction in the use of solo cars, and so on. But don't you think the current trend is the opposite? Reply: We're working on a climate change adaptation plan, which should address this issue.
Mme Légaré. ...
Ms. Mélanie Le Page (Ste-Adèle)
- ...
- Active mobility? Living environment? Need for resources, infrastructure, awareness...
- Consolidate services? (Answers not noted.)

4th question period
Mr. Bilodeau. It seems to me that most people work outside the territory; what's the situation in this regard? (Answers not noted.)
Ms. Légaré.
- There are rich sectors and poor sectors in the same municipality. You want to change this reality...
- Save our heritage? But it's expensive to maintain designated buildings.
The undersigned. How do you address the problem of gentrification around lakes and points of interest, for owners with lower incomes? Reply: There are more affordable areas ....
Mr. Bilodeau. The rich-poor mix is possible. ... We need to help organizations that work with the underprivileged population. ...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

Electric car?

Your 2010 Impala isn't electric, and it's not very smart either, but you've got low mileage, and the car is fairly well preserved. Why change it? Thirteen years is already more than your previous cars. Spoiling yourself won't be a sin.

You've often climbed aboard a newer vehicle as a passenger. Dashboard screens have replaced the old-fashioned displays and buttons that control various functions; you're behind the wheel of a computer. With your Chevrolet, you don't really feel up to date; and you're emitting greenhouse gases. Your next car will have all this equipment and will be electric.

Your driving skills have diminished with age; driving in the dark, in bad weather or on snow-covered roads scares you more and more. Could driving aids, which are quite sophisticated on luxury models, help you out?

None of your friends or neighbors would recommend that you take the plunge into the world of electric vehicles. They question the credentials of such a car in Quebec, and even the environmental value of this option. But aren't governments doing everything they can to point you in the direction of the best choice - the electric choice, they swear? Generous subsidies and the use of rush hour lanes on Autoroute 15 and more will be yours. You can no longer afford to talk about the environment, while betting on the opposite choice.

There will be no electric charging station at your cottage; you don't even have a road to get there. Is the Montfort Pavilion Advisory Committee planning to install a charging station at the future Pavilion or in the parking lot next door?

Your changeover is scheduled for 2025; 14 years will already be a record. But you already want to get ready for it; the 2024 Auto Show will be the starting point. As you well know, sticking your foot in there could mean putting your toe in the gear... You don't really know the difference between electric and intelligent; choosing the intelligent, connected car inevitably meant the electric car for you; you're looking for its showroom.

You make your way through the endless procession of corridors and showrooms of the Palais des Congrès, where classic and vintage cars, motorcycles, electric bikes, boats, dream pillows and more almost make you wish you'd never set foot there. It's on the third floor that the hybrid and electric models finally appear. And the first thing you see is Chevrolet; is your destiny immutable? Smaller models aren't for you; you need room to transport materials back to your old cottage. The SUV offer you some. Hyundai's seductive Ionic 5 is one of them. However, your route will never cross the ever-popular Tesla, or Honda; where could they have hidden them?

Step two: start visiting your local dealership, since that's what's always guided your car-buying. It's the GM dealership, with its poor service; now there is also a Toyota dealership. You resist Chevrolet's electric Blazer, a SUV 2024, which could be made for you in today's timeframe. There's a black one available immediately. You look for your last car, but not for a hearse just yet...

At Toyota, which you visit on your way to the grocery store, the salesman shows you the SUV bZ4X 2024, on demonstration, which would be a forerunner of the one you'd order. You could buy the one he's showing you, in black and white, but the domino effect doesn't appeal to you. If it's still there, perhaps you're not the only one who thinks so. And the range, like recharging, of electric Toyotas is not the best. But your long-distance trips are now limited to the round trip to your cottage.

You ask if the same vehicle from 2023 is still available. But yes; a cancellation offers you the opportunity, unhoped-for according to the manager, to buy this coveted jewel, fully equipped and at a slight discount. And the government will reimburse you $12,600. You need to make your decision right now, because every seller in the country would like to offer it to their waiting customers. It would take you a year to get the same one, in the 2024 version. After grumbling, you'll leave the dealership four hours later. They'll have managed to add an extended warranty and matching anti-theft protection to your jewel, and put your signature on the contract!

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

The MRC PdH's Strategic Vision Statement for Land Use Planning

The Projet d’énoncé de vision stratégique de la MRC en matière d’Aménagement du territoire, for 2035 provides a vast and impressive overview of the situation and issues identified for the MRC. The authors have undoubtedly provided our elected representatives and other interested parties with a formidable working tool.

It should be noted that, here, the notion of land use planning goes far beyond the concept associated with this discipline. In a way, it encompasses a vision of today's society and its desirable future.

The MRC is now calling on the Pays-d'en-Haut population to give their opinion on this strategic vision statement, at local public meetings and by videoconference (February 3, 2024 at 10am: Zoom). We believe it's important for citizens not to miss out on this opportunity to get involved in shaping the development of their community. That's exactly what Councillor Eric Johnston said at the Wentworth-Nord council meeting on January 17.

The Statement proposes a vision in five areas, or dimensions:
1. Land use planning; in the restricted sense of occupation.
2. The environment.
3. Culture, art and heritage.
4. The economy.
5. Society.

The Statement concludes with an overall, positive vision of the MRC for 2035.

For each of these five areas, the Statement indicates the targeted issues. These issues are mainly the result of the identification of problems, to which it associates solution avenues. For example, in the area of land use, the problem of urban sprawl, to the detriment of the occupation of new spaces, one of the solutions put forward is to encourage the reuse of existing land and buildings. (In a lakeside municipality like Wentworth-Nord, this would be done mainly by maximizing the infrastructure in place.)

1. Land use
Ten targeted issues, including the one mentioned in our previous paragraph.
Two of the five visions proposed for 2035:
- "Infrastructures have the capacity to accommodate current development as well as that anticipated for years to come, they are resilient and can thus withstand impacts related to climate change."
- The mobility network is diversified and intermodal. It offers the population the possibility of accessing the main service hubs and places of employment by an alternative to the solo car."

2. The environment
Ten targeted issues, including:
- "Planning access to water bodies while respecting the carrying capacity of the environment."
Five proposed visions for 2035, including:
- "The deployment of alternative modes of travel to the solo car has contributed to reducing the greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced on the territory."

3. Culture, art and heritage
Four targeted issues, including:
- "Acquiring knowledge and developing tools to showcase the territory's cultural and archaeological heritage."
Three proposed visions for 2035, including:
- "The real estate and archaeological heritage has a recognized and valued value that contributes to strengthening the population's sense of belonging to its history and territory."

4. The economy
Four issues targeted in recreation and tourism, and three in economic development, including: "Maintaining the tranquility and quality of life of the population living near recreation and tourism infrastructures:
- "Retaining and attracting businesses in the absence of dedicated locations conducive to their establishment."
Six visions proposed for 2035, including:
- "The deployment of activities complementary to recreotourism facilities and a diversified accommodation offer has made it possible to extend visitors' length of stay."
- "The planning of spaces dedicated to hosting artisanal businesses has contributed to the establishment of new businesses as well as the retention and expansion of existing ones."

5. The society
Eight targeted issues, including:
- "The risk of further devitalization of certain sectors of the territory due to the precarious situation of local businesses and homogeneous zoning hindering the establishment of complementary businesses."
Six proposed visions for 2035, including."

Global vision:
- "In 2035, the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut remains attractive, having been able to maintain its own identity, which is reflected in the quality of life it offers, the quality of its landscapes, its natural environments and its recreational and tourism infrastructures."
- ... ... ...
At first glance, we feel that certain topics, which fall under one or other of the issues considered in the Statement, have nevertheless not been developed or may have been overlooked. In the "social dimension", we are thinking of the specific problem of gentrification, which is taking place around lakes and other privileged destinations, putting financial pressure on low-income households.

We also note the total absence of any reference to the situation of the English-speaking community, which is experiencing significant challenges of its own. Challenges that require special attention from our elected officials and administrations.

If you don't see the issues you feel are important in the Statement, or if you have suggestions on any other point, why not give your opinion at one of the scheduled public meetings, during the videoconference consultation, or by e-mail (vfrechette@mrcpdh.org)?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Economic dependency ratio MRC / QC

If the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut has a higher proportion of Old Age Security, Quebec Pension Plan and Canada Pension Plan beneficiaries, this is probably due to the fact that the population aged 65 and over will represent 30% of the total in 2022, compared to 21% for Quebec as a whole. 
Similarly, total government transfers were 40% higher in 2020 than in 2019, in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. However, the ratio between the MRC and Quebec as a whole remains the same from one year to the next, with transfers to the MRC 27% and 26% higher than the Quebec average. The respective age pyramids continue to explain this discrepancy.
By Carl Chapdelaine
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Main Indicators, MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut

Forest fires: at risk in the Pays-d'en-Haut?

Back in mid-August 2021, journalist Marie-Catherine Goudreau (Accès/Le Nord) asked Mélanie Morin, an agent with the Société de protection des forêts contre les feux (SOPFEU), whether forest fires were as dangerous in the Laurentians as they are further north, in the boreal forest, where they are most often reported. She explained that the Laurentides forest is made up of mixed coniferous and deciduous stands. The latter species is less likely to catch fire quickly and can even act as a bulwark against the spread of forest fires. Large fires are therefore more closely associated with the boreal forest, between the 48th and 58th parallels, where black spruce, jack pine and fir dominate.

For SOPFEU, 2022 seemed to mark a return of the pendulum, as Quebec's forests were largely spared by fire. But a rude awakening would come in 2023, with an apocalyptic fire season. In Canada, "the area burned in 2023 is 8 times the average of the last 40 years".1
With climate change2, warming and sometimes drought, the future looks bleak when it comes to forest fires. Extreme seasons will become more frequent. The time has come to take stock, and to determine and implement protective measures, reports La Semaine Verte.

In our region, under certain conditions, spring and autumn are more conducive to forest fires. If, for example, there has been little snow, as was the case in winter 2020-21, and as soon as the autumn leaves freed from their snow cover have dried, they, like pine branches and needles, will be highly flammable.

With the possibility of a drier-than-normal spring, followed by a hotter, drier summer, wouldn't the homes scattered around the lakes in the Pays-d'en-Haut's vast forested territory be at risk? Shouldn't we now be considering protective measures specific to the threat of forest fires? In such a scenario, wouldn't a chalet surrounded by dried-out conifers more easily fall prey to the flames? And how can we intervene in time to save such a dwelling, sometimes lost in the forest?

"Better risk management and a little adaptation could be part of the solution. And the work was quickly undertaken, in 2023, in Lebel-sur-Quévillon as in Chibougamau, for example, faced with the advance of fires towards homes: Felling trees to create a fuel-free trench between the forest and inhabited areas; evacuation notices for the population; and so on.

Faced with the tangible threat of forest fire, the smell of burning wood and the cloud of smoke that swept across Canada and even the Atlantic Ocean, we also began, here as elsewhere, to clear the perimeters of affected homes of the most flammable materials. Buildings secured in this way avoided being razed to the ground by the flames that surrounded them. Is it really necessary to let a spark trigger a catastrophe?3

In the Saguenay/Lac-Saint-Jean region, in 2020, during a violent forest fire, reports Green Week, a cottage whose owner had followed the guidelines for protection against such an event: a belt of cleared land emptied of any abandoned structures or dead wood likely to serve as fuel, access under the cottage walled off, etc., escaped destruction altogether. The structure of the building also plays a decisive role when the flames reach the house. Metal roofs and fire-resistant siding make all the difference.

Shouldn't we be thinking of granting the necessary permits to clear the houses from their belt too close to a forest that has become a threat? In any case, allow coniferous trees to be felled and replaced by hardwoods? Under the same conditions, shouldn't the felling and collection of dead wood be compulsory, given that it represents ideal fuel for forest fires? And shouldn't the environmental criteria of our PIIAs be adjusted to take account of a new reality?

By Carl Chapdelaine

  1. https://www.ledevoir.com/interactif/2023-10-11/feux-foret/index.html
  2. Experts explain link between wildfires and climate change
  3. Ahead of the flames...

Cottages*: numbers down, prices up

As in the greater Laurentides region and Quebec as a whole, the number of "cottages and vacation homes" was in constant decline in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, from 1999 to 2023, dropping from 5,247 to 3,173 assessment units**; a 65.4% plunge.1 More recently, from 3,784 in 2018, it had fallen to 3,173 in 2023, a drop of 16.1%, compared with a decrease of 6.4% for the Laurentians and 6.1% for Quebec.2 On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a boom in the rental cottage niche. The number of single-family homes rose by 7.1% over the same period.

The average standardized taxable value of these cottages and vacation homes in the MRC rose from $162,525 to $250,837 from 2018 to 2023, an increase of 54.3%. It had risen by 36.3% in the Laurentians, and 46.0% in Quebec over the same period.

As the La Presse article points out, not all cottages have vanished; they've changed category. "If you have a cottage that becomes a permanent residence and it's in a residential sector, it's going to become a residence and not a cottage," according to appraiser Norbert Legros.3 

The pandemic, with its acceleration of telecommuting, the travel ban and the retirement of baby boomers in the regions, are probably among the main reasons for this category shift in recent years.

As for earlier years and its indication of the historic decline of the second home, we'd need to analyze the situation in greater depth to identify the main reasons: urbanization, demographics or other. It's likely that the decline is mainly associated with the urbanization of peri-urban areas, once devoted to vacationing.

In Fabreville, formerly Sainte-Rose-Ouest, entire sectors were devoted to summer cottages. Weekends were spent there, often on the beaches of the Rivière des Mille Îles. The north-western part of Île Jésus became Plage-des-Îles and Plage-Laval, as a summer resort.4 In these areas, cottages became or were replaced by permanent residences. And the phenomenon is not confined to Laval. In Sainte-Adèle, around Lac Rond and the Chanteclerc ski slopes, cottages once accommodated the vacationers of the day. When the ski resort disappeared, permanent residences and condos took over.

"This conversion (from second homes to permanent residences) is driven by a variety of factors, such as the proximity and level of public facilities, the proximity of communication routes, the level of municipal taxation, the quality of the environment (water, woodland, mountains, etc.), the type and average standard of living of the secondary resident population, the composition and age of households, etc. "5 Hasn't the old, uninsulated summer cottage also been hit by rising heating costs?

Furthermore, the consolidation of short-term6 or medium-term rental units into a single building (a single assessment unit) will reduce the number of cottages potentially on the assessment roll.

Restrictions or even bans on short-term rentals (now the preserve of Airbnb) in both Saint-Sauveur and Sainte-Adèle should also induce a reduction in cottage construction. "Sainte-Adèle: Short-term rentals authorized only on rue de L'héritage... For the rest of the territory, rentals are authorized for a minimum period of 120 consecutive days or more." "In Saint-Sauveur, the Town only allows this type of rental in areas near ski resorts. "7

Fewer cottages for sale, probably more coveted locations, inflation, then increased demand from Covid-19 and telecommuting, all lead to higher prices. To compensate and cut costs, developers and buyers alike are increasingly turning to integrated short-term rental projects.

By Carl Chapdelaine

** We can't give a clear definition of a cottage here. It may be a secondary residence, or it may be a commercial tourist accommodation unit. Different sources of information on cottages may therefore offer disparate data.
** "Corresponds to the total number of units on the assessment roll. Note that the number of assessment units does not correspond to the number of dwellings." Thus, a rental apartment building, an increasingly popular formula, would correspond to a single unit of assessment.

The future of Tourism in Wentworth-Nord

Everyone in Wentworth-Nord is a fan of tourism; that is, when it comes to visiting other places: strolling, entertaining or shopping in Saint-Sauveur; taking advantage of Montreal's cultural and other resources; touring Île d'Orléans; whale-watching in Tadoussac; or even flying to the South or Europe for a vacation and being welcome there. But when it comes to seeing visitors flock to our three little villages or the shores of our lakes, our tourism enthusiasts are more reticent... In fact, tourism is almost a taboo subject here, and advocating its development has certainly become suicidal.

Tourism has contributed to the development of the Pays-d'en-Haut and beyond, as it has in Mont-Tremblant. Whether in terms of population numbers, job creation or other economic activity, wealth, infrastructure, cultural influence, etc., tourism remains at the heart of regional activity. Its promotion has always been a matter of course.

In recent years, however, a downward trend has begun. The vitality of tourism, coupled with real estate development, threatened to destroy the harmony that could reign in the most popular villages. Increasingly intrusive shopping centers, disproportionate vehicle traffic, disturbing neighborhoods and an endangered environment have prompted the public and city leaders to ask themselves questions or even suspend tourism development. At city hall, people often want to review urban development plans before releasing the brakes.

In Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, the use of "interim control" as a legal tool has imposed a pause, rather than a moratorium, in the creation of new streets, the extension of existing streets and development in the form of integrated projects.1  In the MRC des Laurentides, this same formula has taken the form of a moratorium, which may be limited to lakeshores.2 In Mont-Tremblant, as in Piedmont, the focus is on real estate development in general.3

It is in the name of the environment that a large proportion of Wentworth-Nord’s residents are today raising their shields against integrated short-term rental and other projects. But isn't it, more fundamentally, a question of asserting the privilege of enjoying an exceptional natural environment; of having one's own piece of the lake and guaranteeing one's own peace and quiet; of simply being at home in one's own right?

In order to protect the environment, the lakes, the tranquility or the capacity of municipal services, tourist traffic and the construction of visitor accommodation units are discouraged. And yet, Wentworth-Nord, which possesses this marketable wealth and strong development potential, given the appropriate infrastructure, ranks among the poorest municipalities in Quebec, calling for assistance, subsidies and more equitable equalization within the Pays-d'en-Haut MRC.

After years of seeing many of its lakes surrounded by private property or estates, inaccessible to non-residents; after having, more recently and in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, tried to reserve the tiny public beach on the large Lake Saint-François-Xavier and the parking lots for residents, or discontinued equipment rental at the Montfort pavilion to reduce the number of visitors, for lack of means to adjust the reception infrastructure instead, a moratorium has come to suspend real estate development, particularly tourism, throughout the municipality.

Such a period of pause and reconsideration, borrowed from municipalities hit hard by uncontrolled development in the absence of visionary prior planning, is certainly not to be dismissed per se. But no one knows how long it will last or what the outcome will be, or whether certain potentially interesting projects will not have been postponed indefinitely or carried out elsewhere; their promoters protesting against the extension of their borrowing costs, the devaluation of their investments, the very uncertainty over the eligibility of their original project or the putting back on the drawing board of its construction plan.

If the new rules are modified and approved, subject to consultation with residents who, for the most part, see tourism development as a threat, could the moratorium turn into a gravedigger for tourism development? And, if it does, won't the implementation of these regulations be the responsibility of the next municipal council, rather than the one that established the direction and modalities?
This recalibration exercise, under the guise of a moratorium, is being carried out in-house. Our elected representatives and our administration, no doubt supported by the appropriate outside expertise, will eventually give birth to the baby that will have inherited their genes. Will it be a boy or a girl? Of course, the newborn will be presented to the public, who will be able to decide whether or not to adopt it, to modify the baby's clothing or even to suggest a first name.

But if a reality emerges that does not meet the aspirations of residents, and if the latter have not been prepared to face up to this eventuality and the decisions to be made following the moratorium, or to an unfavorable impact on their personal situation, won't their support for the reform be lacking?

Is the approach adopted by the council, like that of these municipal advisory committees, even if it meets the requirements of regulatory procedure and may be more expeditious, the best one? Residents are excluded from the deliberations that take place there, and no information transpires. Doesn't this exclusion prevent any adjustments or corrections that might be made through progressive public consultation? Doesn't a project presented by a lake association or ad-hoc group, for example, have a better chance of being supported by the interested parties when the latter are involved in its elaboration, as in the case of a lake development plan?

We've described the behavior and sometimes harmful consequences of weekend visitors to the municipality. In fact, we haven't inventoried the purpose of tourists' stay here. Instead, we've tried to define the tourist by the type of accommodation he or she offers or the traces left by his or her visit.

It would be better to find out what type of visitor they are, including all of them, and what the purpose of their stay in Wentworth-Nord is. It is on the basis of these variables that the measures to be taken to cope with future tourism development should be oriented. For example, a new trend is to combine vacations with teleworking, which, among other things, means that visitors' stay can be extended. But we already know that the lakes in summer and our year-round trails will continue to be popular.

It's hard to imagine that tourism won't be able to penetrate deeper into Wentworth-Nord tomorrow; to command the appropriate accommodation infrastructure; to induce, once the richness of its nature has been revealed to visitors, the expansion of vacationing and permanent residence; to contribute, finally, to crossing the threshold of frequentation necessary for the establishment of shops and other services; to offer the jobs and prosperity the municipality so badly needs. A movement that must be directed towards harmonious cohabitation and respect for the environment.

  1. Interim control at Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs
  2. MRC des Laurentides
  3. Mont-Tremblant

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

The future of transportation in Wentworth-Nord

If we go back in time to look at the evolution of transportation and its impact on the development of the Laurentians, we see the major impact of technological change in this field.

"From the 1600s to the early 1800s, people in New France travelled by boat, cart or carriage. Roads were bumpy, muddy and generally in very poor condition. And when winter arrives, icy rivers put an end to navigation. The heavy snow isolates communities." The Chêne, du Nord, de la Rouge and de la Lièvre rivers would then serve as the Laurentian colonization route; while, by the end of the 18th century, a few stretches of road would eventually link the first Laurentian villages north of Montreal to this metropolis. Historique des gares des Laurentides

In the early 19th century, the application of the steam engine to the use of rail gave birth to the train. Until the arrival of the railroad in the Laurentians in 1876, there was no efficient means of transport linking Montreal to this vast region. A new era was born, as this vast territory opened up to settlement and the exploitation of its natural resources. "Trains carried passengers and large quantities of goods. Villages sprang up around the stations.

Then, the automobile became the preferred means of transport for families to reach villages and ski resorts, and to access the many lakes scattered throughout the Laurentians via an expanding road network. Trucking delivered goods to their final destination. A new era of development had already replaced that of the train.

But with increased awareness of environmental protection, congestion on major highways and difficult cohabitation in towns and villages, this latest picture of motorized traffic offers a rather dismal assessment of a seemingly hopeless problem. Both public transit and car-sharing have failed to take root, and how could they in this constellation of habitats scattered across the territory? But these options still need to be developed. There's got to be a way to get there without always having to drive.

The MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut's 2012 strategic vision statement already showed that "The municipal network, representing more than 75% of the MRC's roads, is made up of a very long series of roads that are constantly being stretched in line with new residential construction sites." "Generally speaking, alternative offers to individual transportation remain limited."

However, the Covid-19 pandemic somewhat disrupted the comings and goings of residents and visitors in the Laurentians, as elsewhere in the world. Confinement and telecommuting had slowed travel and seemed to have established a new communications regime. But the situation is tending to return to the way it was before. Could it be that other phenomena are overturning our transportation model, as the train once did?

There's talk of active mobility; of replacing the car, where possible, with the bicycle, with electric assistance, or simply walking. Couldn't the main greenway arteries of the P'tit Train du Nord and the Aerobic Corridor be complemented by a whole network of bike paths linking villages and lakes? When the weather's nice, couldn't the Nord-Wentwortois pick up a liter of milk at the nearest convenience store, go to city hall, etc., without having to take the car, even if it's electric? In the MRC's strategic vision statement, we read: "The cycling network is inadequate throughout the territory, even though the number of cyclists using the roads is increasing.”

There's a lot of talk these days about buying groceries online. Could the future for Wentworth-Nord lie in grouped deliveries rather than individual customer trips? In the absence of a local convenience store, we could order our groceries from the supermarkets in Morin-Heights or Saint-Sauveur before a certain time in the morning; then their grouped delivery service, perhaps in exchange for some tax compensation, would allow everyone to pick up their order at a depot located in those multifunctional pavilions we're being promised in Saint-Michel, Laurel or Montfort.

And where will drone delivery fit in? Will we see these flying, autonomous delivery machines dropping off orders for food or goods at our door, in record time? For pizza, we'll have to wait and see... And what can we imagine for other services? When it's time to change your seasonal tires, a rolling garage could set up shop for as long as needed at a given location. As with the emptying of septic tanks on properties with no road access to the lake, it's conceivable that groups of residents could obtain such a service from the nearest garages.

The solution(s) to the current dependence on the automobile, particularly for a municipality with no commercial services and scattered settlements such as Wentworth-Nord, may be quite different from those we have put forward here; but isn't it nonetheless vital to work on reducing our use of the car, individually and collectively?

Current innovations in the field of transport seem to be focused more on the scrapping of gasoline; on Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS); on GPS connection to the road network, which enables us to opt for the best route; on vehicle-to-vehicle communication, to, among other things, self-regulate speed in a congested road; and even on autonomous driving. Today, we speak of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), but their operation presupposes communication between vehicles and a suitable infrastructure. Tansport Canada, Trends in Innovation. In this way, road signs will inform the vehicle's on-board navigation system. We are thus witnessing the introduction of artificial intelligence into car driving, which will coordinate all these new functions in place of the driver.

Can we already believe that, with night vision and infrared technology built into our vehicles, our apprehension about driving at night or on roads crossed by deer and other animals will soon be a thing of the past?

But if these latest advances lead to more enjoyable driving and greater safety behind the wheel, it's hard to see how they can reduce vehicle use and the likely expansion of the road network. In fact, we can imagine that Wentworth-Nord, having provided the essential charging points for electric vehicles, will then have to invest further to make its road network suitable for this future reality.

Despite the speed with which innovations in the transport sector are multiplying, and the emphasis that is claimed to be placed on preserving the environment, it doesn't seem to us that we know how to tackle the real problem of the tyranny of the private car in regional Quebec. There are the deterrent measures aimed at motorists that are being introduced in Montreal and other cities, but they apply first and foremost where public transit has already made its mark.

According to analysts, these innovations, coupled with the disappearance of gasoline-powered vehicles, should make road transport smoother and bring some environmental benefits. But aren't these benefits in danger of being wiped out by the foreseeable growth in the population, and therefore in the number of cars on the road? And the existence and development of a road network in a hilly region will always be a major source of environmental pollution. And let's not forget the negative impact of automobile traffic in the heart of villages, and the hindrance this network imposes on the wildlife that still inhabits our forests.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Disposable income in 2019 to 2021 (Quebec / Laurentides / MRC)

In 2020, "For the twelfth year in a row, the MRC of Caniapiscau ($44,497) has the highest per capita disposable income. ... It is followed by the MRCs of Pays-d'en-Haut, in the Laurentians, and Memphrémagog, in the Eastern Townships, with per capita disposable incomes of $41,965 and $38,661 respectively.

Residents of the latter two MRCs stand out as having, on average, much higher net property incomes than in the rest of Quebec."
"In 2020, per capita disposable income increased significantly compared to 2019 in all of the province's 104 RCMs. ... In addition to the Kativik Regional Government, five RCMs recorded an increase in per capita disposable income of more than 11% between 2019 and 2020. These high-growth areas are relatively scattered across the different regions of Quebec. They are in Chaudière-Appalaches (Robert-Cliche), Montérégie (Les Jardins-de-Napierville), Laurentides (Les Pays-d'en-Haut), Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (Maria Chapdelaine), and Lanaudière (Matawinie)."

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Institut de la statistique du Québec (analyse)

Main indicators on Québec and its regions (2021)

Electric fat bikes are coming 

Electric fat bikes have arrived in Montfort. You can see them on the Aerobic Corridor and on the rue/route Principale, as a few locals have recently taken possession of them. And this is only the beginning of a wave, if we are to believe someone who told us that they have already become popular in the Pays-d'en-Haut.

Some twenty kilos heavier than a bicycle, fat bike allows you to "ride just as well on a gravel road as in mud, snow or sand, without feeling the difference! With their big, soft tires, you can ride fearlessly almost anywhere, and with an electric-assist motor, you'll go even further!" (Échosports). They come with one or two drive wheels, and with or without throttle.

The speed limit for an electric bike in Quebec is 32 km/h and is often preset. The motor must have a maximum output of 500 watts. Unlike mopeds (scooters), electric bikes require neither registration nor a driver's license, except for those under 18, who must hold a Class 6D license. And, in the event of theft or injury, you're covered by your home insurance. You must wear an appropriate helmet. (CAA).

Their promoters put forward statistics which show that electric bicycles can often replace the car in the habits of their users. They are the future of transportation. They're both environmentally friendly and an increased source of exhilarating rides.

"...you should expect to pay at least $1,500 for a good electric bike, and considerably more than $3,500 for a quality bike with an electric system from a major manufacturer like Bosch, Shimano or Yamaha." (Lussier vélo But you'll save on the cost of using your car.

Those we interviewed are very satisfied with their electric fat bike. It's four-season; it can be used to ride the Orphan Trail roller coaster. You can accelerate, and the battery life is remarkable. There's the regular model, already a behemoth. Then there's the folding model, so you can put it in your car if you need to. It makes you wonder if you can actually pedal it. Forget the motorcycle noise, so present on and around the 364.

You can ride on the bike path just like on the road. In other words, it takes you anywhere, anytime. Well, maybe not in bad weather and not as far in winter. “Ideal for people who live around a lake, to get from one neighbor to the next," says one enthusiast on the bus.

But didn't scooters used to exist in Quebec, and where did they go? Moped regulations have been tightened up, and it's safe to assume that those governing electric fat bikes will have some surprises in store for us too. The power of the motor already distinguishes the electric-assist bike from the moped.

As a resident of Montreal and a vacationer on Lake Saint-François-Xavier, if a moratorium, for whatever medical reason, such as an arm in plaster, prevents you from getting behind the steering wheel, or if you no longer have one, the Galland bus, which drops you off at Saint-Sauveur, may become your only option for getting up to the Pays-d'en-Haut. All that's left is to reach your cottage at the lake. One look at the taxi-bus schedule may have you relegating this option to a last resort - and it still leaves you a few kilometers from home.

Then there's your luggage; everything you've been carrying in your car: tools, materials, provisions, clean clothes for the time you've been without the washer, computer, cooler, etc.; when it's not the passengers? Fortunately, you're already familiar with backpacking, as in mule-riding. To save your planet, perhaps you've always looked for an alternative to your car for getting to and from Wentworth-Nord; never feeling that some other means of transportation or carpooling would work for you. Or, perhaps you needed the shock of being deprived of it to give it more serious consideration.

And what if such a moratorium lasted forever? You never know when a moratorium here is going to end... Isn't there a unique alternative for you? The Aerobic Corridor! Would you be interested in an electric fat bike and an 8.5 km trip on this greenway, starting in Morin-Heights, on each of your trips? First of all, there's a shared, but rather unshared, lane between your bus stop in Saint-Sauveur and the start of the Corridor, " un trajet cyclable, Vélocité, qui lie les parcs linéaires du P’tit Train du Nord et du Corridor aérobique ? En partant de la gare de Piedmont… »

And if you want to rent a machine, Écho Aloha, located just a stone's throw from the start of the Corridor, and who sniffed out the good deal, may be able to accommodate you. Their website gives you a map of the Aerobic Corridor, with the gradients along the way. If you rent the fat bike from them, you're bound to ride this dream track, with your first stop at ...the ghost Pavilion! Or perhaps a sort of  Community fast bike share could be set up in the Pays-d'en-Haut, allowing you to rent your new means of transport for as long as you need?

According to Simon Cordeau's article quoted above, however, it's not for tomorrow that this interconnection, which has been talked about for perhaps more than a decade, will really serve as a comfortable link between the two bike paths, unless Saint-Sauveur and Morin-Heights call on the services of a Valérie Plante.

And yet, public transit and active mobility are now being promoted in the Laurentians; to counter the omnipresence of the car and climate change, as well as to encourage exercise. But it's still Latin here, as demonstrated by the search for this term on the MRC website: " Mauris porta placerat erat ac volutpat "*.

But why not? Why not take the Aerobic Corridor on your electric fat bike, gently weaving your way along Rue du Chemin-de-fer, and reach Laurel, the town hall, its courtyard, its library, its Journée DécouVerte and ... its new Ciné Club, via a junction (that we don't yet know about)? Or, in the opposite direction, pick up your liter of milk in Morin-Heights, while breathing fresh air and without having to take the 364 with your car?

And will former mayoral candidate Mr. Ghali's plan to build a bike path along the Principale, if different from the aforementioned junction, ever take shape? Once mayor, he will estimate its cost, in addition to that of the upgrading now underway of sections of chemin Jackson, route Principale and chemin Millette, at one million dollars. Missed opportunity by the new Council or justified omission?

Why not include, as part of an active mobility strategy, a network of bike paths for real pedal-powered bike cyclists, as well as for tomorrow's many electric fat bikes enthusiasts? It would allow them to get where they need to go; to forge links with residents of other lakes and strengthen the sense of belonging to Wentworth-Nord; or simply to visit the still-hidden wonders of the municipality's valleys and mountains, without polluting the environment?

Well, it may be more difficult to win the good grace of the owners of the land to be crossed, of the shoreline residents to live alongside, to cope with the cohabitation to be envisaged and, for the municipal authorities, to collect the 7% in land rather than in dollars, than to develop such a network of bicycle paths on the territory...

Some thought should also be given before moving ahead: won't all-terrain bikes, like ATVs before them, be perceived as invasive and a nuisance? A preliminary consultation would be better than imposing a moratorium later, when the dice are already rolling on the betting table. Planning, like prevention, is not just a cloud-cutter's whim.

* "It was the gateway to the real estate market and the weekend. ...", according to

Trottinettes électriques à roues surdimensionnées

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Safety And Emergencies, mayor's answer

The mayor answers in detail:
- Yes, the municipality has an emergency plan that sets out all the measures to be taken, who is in charge, what contacts need to be established, and so on.
- During last May's meteorological event, we were better prepared than the towns of Saint-Sauveur and Sainte-Adèle.
- The municipality will nevertheless work to improve the plan.
- Climate change must be taken into consideration.
- Certain points will be affected in the regulations currently being analyzed under the Interim Control umbrella.
- Citizens also have a duty; among other things, to have the necessary reserves to last three days. To be able to heat their homes by an alternative means.
- We want to draw up a list of vulnerable people (handicapped, elderly, etc.) who would require special attention during such events. Neighbors need to help each other out.
- The use of the municipality's website should also be encouraged.

Safety and emergencies

Question for the council meeting of July 19, 2023

Council members,

Quebec, including Wentworth-Nord, suffers from natural, man-made and animal disasters, such as spring floods, storms, and beaver dam failures, which can deprive its citizens of electricity, interrupt road communications, affect a lake or have other harmful consequences.
The municipality has demonstrated a certain monopolization of its resources during such events; without the citizen knowing whether this was in response to a well-established procedure or an ad hoc measure.

Recently, the council also designated a possible multi-purpose community center in place of the current Montfort Pavilion, one of whose functions would be to serve as a refuge in the event of such a disaster.

Is there an established protocol in Wentworth-Nord for responding to emergency situations and communicating with residents, as proposed by Quebec to municipalities in its Démarche de préparation municipale aux sinistres?

Thank you,

Carl Chapdelaine, July 13, 2023

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Finally, the cottage!

It's the long weekend of the Fête des Patriotes and Queen Victoria. The black flies, then the no-see-em, appear to celebrate. For seasonal cottagers, despite their anxiety, the chore of opening the old summer cottage - a model that's probably on the verge of extinction - can't wait. But some have taken the plunge, just after learning from a permanent resident that the thick layer of snow had melted quite a bit and that the "lac a calé", i.e. its ice cover had begun to break up and melt. In Lac-Saint-Jean, where the size of the lake affects the climate and where the expression seems to come from, it's said that an old car would be placed on the ice, and when it settled to the bottom, it heralded the arrival of warmer days and the imminent start of navigation.

And you've gone ahead if you're worried about your dock being ripped off and set adrift again, or if you're just eager to see how things look after a hard winter. Phew, your cottage is still standing; while the weight of the snow and the wind have crushed those of two of your neighbors across the bay, while another is putting his two properties up for sale. No trees have fallen, except those you entrusted to a team of Laurel pruners before the cold season, who promised to come and finish the job in the spring... Electricity is back, and Bell is back in business.

The next day, you'll row out in search of a piece of railroad sleeper, at which you moor your motorless rowboat during the summer months, and which the high water, or ice, has freed up. It's another opportunity for you to see just how big Lake St. François-Xavier is, and just how futile your enterprise is.

Inside, a first tour of this moisture-saturated space reveals your mouse traps, all set off, along with a few remains of field mice devoured by other members of the colony. Fortunately, you've kept a spoonful of peanut butter, bought when it still cost peanuts, which the field mice seem to appreciate as the last meal of their short lives.

With the bad experiences of the first few years, you had multiplied the measures to protect yourself from these squatters. Your beds and armchairs are covered with plastic sheets held in place by weights. Your kitchen cupboard and wardrobe doors are sealed as tightly as possible. The droppings of these critters tell you where they've been. If you haven't sheltered them, your bars of soap are nibbled away. Plastic containers have suffered the same fate, the field mice thinking they'll find something to eat in them. They may also have borrowed some of your toilet paper or torn some rags to make their nest cozier. This time, fortunately, they seem to have got away with it. But don't celebrate just yet...

You're the first in your line to become a cottager, after getting so close to nature. In your distant youth, camping at Mont-Tremblant had already brought you closer to your cave-dwelling ancestor. So, you'll probably have had to discover all these obligations and tricks yourself, by learning or deduction. Visits to your uncle's or your parents' friends' candy-pink or baby-blue cottages didn't teach you any of these lessons.

Where to start? You'd already carried some luggage on the first trip, along the usual path, over the creek, branches or trees that hadn't survived the last storm. We'll have to remove this little rock dam, clogged with piles of dead leaves and blocking the little stream, which a young neighbor has already had time to place to allow dry passage. Better than a beaver, he has allowed the stream, in its springtime rage, to transform the area into a small marsh.

You can already reconnect your precious modem, stored in town, and hear your telephone. Your electrical appliances have, of course, stayed put. Your fridge starts up again without a hitch, but you'd better clean it out quickly while it's still at room temperature. Of course, the only water available is the one you've carefully stored in half a dozen cans. Later, reconnecting the plumbing will require some effort and, you hope, no nasty surprises, like cracked pipes or improper maneuvering. But your fall closing procedure list, now to be run backwards, guides you through it step by step. Batteries are out, your smoke detectors and clocks are off, and you haven't been wearing a watch for ages. But it must be time to cook something. Miraculously, you've still got a cube of butter that's been hibernating in the fridge; more out of principle than economy, you've been depriving yourself of it ever since the price of butter skyrocketed, probably at the behest of the dairy cows themselves. Without its packaging, you can adjust its best-before date as you wish.

By gravity, you receive water from a surface well high upstream; you immediately must reconnect the plastic pipe that will allow it to fill your huge reservoir with water from the melting snow, and eventually work its way up through your pipes. The lake pump you've been struggling to get going has been out of action for ages. But you don't miss the sand it also used to draw from the lake, even if this means of combating sedimentation was highly commendable. It's not yet tomorrow morning that you'll be able to take your shower with hot water.
Your car is still full of some of the stock you brought back to town at the fall closing, your smart TV, tools - the ones you didn't forget in the garage - laundry and food. Before heading back to town, you'll fill up one of your hummingbird troughs; these little devils should soon be following the loon, already in possession of its domain. First, you'll need to grind your sugar loaf into grains, and treat the frozen salt in your salt shakers in a similar way.

Then, you’ll have a look at your stilted basement; at least one post has fallen, the muddy ground leaking downstream. But you can't see any structural deformation in your already crooked cottage. Leaning on a jack post that's already well bent, it stays in your hands, but the load it's supposed to help support doesn't budge. A little more and it would have smashed one of your two large basement windows; or, it could have done so in the middle of winter, giving free rein to the elements. If you couldn't get such a window across the lake, you'd have had to board it up to mimic one already in that condition.

The television, connected to your computer, is already broadcasting the latest evening news. End of broadcast. The sound of the dehumidifier takes over, while the electric baseboard heaters finally make your interior more welcoming. Wood stove, fireplace, smoke-filled cottage? You leave it to your visitors. You'll be slipping into sheets that aren't quite so comfortable; lucky and relieved to have been able to smoothly reconnect with your property to be maintained for months to come...


By Carl Chapdelaine

Main indicators on Québec and MRC

Rethinking tourisme

Tourism and the Laurentians were always taken for granted until today. Haven't recreational and tourist activities replaced the exploitation of the forest as the economic engine of the Pays-d’en-Haut? "No matter what type of lodging you choose, your stay in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut is sure to be one of pleasure and discovery. Visited by more than 1.4 million tourists and day-trippers (one-day stay, no overnight stay) per year, the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut is definitely THE tourist destination of your summer! ... On foot, by bike or by car, let yourself be seduced by our most welcoming towns and municipalities: Esterel, Lac-des-Seize-Îles ..., and Wentworth-Nord. "1

But the often-negative impact of tourism on the quality of life of residents, on the environment, on the sharing of resources with which it is associated: hills, lakes, villages, infrastructure in general and road infrastructure in particular; not to mention shared lanes, street/aerobic corridor, may have put tourism in the dock. Do we need more visitor infrastructure in Wentworth-Nord or fewer visitors? Can't we imagine a formula of quotas that can increase as this infrastructure is planned and developed, when possible?

One could speak of tourism in Montfort until quite recently. It has since become a taboo subject. The publicity on the Aerobic Corridor, on the reception at the superb Lake Saint-François-Xavier, at the Montfort Pavilion, with parking, a public dock, equipment rental, the heritage podcast, etc.; all this is compromised. Don't the current problems between the MRC and the municipality here stem, for the most part, from the difference of opinion between the two entities on the use of these precious resources? In the Montfort sector, tourism is all the less interesting because it hardly brings any economic compensation for the costs or nuisances it generates. And, in these times of inflation, leading households to review their budgets, even the few accommodation providers will have to show restraint...2

An interim control, aimed more specifically at the construction of short-term accommodation, is an announced control on the arrival of tourists; but it will have no effect on excursionists. Is it up to planners, municipal councils, or even residents, to unilaterally establish the difficult balance between welcoming tourists and preserving the environment or the quality of life of residents, simply by modifying the regulations? And do tourists, residents of the metropolis and elsewhere, have rights and a say? Who should have access to the sandy beaches along the Rivière Rouge? Who owns our rivers and lakes? Residents, cottagers, or everyone, as the law requires?3 Sustainable tourism as a solution? But, as in other fields, this formula should not be a catch-all without any concrete program.

Resorting in the region is probably more important than tourism as we define it. And yet, isn't vacationing a prolonged form of tourism? But the vacationer is a resident; he invests, he pays taxes; he participates in the socio-economic life of the municipality. However, like the tourist, he is also an invader who is increasingly monopolizing the resource and who, because of its majority, can impose itself and set the rules of the game. Will we also have to legislate one day on the expansion of the Wentworth-Nord resort?

Rethinking tourism was the theme of World Tourism Day 2022. But it was more about global and diverse considerations, such as the environmental impact of air travel, the impact of mass tourism, etc.; or conversely, the need for tourism for countries whose economies depend on it; but sustainable tourism. The formula of quotas, to which the undersigned often returns, has become a reality here. Some examples? Lisbon, Machu Picchu in Peru, with a maximum visit time of four hours; Venice for the most cumbersome excursionists. Or the tourist tax in Thailand and New Zealand.4 Then, perhaps, for Wentworth-Nord and on a smaller scale, the issuance of building permits subject to quotas per zone and subject to change (depending on whether or not they are grandfathered).

Isn't it questionable to see local authorities struggling with societal choices that seem to us to be the responsibility of the highest level? It is all very well to decentralize; but certain decisions must come from the State; despite the example of the imbroglio that Quebec experienced during the imposition of sanitary measures and regional barriers in times of Covid 19... Should each local authority come up with home-grown solutions to deal with the same problems in general? Or adopt a regulation 2017-498-19 to counter the government's regulation on the same subject?

In Quebec, doesn't it seem that decentralization sometimes rhymes with the State's lack of responsibility; or, in any case, that assistance or directives are slow to follow in many areas? It is true that reality is changing rapidly; Airbnb and other formulas are changing the game. Municipalities want more power, and more resources; perhaps too much... And the less populous the municipality, the more the administration and the stakes weigh on it. It must, like the big ones, manage everything: roads, development, environmental protection, security, and, today, tourism...

1. MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut.
2. tourismexpress
3. educaloi.qc.ca
4. quotas-taxes-interdictions-comment-certains-pays-se-protegent-contre-le-tourisme-de-masse

By Carl Chapdelaine

L'Atlas De L'eau <--link

1. Zoom in on the desired region.
2. In the taskbar at the bottom of the map, click on the blue water quality icon, then on the light brown lakes icon.
3. In the table on the left, which opens on the lake’s "layer", check the variables you are interested in, to see their value or location on the map.

The future is in rentals, multi-residential and integrated projects

Skyrocketing property valuations and our tax rates reflect the current rise in home prices. "From March 2020 to December 2021, the average overall single-family home price according to The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) increased by 42.9%."1,2

In response, the popularity of multi-family buildings and integrated projects, both owner-occupied and renter-occupied, responds to the need to share the cost of infrastructure and services to lower their cost per unit. It also reflects the need to reduce the amount of land, especially in urban areas, and municipal and other infrastructure required. As in other areas, large players and financial institutions are also becoming increasingly involved in this type of project.

High-rise buildings have sprung up in major Canadian centers, reminiscent of what may have happened in older cities on other continents, albeit on a different scale, so this is not an exceptional phenomenon. In this regard, "the City of Montreal should make some changes to its urban planning bylaws in order to facilitate the construction of high-rise housing”.3

The cities of our Laurentians also show the multiplication of these multi-residential buildings, more and more imposing, as in Sainte-Adèle or Saint-Jérôme. The latter, a regional capital in full expansion and probably welcoming citizens from the smallest surrounding municipalities, as well as from Montreal, is seeing its suburbs grow at a rapid pace, and is acquiring imposing integrated real estate projects. You live in a single-family home on the shores of Lac Rond in Sainte-Adèle, or on the edge of a wooded area in Bellefeuille, but suddenly you find yourself at the foot of a giant, or in the middle of an urban area...

Condos have, for a few decades now, taken a good part of the real estate market. They are more affordable than single-family homes, and older homeowners, among others, are moving to them; whether they bought or rented a unit. In 2016, according to the Census of Canada, there were no significant number of condos in Wentworth-Nord (0%) out of 740 private households (permanent residents)4; in 2021, there were 10 out of 875, i.e. 1.1%5. In the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, it was 8.8% in 2016, and 10.7% in 2021. In Quebec, it was 11.7% in 2016, and 13.8% in 2021.

"At the time of the last census in 2021, the rate of homeowners in Quebec was 59.9% (39.9% renters), down from 61.3% (38.6% renters) in the 2016 census."6 In the MRC, the percentage of renters had also increased between 2016 and 2021, from 24.0% to 24.4%. In Wentworth-Nord, by contrast, only 8% of private households were renters in 2021, a decrease from 2016, when the rate was 8.8%. (The situation would be quite different if cottagers and short-term renters were added to the population figure).

It can be assumed that, by 2023, a majority of Quebec households, including young people, unless they can rely on their parents, can no longer afford to buy a home and will be renting; or, at least, will be renting longer. They will have to spend more of their income on housing anyway. They will not be able to afford a second home. However, the situation is clearly different in rural areas, such as Wentworth-Nord, than in urban centers, and probably involves a migration pattern that favours the former.

This inaccessibility is particularly noticeable in Montreal, where the increase in house prices has exceeded the increase in disposable incomes of individuals,3 although overvaluation of properties or a slowdown in construction may have distorted the calculation. Quebec City is following the same path. Saving for a home is no longer enough to offset the accelerating price increases. "The real estate market is becoming unaffordable".3 People now have to take advantage of telecommuting and move to the suburbs or regions where prices are more affordable.

"...the monthly mortgage payment for the average Montreal home was 40% of median household income (in 1980), compared to 49% today"6 "...the price of a median home (there) is now the equivalent of seven and a half times annual household income. In 1982, it was ... only slightly more than twice that income..."6

Despite the current slowdown in the real estate market, the drop in new housing starts in Quebec, particularly for rental properties, will lead to a decrease in available units and will aggravate the housing crisis. For their part, first-time buyers will be the most penalized, we heard on RDI's Zone économie, and their debt load will be greater.

Governments have responded to the crisis by helping first-time homebuyers; Ottawa is launching the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA)5. But the April 1 date of this year for the start of the program would not be convenient for the banks, which would not yet be ready to manage it.

Can we not deduce from this that, at the same time, the future of the resort will be with the wealthy, often older, population and short-term rentals? As for the districts of the cities that gather the most opulent houses and the most wealthy population, the resorts, such as the shores of the lakes accessible from the major centers, should become the privilege of this economic class of citizens.

Will there be solutions to this gentrification of the resort? The construction, where permissible, of integrated mini-homes will probably be one of the paths chosen. New owners of second homes should also increasingly resort to short-term rentals to share the cost of their investment. Due to the lack of experience in running a rental unit or a condo, management companies will be used more often in this field, as has been the case elsewhere, such as on the Côte d'Azur. The four-season cottage will be used in summer by the owner who is sensitive to cold; it will be used by the tenant in winter.

In conclusion, the increase in the price of houses, as well as the aging of the population, immigration, infrastructure and other factors, are leading the majority of the population that is not yet a homeowner to turn to rentals, multi-residential and integrated projects. And the growth of this population will not cease to feed the real estate market; the only economic development engine, in the short and medium term, that can be envisaged for a municipality like Wentworth-Nord.

The reader may refer to the August 10, 2022 presentation of the Lac-à-la-Croix-Sud and Du Mont integrated projects, as well as to the June 23, 2022 consultation by the Wentworth-Nord Planning Department, and also to the September 19, 2022 Petition for a Moratorium on Development in the Montfort Sector, to see the arguments for and against the impact of integrated projects in the municipality.8, 9, 10, 11

With all reservations.

By Carl Chapdelaine

  1. https://www.informateurimmobilier.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Perspectives-sur-le-marche%CC%81-de-limmobilier_Canada-2022.pdf
  2. https://www.statcan.gc.ca/o1/fr/plus/1139-acces-la-propriete-oui-mais-quel-prix
  3. https://www.ledevoir.com/economie/597591/le-marche-immobilier-toujours-moins-abordable
  4. Census Profile, 2016 Census
  5. Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population
  6. https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/774284/serie-avoir-20-ans-trouver-un-toit-a-soi
  7. Compte d'épargne libre d'impôt pour l'achat d'une première propriété (CELIAPP), Ministère des Finances Canada
  8. Deux projets au lac St-François-Xavier 
  9. 2e consultation sur les modifications au zonage pour les projets intégrés
  10. Petition For Moratorium On Development In Montfort Sector
  11. Le Domaine Du Mont

% locataires (2016)

% locataires (2021) 

% Condos: (2016) 

% Condos: (2021)

Labour market in the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut

Nombre de travailleurs (25-64 ans), MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut
Nombre de travailleurs (25-64 ans), MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut
15 69815 85916 04716 27816 75816 14517 881
Institut de la statistique du Québec (Adaptation par Carl Chapdelaine)


"The labour market recovered strongly in 2021, after the shock wave caused by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic."1 "At the sub-provincial level, all MRCs in Quebec experienced an increase in the number of workers in 2021, with the largest (and fastest) increase in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, located in the Laurentians, where the number grew by 10.8%. Three other MRCs in this region are among those with the strongest growth: Mirabel, Argenteuil and La Rivière-du-Nord."2 Thus, in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, the number of workers aged 25 to 64 has increased the most, reaching 17,881 in 2021, or 107% of what it was in 2019. The rate of workers in this age group, as well as their median employment income of $45,893, were, however, lower than the provincial rate or level.

Note that net in-migration rates in this MRC were over 3%. "... the migration of teleworkers from large urban centers to outlying areas where homes are more affordable and can offer more space for home offices (CMHC)" may be part of the equation.2

By Carl Chapdelaine

1. MRC-2021 Rebond-nombre-travailleurs-et-hausse-revenus-emploi
2. evolution-marche-travail-mrc-2021

Connecting villages? What about wildlife?

"Today, we are witnessing a constant increase in the rate of fragmentation of the territory, caused in particular by the construction of roads. These constructions threaten the survival of several animal species, hence the importance of adopting preventive measures when planning the territory. Le Naturaliste canadien

The previous quote refers to roads, the construction or improvement of which is currently underway in Wentworth-Nord, such as Thurson Lake Road. And real estate development proposals, including integrated projects, could sometimes also justify long ramps to the existing road network.

But what is the impact, albeit less decisive, of the gridding of a territory that is being intensified by smaller roads: recreational routes (Aerobic Corridor), forestry roads or simple trails (the Orphans' Trail, its ramps and its network of snowshoe trails)? Wildlife corridors; Public consultation on trails: Report; Trophic Cascade

"The popularity of outdoor activities in recent years is clear. By 2021, seven out of ten Canadians have been on a nature trail. Radio Canada "And the trend must continue." La Semaine verte  Isn't the very commendable initiative to link our villages by retracing heritage ski trails; to eventually connect the network to existing recreational routes, as retained in the plans of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, also fragmenting wildlife habitat a little more? Could our forest trails cross those of the animals?

In the Grands-Jardins and Mont-Orford national parks, a working group on what has been called "the parks' carrying capacity in terms of human use" is currently analyzing the results of a research mission launched by Sépaq in 2022 to analyze the reaction of large mammals using hundreds of cameras attached to trees. Some evidence has already emerged.

Contrary to the Saint-Jérôme - Mont-Laurier development axis, Wentworth-Nord is, of course, still very little urbanized. Its immense forest cover, as on the scale of the country, without large fields of culture or breeding, seems to us to leave all the place to the original fauna. And yet, each advance of the human habitat nibbles away parcels that will never be given back to it. Will it be necessary, one day, to create a national park, like that of Mont-Tremblant, to protect the animal world from the urbanization of the territory; or would it not be appropriate to delimit zones to be protected now?

The studies, and we are able to see this, seem to establish that this impact on wildlife is different depending on the species, as well as proportional to the importance as well as the frequency of use of the infrastructure involved. « Randonnée en forêt : quel impact sur les animaux à proximité des sentiers? » (Impacts of Recreational Trails on Wildlife Species: Implications for Gatineau Park) In this regard, has everyone understood that deer and other potential prey of large carnivores, in our municipality or even on the South shore of Montreal, in the middle of the city, can find shelter by getting closer to humans; provided that it is not during hunting season? One of the tangible consequences of this phenomenon is the overpopulation of these species on the edge of the inhabited area, where they are free of their predators. For others, on the contrary, we think of the bears, the fragmentation of their habitat can affect their predation or reproduction process. This leads to a disruption of the natural balance that should exist at these levels.

You might also have noticed that animals, hidden but present around us, occasionally use our trails for their own movements. For example, a few years ago, wolves probably chased a deer on the Aerobic Corridor to the home of a resident of Chemin-de-fer Street, at the edge of the forest, near kilometer 12, where its carcass was found. This is already proof, for us, of the impact on wildlife of a forest penetration route. More recently, a trapper from Montfort recognized the passage of a pack of nine wolves at the head of Lake Saint-François-Xavier, halfway along the Sentier des Orphelins; an unfortunate incursion for the pack... A pack of wolves at Lake Saint-François-Xavier.  A dog was attacked by a coyote.  A cougar at the lake

But, if there are other consequences of our sprawl, it's like under the surface of a lake, at first glance, we don't know. And who knows how many bears, wolves, coyotes, deer, etc. are present in our territory, or what their movement patterns are? Is it not necessary to know this last point, among others, in order to choose the route of future roads or even trails with the least impact on the comings and goings of these mammals?

However, Rando Québec admits, in its publication Normes en aménagement de sentiers, that "The lack of studies on the impacts caused by the presence of a pedestrian trail on plant and animal populations makes it impossible to know the real effects. In many cases, the impact mitigation methods proposed by biologists make a legitimate appeal to the precautionary principle." One such measure, often imposed in national parks, is to avoid off-trail expeditions.

As with the haphazard extension of streets on the side of a hill, or, as with the Big Hill of Route Principale, in Montfort, plunging directly into the lake, any major intervention in the spatial structure of the territory should no longer be done without a prior study of its potential consequences, specifically in this case on wildlife. In the absence of reassuring analyses and results, would it not be better to avoid any unjustified advance into our wooded environment, even if it is near already developed areas?

It will also be necessary, through the barriers erected by our forest fragmentation, to foresee, as recently under the 117, in Ivry-sur-le-Lac, the wildlife passages and corridors that are now the object of various experiments in the country, and that could be applied according to the type and location of the roads to be developed.

One day, still far away, the urban grid will have merged the colonies of Saint-François-Xavier, Notre-Dame and Saint-Victor lakes in Montfort, then connected this village to Laurel and Saint-Michel, eating and fragmenting a portion of the forest cover in Wentworth-Nord. Could this affect the balance between carnivores and prey species, with consequences similar to those observed elsewhere? Long-term planning in development is not to be denigrated; it could perhaps have prevented us from having to fear the consequences of development on our environment and even on the future of our planet...

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

"Seize îles”

"Seize îles" is the title Jean-Louis Courteau has given to his collection of short stories about his discoveries and appreciation of Sixteen Islands Lake, from the surface to the depths. With this self-taught diver, we discover for ourselves an unknown, wonderful world, rich in marine life, history, and artifacts. These artifacts tell us about the colonization by the white man and give us a glimpse of the existence of the native peoples whose territory he took possession of.

But the author, a brilliant jack of all trades, will surprise you with his culture or the mastery and richness of the language that allows him to draw you with him into the depths of the lake, as well as into those of his thoughts. He mixes in, on occasion, a few touches of poetry and, is it the fruit of the intoxication of the depths, some abstract flights of fancy. Does he also use his talent as a painter to describe these submerged landscapes? "On the surface, the lakes are us. Peaceful, they reflect. Tormented, they become obscure. Their soul is in depth, secret, silent... The lakes are Russian dolls in apnea. Mirrors of Alice. They are bowls more filled with mystery than water." There is nothing to take away from this little gem of a read, if not perhaps, today, that these innocent Russian dolls...

Had we followed Mr. Courteau's career closely enough over the last few years, remembered the anecdotes he told during his presentations, or taken advantage of our visit to CIEL, at Lac-des-Seize-Îles, to recognize in this collection of stories many of the ones he describes? Indeed, the author shares with us his findings, that of the Huronian vase and that of the Iroquoian shortly thereafter, with the adventure that he attributes to them. Or again, the purse dropped in the lake by a young fiancée thirty years ago, with the photo of the one who is now her husband, and who still frequents the Sixteen Islands. He reports, among his discoveries of a multitude of bottles, that, in front of one of the residences, of a series which was associated with the conservation of liquid developer for photography, and which indicated well that its owner exercised this profession.

Added to these discoveries is the reminder of tragic events that have occurred from time to time, such as on Christmas Eve, on ice that is too fragile for the Studebaker or the team of draft horses that still lie on the bottom. Jean-Louis also mixes in the presence of characters that he makes endearing. He does not disdain to give character and intelligence to the creatures that populate the lake, like the bass that sometimes accompany him in his dives and that he recognizes by their nickname.

By recalling all the events for which the lake was used as a setting, Sixteen Islands also highlights a heritage from an unexploited angle. Today, every resident of the Laurentians would like to have a Jean-Louis Courteau to tell him the sunken secrets of the lake, of which he sometimes only knows the image that its surface reflects back to him.

The diver is not stingy with his treasures; he has shared the fruits of his discoveries during presentations at the Société d'histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d'en-Haut, as well as on other occasions. He has also called upon colleagues and friends, as well as experts, to either film in depth or authenticate the value of the artifacts collected, fish behaviors never seen before, or remarkable geological formations. When will we see him at the de Montfort Pavilion?

Beyond the mirrorBeyond the mirror (1)Beyond the mirror (3)

By Carl Chapdelaine

The Quebec of tomorrow

On June 6, 2022, the Quebec government unveiled its National Policy on Architecture and Land Use Planning (PDF 4.43 Mo). This strategic vision is the result of:
- "Reflections led by the community that were enriched ... by the contribution of specialists.
- A major national conversation launched by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in January 2021.
At this stage, the avenues identified are intended to "guide collective action on architecture and land use planning."  https://www.quebec.ca/gouvernement/politiques-orientations/architecture-amenagement-territoire They do not, however, step down to the level of problems to be solved on the ground like those that affect us: the congestion of the Laurentian highway, the influx of visitors to municipalities or lakes to which they impose an unbearable pressure and whose management is not taken into account by higher authorities.

In 1979, with the creation of the MRCs and their primary responsibility for land-use planning, the government took a decentralizing step in this direction. But the government recognizes that the current planning framework "...does not provide efficient solutions to important issues such as costly urbanization, urban sprawl, protection of cultural heritage, agricultural land and natural environments, sustainable mobility, the fight against climate change, health effects, access to housing or landscape evolution. The planning framework does not allow for sufficient consideration of the particularities of different environments."

This policy statement, however, will be followed by the development of an implementation plan to be released in the winter of 2023. To this end, "the government intends to put in place a comprehensive program of consultation and cooperation with municipal elected officials and associations in the field in all regions of Quebec. In the long term, this plan will include the investments that will be required to achieve the strategic vision.

Among these orientations, urban sprawl has thus become a major concern for the authorities. The city of Saint-Jérôme, like others, is already moving forward with measures to deal with it.
 Journal Le Nord, p. 5

One might think that this problem does not concern a municipality like Wentworth-Nord, and yet, given the disproportionate cost that its road network inflicts on the municipal budget, the use of existing infrastructure, and therefore the densification of housing, was put forward in its urban plan in 2017.

The attraction of the countryside, space and lakes, mixed with our concept of individual freedom, pushes the new colonizers to disperse on its immense territory, even at the cost of private roads, and to keep a good distance from their neighbors. Then comes to them the idea, because they contribute fully to the maintenance of the roads, to bring the municipality to take charge of these roads. We have recently seen how the reflection on these questions the members of the municipal council. They hope, in their decisions and with the support of the urban planning department, to have taken all the measure of their sense in the sustainable development that is required today.

Par Carl Chapdelaine

https://www.deepl.com/translator & Linguee

Waterfront Sprawl (A Vision)

Urban sprawl has been in the news this week. The Union des municipalités du Québec, led by the mayor of Quebec City and other young mayors elected in the last municipal elections, is urging the Legault government to review its approach to land development by promoting urban densification rather than sprawl in the suburbs that surround our cities.

These elected officials point out that this exodus to the suburbs is detrimental to the environment; that we can no longer, among other things, increase the number of highways and encourage the use of cars. There are also financial consequences for cities that need to make their road infrastructure and the other local services they offer to city dwellers and visitors profitable. Densification of housing, at the very source of urban development, is the answer.1

A change in trend, not a fad, as Transport Minister François Bonnardel had the misfortune to miss. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, will soon table her policy on land use planning, which will allow us to see for ourselves.2

Suburban development and urban sprawl have been taken for granted for a long time. It allowed anyone to choose to move away from the city, to have access to property; it was also supposed to favour local entrepreneurs, etc. We weren't going to put the brakes on the movement. Then came the Third Link in Quebec City, and the controversy. Mayor Bruno Marchand called on the government to take a closer look. Should the urban sprawl it would cause be further encouraged?

Not really a problem in Wentworth-Nord, with its blue gold! There's still plenty of room. But can't we risk a parallel with the development around our lakes? In fact, because of the awareness of the negative impact of habitat on the environment of the lakes, and perhaps because of the desire of the lakeside owners to limit access to the lakes to their own use, the authorities have instead favored a form of lakeside sprawl. Here, in contrast to urban sprawl, it is probably an environmental protection measure. "The control of density in the watersheds will partially compensate for the high densities authorized in the past. "3, p. 9 It is therefore no longer possible to build along the lake on small lots; a minimum area thus limits the number of waterfront properties. And the derogation from this minimum area for houses smaller than the norm cannot be applied within 300 metres from a lake. (Draft bylaw no. 2016-461)

Mr. Emmanuel Farmer, in his 2017 Wentworth-Nord Master Plan, had therefore instituted a graduated land use around the lakes, to manage their housing density based on their size, and designated Habitation – bassin versant (HBV) "This allocation is for the watershed of 38 lakes, both developed and undeveloped, where it is essential to control new construction. ... Therefore, subdivision standards will need to be tailored to the reality of each watershed, considering the current density and the density target set." 3 p. 16-17

The Plan also indirectly regulates the layout of streets in relation to the distance from a watercourse. One will recall the recent debate on the proposal to reduce this distance in integrated projects.

But for all of Quebec's non-riparian population, including Nord-Wentwortois, the ability to access their lakes has been further reduced. Add to that the development of estates and integrated projects, which give the well-to-do exclusive access to a lake and often to an entire protected, sometimes even landlocked, environment, and the lakes may not be for that population. This is a situation that is unfolding before our eyes right now. Developers are welcome in a municipality where property taxes are sorely lacking in contributors, but should they be given a free hand?

What if we started to think about this waterfront sprawl; couldn't we allow more people to get closer to our lakes, without increasing the pressure on their environment? Semi-detached houses, with common services, rather than isolated houses? Sharing of boats, docks, parking areas, access ramps? Sharing the septic system or, in the foreseeable future, using less extravagant and more environmentally friendly techniques?

Obviously, increasing density, proximity, as in the city, will diminish the privacy to which we aspire. The majority generation of current owners will not submit to this. But isn't this the path taken throughout the development of humanity? Is this not the compromise, for the new generations, to consider to still have the privilege, in the future, to be a riparian? It will already be necessary to have been able to really determine the carrying capacity of each lake, according to all the variables that define it, and to specify the modalities of the urban plan that aim to protect them.

And, given the implications of the demands of real estate developers, should we not reverse the trend of allowing them to sometimes take over lakes and parts of the territory? In the context of the current awareness of municipal authorities of these threats, the citizen can certainly expect them to keep a watchful eye on their authorizations and permits. The urban plan may have set out the broad outlines, introducing protective regulations; but developers are also developing strategies that will enable them to carry out their projects.

And have some of the 105 lakes in the municipality, which are still natural if anything, been designated as nature reserves or truly public lakes, like Hertel Lake at Mont Saint-Hilaire? In the latter, made accessible, any good citizen of the municipality or visitor could reserve a day of swimming or any other non-damaging nautical activity with the rental equipment removed from the Montfort Pavilion. Obviously, we will have first tried this formula at Lake Saint-François-Xavier, with the help of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut...

By Carl Chapdelaine 

1. Tableau de la différence des coûts!


3. Plan-durbanisme-octobre-2017

One foot in Montreal; one foot in Montfort 

Unlike Ontario, where the population is more concentrated in the cities, Quebec still has a multitude of villages, says Jean-Marc Léger, of the Léger Marketing polling firm. Quebecers, but they are not the only ones, are divided between the attraction of the city, its services, its economy, its cultural environment, and the attachment, for many, to their village, to their region of origin, to the countryside. In the metropolis, they would sometimes try to recreate this village environment.

For urban sociologist Dominic Morin, as for Annie Cloutier and Jean-Philippe Warren, the search for a compromise between these two tendencies, the dictates of the economy or the determination of the most appropriate place to raise a family often means choosing the suburbs. You need the services offered by the nearby metropolis, but at the same time you need the space, the nature, the access to property that the suburbs provide. Urban sprawl and the immoderate use of the automobile were the inevitable consequences.

The original Montrealer, who has lived in a close, lively neighbourhood with a multitude of resources, does not necessarily like the modern suburbs of the bleak plain that surrounds him. The latter may appear to him to be too uniform in its architectural character and without appeal. But in fact, if he did not choose this universe, he does not know it.

His thirst for escape and nature, during the torrid summer days in the city, his search for an almost total change of scenery, led him instead to visit the real countryside, with its picturesque villages, the relatives who still live there and their way of life. At best, he was able to roam the enchanting landscape of the Laurentians, like his parents before him perhaps, even diving into its lakes, skiing through its hills, camping at Mont-Tremblant Park in his youth and canoeing on the Diable. Take away the contingency of the workplace, through retirement or telecommuting, and offer the financial resources, then he may choose to make it his second home, or even his permanent one. He will have found the best of both worlds.

But if we could have defined what would motivate this Montrealer in his choice of living environment, how would we determine future trends? And what about other Montrealers, immigrants or even their descendants, ethnic or other minorities, etc.? And there are those who do not even know that, eighty kilometers from Montreal, the environment is most appreciable; those who may not really have the means to go there or to find lodging.

So, let's look at the financial resources. Suburban property is generally more affordable than metropolitan one, but this is probably not the case for those that have been the subject of site planning and architectural integration program evaluations in Wentworth-Nord. The estates or new subdivisions that house them are certainly not social housing; and even less so if they offer you the shoreline of a lake, or even an entire lake. Doesn't this mean that the migration to the Laurentians, and more specifically to our municipality, will only be for the wealthy, because only they will be able to afford the property of their dreams or even a second home?

Will the consequent increase in the evaluation of neighbouring properties and the related taxes, the gentrification, not create undue pressure on the poor residents? Will the area of Montfort, Lac Saint-Victor, Lac Notre-Dame and Lac Saint-François-Xavier one day resemble the Tremblant Resort; a kingdom reserved for the wealthy? But if this is the nature of our economic system, would it not be appropriate, at a time when Quebec is experiencing a crisis in access to property for a large part of its population, to also imagine economic and social measures likely to facilitate access to this privileged environment for the less fortunate? As for the next generation of farmers, has the time not come to act? Incentives for the creation of integrated mini-housing projects*, housing cooperatives**, low-cost properties, implementation of tax measures or other, the tools available to municipalities seem to be very limited in the face of a structural problem. And how to reconcile access and environmental protection?

One thing is certain, the Pays-d'en-Haut will continue to see its population and the number of its vacationers grow with the contribution of these city dwellers, whether they are native or adopted Montrealers.

* In 2016, the first draft of Bylaw no. 2016-461, on conditional uses, and which will give rise to a consultation in July of the same year, authorized the construction of mini-homes in Wentworth-Nord, in integrated projects. It also allowed them to be built in a series of defined zones, while removing the requirements for the size of a new house. This permission was subject to several conditions, including that the lot in question respect the minimum area imposed by the grid of uses and standards, if it is located within 300 metres of a lake; obviously to avoid too high a density of habitat along the lakes. Thus, in a summary of the changes to the urban planning regulations, it was stated: "The minimum footprint has been reduced in many places (allowing slightly smaller houses)". This flexibility met the objective of "Attracting young people and families and allowing seniors to remain in their community." (With all due respect.)

** Accès du 27 avril 2022, p. 4

Source : Le Québécois, entre ville, village et banlieue: Code Québec - La banlieue est-elle la nouvelle campagne?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Climate and First Nations

The Weather

"For thousands of years, people have learned to predict the weather by observing the clouds in the sky. lire-la-meteo-dans-les-nuages  And your geography teacher may have already introduced you to this. Cumulus clouds are a harbinger of good weather, while stratus and cirrus clouds are a harbinger of precipitation. But you'll have a hard time matching the weatherman's predictions just by looking at the clouds...

Among the First Nations, before colonization and the western approach, the observation of the sky or of nature in general was essential to predict when to interact with the environment. Among these nations, those who still live in close contact with nature have passed on this essential knowledge from generation to generation.

First Nations had a variety of tools to predict the weather, some of which we also use:
- The change in fur color of hares and other animals.
- The return of migratory birds.
- The springtime emergence of skunks.
- The height of bees' nests.
- The importance of beavers' provisions for the winter season. The same for muskrats or the height of their cabins.
- The behavior of birds, gray squirrels, or even the leaves of black poplars, ash trees and others on the eve of a storm.
- The appearance of the moon.
- The sunset.
- The direction of the winds.
Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Weather Perspectives

And one could add others, such as the flow of sap from the maples. "The harvest began in a period referred to by the First Nations as pre-spring. The signal was given at the appearance of the first full moon, the sugar moon, or, for some, at the appearance of the snow bunting, the sugar bird." erable-et-premieres-nations-tout-ce-que-vous-ne-savez-pas

The seasons

We have divided the year into four theoretically equal seasons; they result from the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the inclined axis of rotation of the planet. The expression of these seasons therefore varies according to our position on the Earth. The First Nations could estimate the length of this year and evaluate the seasonal movements, but they did not divide it into four seasons; rather, they divided it into five or six periods, depending on the region and the nation.

The Aboriginal people lived through the seasons. Each of them had its importance and its reason to exist; as for the Innu and other nomadic tribes:
1. "Shikuan (spring). Spring (or pre-spring) is the time when the land comes back to life... The Innu prepare to return to the shore.
2. Nissi-pishim. The snow melts, the earth thaws, the greenery appears. ... the month when the ducks arrive on the territory and which is immediately followed by the goose moon in May. These are important hunting activities for the native people.
3. Uapikun-pishim. Another important time is the month of June, synonymous with the birth of flowers. Then it's summer, time to stock up. Smoked salmon, seal blubber, ducks and geese are on the menu.
4. Upau-pishim. In August, it's time for the birds to fly back to the land. Then the following month, the caribou shed the velvet on their antlers.
5. Uashtessiu-pishim (October). The most beautiful time for some; ... it is the month of the year when the land is sunny. It takes on different colors. One prepares to return to the land; to go to the hunting grounds.
6. Pishimuss, tshishe-pishim. Then come the great months of winter. A time of darkness and great cold. We are in survival mode. It is the season of hunting and fishing on the ice. A bit like the partridge which, at this time of the year, does not move much, covers itself, wedges itself in the snow and keeps its warmth, the Innu stayed in the tent waiting for the spring and the renewal of the land"  Oubliez les 4 saisonsMille façons de dire "neige"

We can also associate a list of resources used by the Algonquins according to the seasons, such as maple sugar in the spring; dried fruits and plants in the summer; balsam fir branches in the fall, to insulate the dwellings from the cold and to serve as a bed; or animal skins in the winter to make clothing. uqtr.uquebec

But, as for us, the Algonquins and the Crees could have spoken of two great annual seasons, summer and winter. In the spring, "Cree families migrated to the island (of Fort George) where the Chisasibi River emptied into James Bay in preparation for the summer season. When they arrived by canoe, they would set up their favourite piece of land and put up tipis side by side in a circle. All camps were set up in this way, with a central common area where children could play. The island was a gathering place, where the Cree could reconnect with family and friends. It was also a place of celebration, where weddings were held and the first steps ceremony, which marks the first contact between toddlers and the land, took place. Before the reserves, the Cree way of life was traditional. At the end of the summer, families would dismantle their camps and return to their respective hunting grounds for the fall and winter." connection-to-the-land   A Woodland Cree poster shows some highlights of their six seasons.

The Algonquin Weskarinis of our Laurentians followed a similar pattern, travelling down the Hare, Red and North Rivers at the beginning of the summer season, and then south, making alliances with each other along the Ottawa River. There they exchanged their fur pelts for goods made by the whites and fraternized with the Hurons from the Great Lakes or other tribes. They returned to their respective territories in the fall to hunt and eventually ice fish to survive the winter.

Climate change

Apparently more noticeable in the north, it is affecting the environment and disrupting the signals that the natives had learned to decode.
- A large part of the indigenous peoples has phenological markers that signal the change of seasons. This can be the appearance of certain birds, the mating of animals or the flowering of certain plants. With climate change, many of these markers are appearing earlier or later and may be dissociated from the seasons for which they were indicators. The unpredictability of the seasons and changes in climate and weather patterns cause many disruptions in the daily lives of communities, including the practice of traditional activities.
- Native plants and animals cannot adapt to rapid changes in climate. Their presence and availability may be disrupted, making it impossible for community members to use them as usual.
- The increase of non-native invasive species represents a danger for the balance of local ecosystems.
- The practice of ancestral activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, gathering) may be threatened, particularly because of the changing geographic distribution of species." Impacts des changements climatiques sur les Premières Nations

"Aboriginal elders feel the urgency to act. They feel that they can no longer pass on reliable traditional knowledge to young people with these climate changes. They have a desire to be involved in the implementation of climate change adaptation measures. However, this implementation is hampered by a lack of funding and limited data on the impact of climate change on the territory."  blogue/premieres-nations-changements-climatiques

In the fight against climate change, experts believe that we could take advantage of the knowledge that First Nations have developed through their close contact with nature. During the filming of the documentary Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, we were surprised to hear Inuit say that the earth's axis of rotation seemed to have changed slightly. Their observation of the phenomenon, initially attributed to an optical illusion, could eventually be confirmed and explained by the melting of glaciers and the consequent redistribution of water in the oceans. What are Indigenous knowledge systems — and how can they help fight climate change?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

The good Guys and the bad guys

Municipal news is the talk of the town; there are always stories in our town halls. The undersigned did not choose to make it his focus; it just came to him.

While the elections seemed to have set the stage for the next four years in the Pays-d'en-Haut; while calm has returned to the Wentworth-Nord council, the municipal news today turns to Piedmont. Journalist Simon Cordeau, for Accès, has learned of the resignation of Mayor Nathalie Rochon, as well as that of three councillors, all in their second term and, according to Ms. Rochon, well liked by the population. Her team had won all the council positions, unopposed. But that was before the three new members turned their backs on her. And those three remain in office. The director general and the assistant director are also leaving, while two representatives of the Quebec Municipal Commission are taking over as interim members due to a lack of quorum on council. Accès, pp. 5, 6, 7 

"There are too many differences in our working methods, the unhealthy climate that prevails had become unbearable," she wrote. And in a statement also reported in the Journal: "With the latest events, we do not see how we can work together for the next three years. How can we understand that a team, still in the majority, approved by the voters, is giving way, and not necessarily for the better?

And who, besides the three remaining councillors, would consider running in their place in a by-election? It is the defeated candidate for the prefecture, Mr. Martin Nadon, a resident of Piedmont. He is a lawyer and was once the director general of several municipalities, before becoming a UN official. The only thing the undersigned will remember about him, heard during the Council of mayors of March 9, 2021is that he had filled the prefect with insults and taxed him with negligence, concerning the considerable impact that the social change created by the pandemic will have. We also learned from Mr. Nadon's speech that he had avant-garde ambitions for the MRC; projections into the 21st century that reminded us of what someone else, who had worked in the Metropolis, also saw for Wentworth-Nord... 

Yes, so who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? And does this quality or flaw overshadow all others? The lesson is that we should rely on the accomplishments and positions of those on whom we rely, rather than on their words, promises or confidence. And if we are not able to judge them, let us at least listen to the journalists we trust and lend them objectivity. But let us wager that, with a mix of experience and competence, probity and amiability, youth and maturity, enthusiasm and determination, the new Wentworth-Nord council, in its unity, will be able to set our municipality on the right path.

So, this is probably also the time for you to bring your issues to their attention, to convey your aspirations, to aspire and to ask to participate; all the while leaving the chance to the runner who has a lot on its hands.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Sustainable development?

The Program Enquête from Radio-Canada, of March 17, 2022, denounced the government's inaction in the maintenance of abandoned forest roads across Quebec as follows:
"The Wild West of Quebec
The massive abandonment of forest roads represents a danger for the safety of Quebecers and causes environmental damage of an unsuspected magnitude. These roads can sometimes become deadly. And thousands of tons of contaminants end up in our waterways because of unattended infrastructure that falls apart.
All over Quebec, people are denouncing the government's negligence and a forest management that does not hold the road."

Foresters have always built these roads, probably made of sand and gravel, which allow them to exploit the woody material of our forests. Then, with the trees cut down, she can leave these roads abandoned rather than maintain or close them (return them to a natural state?). In addition to being a hazard that has taken many lives over the years, as the episode reports, time and runoff render ditches and culverts inoperable, so that water will eventually carry tons of sediment into nearby rivers and lakes. More than half of the culverts on these roads are obsolete in the province, according to the report; and the Laurentians are not spared.

In Quebec, unlike in British Columbia, the government is responsible for the maintenance or closure of these roads. But Quebec spends only a tiny fraction of the billions needed today, so most of it is left to deteriorate. The authorities know the impact of this state. The Ministry of the Environment has complained to the Ministry of Forests, which has not responded to its requests, but says that a review is underway.
In British Columbia, for the past few years and faced with such a situation, the government has been forcing foresters to maintain or close their roads in the forest.

Imagine a road, such as the Lac-Thurson road, eventually abandoned in a hundred years and which would release tons of sand and gravel likely to reach Lake Saint-François-Xavier already saturated with sediment as a result of human activities and constructions. And if the lake residents cannot manage the developments generated by this road or at Lac à la Croix, what can happen to the vast territories of forestry operations beyond the urbanized areas of Quebec?

The authorities gargle with promises of sustainable development, while their services do not respect their own environmental protection laws. It is therefore necessary to note that, as for the overexploitation of the oceans and others, we are rather moving away from this objective. We are taking advantage of resources, the environment, our air, water, soil, etc., without compensating for the losses we inflict on them.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Belonging to the Lake

The municipal news, under the mandate of the last Council, showed us that the citizens of Wentworth-Nord often preached for their parish, as they say. But what is this parish today: the village, the district, the lake? And what is the predominant sense of territorial belonging among the residents; while, everywhere, the weakness of such attachment seems to be accentuated among an increasingly mobile population. How can this trend be countered, when the municipal council is seeking to bring the three villages closer together (exchanges on assistance to the elderly/vulnerable)? La signification du territoire chez les jeunes

It was announced today that on March 16, the Municipality will table its budget and its three-year capital plan (PTI) for 2022, 2023 and 2024; a major moment for the Municipality since this plan contains the priorities of its administration. Certainly, as with the previous presentation of road repair projects on the territory, the distribution of the constabulary or other, many will question the distribution of the budget between the six districts, between the three villages, or between the lakes. Will the largest property owners, those on estates, who also pay proportionately more taxes, be willing to see these taxes favour the sectors that are lagging behind? But should these territorial distinctions really be considered in the allocation of funds in the municipal budget, or is equalization not a matter of course?

In the Metropolis, the citizen, who is certainly proud to be a Montrealer, may nevertheless feel that he or she belongs more to a borough and more likely to a neighbourhood. Many factors distinguish different neighbourhoods: wealth, ethnicity, religion, language, socio-economic structure, density, etc. Weren't some of today's boroughs and neighbourhoods originally independent towns, villages or agricultural suburbs?

A Laurentian municipality such as Wentworth-Nord, covered with lakes and populated by vacationers, seems to be primarily, except for the heart of its three villages, an assembly of territorial entities around these lakes. The common spaces: marina, parking, beach, boat launch, etc., contribute to this. Socio-cultural events, such as the Montfort Regatta, Potlucks, corn roasts and others, as well as problems, express the importance of this territorial dimension.

The predominant feeling of belonging to a lake or to a village takes on its full meaning at Lake Saint-François-Xavier, as it does at Montfort or even Newaygo. Haven't their issues been in the news in recent years, with the three recent consultations and negotiations with the MRC to develop a response to them? Once Montfort has regained its former glory, its businesses and services, its sphere of influence, what will be the sense of territorial belonging of the residents of Lake Chevreuil, a stone's throw from the village and attracted by this pole, but citizens of St. Adolphe-d'Howard? And on which side do the residents of Jackson Road, Lake Bélanger and Lake Noiret, on the border with Morin-Heights, lean? Is the municipality just an administrative formality that does not justify any sense of belonging?

Although there is already a crying need for rapprochement within the Montfort community itself, between Anglophones and Francophones, between anti-measures and environmental and safety enthusiasts, between permanent residents and vacationers perhaps, between isolationists and those who are altruistic towards visitors, is there not reason to seek, as the current municipal council wishes, to develop a sense of belonging to their municipality among all Nord-Wentwortois and to strengthen the ties that must unite them, from Saint-Michel to Montfort?

If there is one measure that should be implemented at the forefront to bring people together, it is perhaps that of information. How can you be interested in what is going on there if you don't hear about it? If the cottager only knows about his municipality through the tax bill he receives each year, his sense of belonging to the municipality will hardly develop. If no major event comes to solicit him, he may remain a homeowner only attached to the comfort of his immediate environment.

Will it be necessary to charter a bus to bring the residents of the east end of the municipality to visit those of the west end, and vice versa, if only once? Or, as the former mayor had initiated at Montfort Pavilion, hold a large-scale show in one or other of the three community centers that would have brought residents of the three sectors to discover affinities? In the meantime, the planned return of Municipal Council meetings, alternating between the three pavilions, will only bring the Council closer to local residents.

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By Carl Chapdelaine

The Pays-d'en-Haut attracts

Since 2002, data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ) has made it possible to determine the number of permanent residents1 who move from one region of Quebec to another, along with their destination by MRC. To do this, the ISQ uses the Fichier d'inscription des personnes assurées (FIPA) of the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) in an anonymous manner. "Approximately 99% of people residing permanently in Quebec are registered in the FIPA.2 By changing their postal code, they give track of their move.

The Laurentian Administrative Region (15), composed of eight MRCs north of the Outaouais and Mille Îles rivers, remains the big winner of these inter-regional migrations.2 From July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, with 31,273 people moving in and 18,616 moving out, the Region added 12,657 residents, or 2% of its population, by far its largest gain since 2001-20022+3.

The impact of Covid-19, with telecommuting, distance learning, change of status from secondary residence to primary residence, etc., is probably not unrelated to this phenomenon. Instead, there had been a slowdown in migration toward the end of the 2019-2020 period, and that may have corresponded to the interregional travel bans of early spring 2020; but a rebound in the aftermath of those constraints would fuel the 2020-2021 increase.

Of the inflows, 11,861 came from Montreal and 8,357 from Laval.4 The metropolitan area was thus the big loser in these migration balances; and this was due more to an increase in the number of its outflows than to a decrease in its inflows. Coupled with a decrease in the arrival of immigrants "due to the restrictions put in place at the borders to counter the pandemic", this exodus to other regions even resulted in a decrease in the population of Montreal2.

And this deficit in the metropolis was not so much to the benefit of its suburbs in the St. Lawrence Plain (the MRCs in the south of Region 15) as it was to the benefit of the Laurentian MRCs: Rivière-du-Nord (Saint-Jérôme and suburbs) in particular (+3,059), but also Pays-d'en-Haut (+1,763) and Laurentides (+1,305). These data therefore support those of the municipalities, with their issuance of building permits, as in Wentworth-Nord, those of real estate agencies, or those of other sources, which indicated a strong increase in construction or sales of homes, with even a scarcity in the market.

On the other hand, the ISQ's Sociodemographic Bulletin reports more frequent migration in all age groups, "which testifies to the particular character of the last year in terms of internal migration "2. This could probably be compared with various trends noted according to age category, such as the transformation of a secondary residence into a permanent residence for retirees, the search for a family home at a more affordable price than in the metropolis (but not in Mont-Tremblant), etc.

Let us make the connection between this form of restructuring of the Quebec habitat, generated by the new interregional migration trend, and the emergence of other global factors, such as climate change or the current pandemic, to which Mrs. Deslongchamp alluded in the EAUtrement television series, and which have repercussions on our way of life, among others.

Doesn't a certain exodus to the suburbs or to nature areas stop the galloping urbanization of the last century, a global component of this habitat; with its worrying consequences for a metropolis like Montreal, as much here as for the fragile ecosystem of the villages and lakes of the Pays-d'en-Haut? And, shouldn't our leaders take these global factors into account when planning our common future?

On the other hand, don't some people say that Covid is here to stay, just like influenza, and that it has triggered, if not accelerated, the irreversible movement towards telework? Many believe that, combined with the ecological transition and other trends, telecommuting, e-commerce, or more broadly the digital revolution, along with robotization to address chronic labor shortages, are ushering in an era perhaps as significant as the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century Nouvelle révolution industrielle? "We must take note that the organization of work is undergoing profound change..." Sur le chemin de la relance.  Will we then have to recompose the subway-work-sleep trilogy?

Note: Interpreting statistics is often a perilous exercise; readers are asked to point out any misinterpretations they may discover in our article.

By Carl Chapdelaine

1. For us, this is the population figure.
2. Bulletin sociodémographique
3. Migrations internes par MRC
4. Migrations par groupes d'âges

Lecture : «Les Laurentides, plus populaires que jamais» , p.3.

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In English :

  1. The suburban
  2. The Bobr Times

The cost of water

We should not expect, from a short piece of research, limited knowledge and a single article, to be able to present an accurate assessment of the situation in a municipality like Wentworth-Nord.

We were looking forward to the television show, EAUtrement, on MAtv, in which we were able to feed into some of the last topics we covered. EAUtrement is basically a citizen project put forward by Mrs. Mélanie Deslongchamps, General Manager of Agiro/. Involved in Stoneham, north of Quebec City, Mrs. Deslongchamps was awarded the "Lake Management Success Stories" prize in 2019. This last Friday we ended the series of nine programs of the second season by showing that water has a significant cost, even in Quebec and especially around its capital, territory of analysis for the project.

In our cities, there is the cost of the water we consume, for drinking and for many other uses; and there is also the cost of wastewater. We know that this water, whether it comes from a river, a reservoir lake or the St. Lawrence River, must be treated to a greater or lesser extent to ensure that it is drinkable, and then discharged with the least possible impact on the environment. Yet, Quebecers do not really distinguish the bill for these operations on their tax burdens. And if you are one of those who only drink bottled water, to which you attribute special properties or for fear of chlorinated and fluoridated water, the cost of the water you drink will appear on your grocery note.

When interviewed on the subject, Régis Labeaume, then mayor of Quebec City, indicated that the cost of treating the city's water with the current equipment could be calculated and that we could live with the steady increase in this expense. The threat of an explosion in costs came from the inexorable increase in population, which would eventually require the construction of new drinking water and wastewater treatment plants. It was therefore imperative to postpone this deadline by establishing water saving measures. And here the ordinary citizen should not only rely on the administration, but also do his part, as in the case of environmental protection. Should we build such plants in Wentworth-Nord, where the septic tank reigns? No, so did the issue of water costs apply there?

Once you have dug an artesian well and connected it to your drinking water supply, you often have unlimited access to this indispensable resource. In this case, as in the case where you draw water from a well or from the watercourse near which you live, your operating costs will be negligible and will not burden the municipality's budget. But the treatment of this water, which has become wastewater, has a very real cost; not to mention that its impact on the environment is not zero: installation and maintenance of the septic installation, emptying of the tank, transportation and treatment of the residual sludge, monitoring, and even municipal administration of the entire operation.

In these circumstances, reducing water consumption at home or at the cottage becomes relevant; the resource is no longer, in a way and as one might have thought, inexhaustible. And if the terrain has forced you to install a sealed septic tank that is difficult to access, reducing your water consumption can become a very tangible priority. Here and in the forefront, the water-efficient toilet should replace the water-abundant one.

However, the composting system, with a dry or very low water consumption toilet that does not contaminate your grey water, offers the most advanced and radical ecological solution. Its use, like that of recycling our leftovers, proscribes the maxim of the all to the sewer, as well as the all to the garbage, but requires a little more attention. It is in keeping with environmental sustainability, or circularity, as opposed to the linear life cycle imposed by the conventional toilet. Changes to the Isolated Residential Sewage Disposal Regulation under the previous government, however, have not resulted in wider acceptance of the use of composting toilets under the current government.It is in keeping with environmental sustainability, or circularity, as opposed to the linear life cycle imposed by the conventional toilet. Changes to the Isolated Residential Sewage Disposal Regulation under the previous government, however, have not resulted in wider acceptance of the use of composting toilets under the current government.

The whole issue of wastewater consumption and treatment, from isolated residences here, is of major environmental importance in Quebec and should perhaps now be the subject of fundamental reforms. But the government is not using a pressure cooker to simmer the issue, and even seems to have forgotten to turn on the stove.

Furthermore, as with many other environmental variables, climate change could affect the availability or quality of our drinking water and, as a result, its cost. According to the work of researcher M. Delpla and his team, "rising temperatures and intense rainfall events, which are expected to become more frequent in the coming years, will have a significant impact on the quality of surface water (from which 80% of Quebec's drinking water comes)" Québec Science. And, combining this observation with several others, they are not the only ones to come to such a conclusion. Our lakes, this source of drinking water, are deteriorating, especially in agricultural areas: "Scientists are sounding the alarm. Within 30 or 40 years, the very future of our drinking water will be threatened." Lacs en danger

These findings led Ms. Deslongchamps, in announcing a future series on the EAUtrement program, to remind us that climate change is not the only global factor we will have to deal with in the protection and use of water? As an example, she sites the threat to all of our waterways from invasive alien species.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

The race to the stars*

We are referring to the constellation of stars that should be in store for us at the location of Lake Saint-François-Xavier in our beautiful Laurentians. And yet our habitat, however limited it may be here, seems to have seriously diminished this sumptuous nocturnal setting.

The window of our room, a few meters from the lake, faces east. It is at bedtime, on a cloudless night, that we try to find this moving picture of our youth, in the Mont-Tremblant Park, of a black sky where so many stars shine that it seems alive. But, we never succeeded. On the Morin-Heights side, today with the profusion of winter lighting of its Summits, the glow has increased and persists all night, covering a large part of the sky. And even above our heads, a multitude of stars seem to have faded from the celestial canvas over time.

All the way down, along the shoreline of the Aerobic Corridor, at the level of our Great Bay, many residents are increasingly marking their territory with a profusion of lighting. The garlands of lights among others, so popular today and so tiny are these, contribute to denature the night spectacle that the residents of yesteryear had to contemplate and that we can still dream of. Couldn't we turn them off the day after Halloween or the Holidays? There must be a balance between the safety of lighting and the integrity of the night sky.

Montfort has only a few hundred residents, most of whom are on lakeshore; the goal of reducing local light pollution should not be insurmountable. However, there should be an awareness of a problem and a will to remedy it.

As a city within the territory of the Réserve internationale de ciel étoilé du Mont Mégantic, Sherbrooke, which, like any urban environment, must deal with a multitude of light sources, has nevertheless decreed the Objectif ciel étoilé (Dark Sky Objective). The city is currently focusing on a 5 km stretch of Bourque Boulevard. "The analysis of night-time satellite images as well as visual and photographic identification have allowed us to identify this sector as having a high impact in terms of light pollution." The businesses that are located there will be accompanied in the realization of the project aimed at protecting the night's integrity. Those who adopt the eco-lighting approach proposed by the Reserve will obtain the designation "Friend of the Starry Sky".

The principles of this eco-lighting are:
- Color: Install amber and warm colored light sources.
- Intensity: Opt for a sober and uniform lighting. Reduce the intensity (e.g. install an amber LED bulb).
- Orientation: Choose fixtures with light directed toward the ground.
- Period: Control the period and duration of use (e.g. timer, motion detector).
The three MRCs involved in this international first that is the designation of the Reserve, including the MRC of Haut-Saint-François, undertook a project to convert public and private outdoor lighting in 2006 and adopted regulations in this regard. "More than 3,300 light fixtures were replaced in 17 municipalities; ...conversion that reduced light pollution in this area by 35%." L'Aménagiste

The effects of light pollution are amplified by the use of (cool?) white bulbs; these contain a lot of blue light. And the phenomenon is exacerbated by the appearance of white LEDs. "This increase in the blue light portion of artificial lighting is especially problematic because blue light contributes more than other wavelengths (or colors) to light pollution since it diffuses much more easily into the atmosphere than the red, orange, and yellow light contained in white light."  La lumière bleue

"In 2018, the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec adopted a Quebec standard on light pollution control (BNQ 4930-100)." Several municipalities, including Wentworth-Nord, have taken on the goal of a less intrusive lighting environment. The focus here is on education; but legislation has also crept in. Most of the construction projects now subject to the PIIA in Wentworth-Nord have their lighting plans adjusted downwards.

However, isn't it time for the Municipality and the MRC to go further and encourage residents to adopt best practices in eco-lighting? Even if the territory covered by the Reserve meets the requirements of the Mont Mégantic observatory, such an approach does not seem insurmountable in a territory that is not very urbanized outside the axis of the Laurentian highway. Can we hope to rediscover the Milky Way over Lake Saint-François-Xavier?

By Carl Chapdelaine

La course aux étoiles
- https://www.globeatnight.org/light-pollution.php
- https://www.delmarfans.com/educate/basics/lighting-pollution/

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Old homeowners and cottages

Giving way

Many old owners, of often older second homes, inevitably experience problems related to this dual status. But the first ones eventually disappear and we don't hear about them anymore; especially for the cottagers.

On the old cottage trail (Mount), half of the older couples appear to have experienced the death of one of the spouses in the last decade. If the property was not then sold, the survivor may never have returned to enjoy the warm weather at the Lake.

The widow may not know how to use the motorboat to commute there. In any case, the boat might stay at its home port, because keeping a place at the marina for visits that have become rare is no longer worth it. The path, as well as the staircase that allows access to the perched cottage, have also become too difficult and dangerous for their impaired user.

As we age, the chore and stress of opening and closing the cottage seasonally increases. With the loss of a spouse, it may no longer be worth it. Some people haven't been to the lake in a long time; you don't see them anymore. There's not much going on along the Mount Trail anymore...

If a neighbor doesn't see to the good of the house, problems can increase. What are we going to do with this property? Are the children interested in their elderly parents' cottage? In two known cases, the son of a lake resident bought back the cottage of a departed household on Mount Royal Trail, and managed to have it restored. They had to defy the lack of road access, or even the late Mr. Backman's barge. But legislation now prohibits new construction without such access.

And who knows now if the whole Mount sector, surrounded by a protective nature reserve, will not be forever closed to subdivision; but also almost condemned to decay. Instead, will it be reattached to civilization by the arrival of a large developer who will have obtained the necessary authorizations, and a road. For those whose property ended up on Des Érables Street thanks to the opening of Thurson Lake Road, the way is clear; one day, the old house will probably be demolished to make way for a palace when the old household leaves. The phenomenon of gentrification will also have contributed, little by little, to the reconversion of the entire street.

Will a new generation replace the old in Wentworth-Nord? Attracting young families here? But how? Buy a new property? For the wealthy perhaps, but then again, they could just take over the old cottages in search of new owners.But, it is also to pick up all the problems of often decrepit constructions. In the absence of a specific public program, the scenario will certainly involve the real estate agencies. And who are the young people today who have, like their elders, the necessary skills (building maintenance, plumbing, etc.) to own an old cottage? Most city dwellers couldn't; wouldn't want to.

Shouldn't there be a consultation on the issue of older homeowners, permanent residents or cottagers, and their needs? Consultation on the issue of gentrification and its impact on the less fortunate; and on many other issues... Perhaps volunteer committees, an essential tool in a poor municipality, would be interested in digging into these issues, consulting with the residents concerned and submitting reports to the authorities. Or perhaps, for the latter, start by asking such committees to identify the main problems of all these people, in order to identify priorities for intervention.

The availability of retired people has led many to volunteer their services, whether in lake associations or otherwise. And it seems that it is necessary, for their own good, to encourage the elderly to participate in some social activity.(Accès, p. 25) Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, candidate for mayor, also imagines setting up a mutual aid formula for the elderly residents of the municipality in order to keep them in their homes or cottages as long as possible. A bit like a center (COOP?) of barter of services or something like that.
In fact, wouldn't such a work or the choice of such an avenue come back to the MRC, since all the municipalities live the same situations? Couldn't the lake associations also be involved?

Isolation of elderly cottagers

If you have cut back on lake stays due to age and/or health issues, you are probably less aware of local news. You may be no less interested in any information that may come to you at your permanent residence. You also lose some of the contacts and human resources, and even friendships, from your previous attendance. The staff and council members with whom you did business at City Hall have new faces. Will candidates for City Council only think of you on the eve of the election?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Francos, Anglos: two visions!

While discussing the local municipal election campaign in the francophone media with two Anglophones Newaygo neighbors, before Mayor Ghali's latest antics, the undersigned realized that they were not at all aware of what was being published or broadcast. Already we seemed to guess a potential split between the choice of the Anglophones in the Montfort sector and the francophones for the positions of councillor and mayor, and here is confirmation that they are obviously not receiving the same information; or not as much.

The Francophones probably watch the news on television in French and the Anglophones in English; in the name of what principle or regulation could one reproach them? The news is not necessarily the same and is not as strongly Quebec-oriented for the English media. And the situation is nationwide. So it's not surprising that when a law is passed in the Assemblée nationale that concerns majority vs. minority rights, for example, the perception is different for some than for others. A real problem, isn't it?

Our website is completely bilingual; it would only be because of translation errors or delays that the English version could sometimes differ somewhat from the French. But we don't know of any bilingual regional newspaper, except perhaps for publications like the Tremblant Express, similar to the airline magazines distributed on their planes. Anglophones in the region are also entitled to Main Street, with a monthly edition. Not only is their regional information likely to be incomplete, it is also not up to date. In times of municipal elections, this can make a big difference.

The Saint-Francois-Xavier Lake Association used to publish a bilingual newsletter that was very popular with its members. The information was the same for everyone and reflected some of the local news. A note from the municipal councillor gave us the status of the files on the table of the council and the administration; in addition to the action he said he was taking. (We advocate much more in fact, presentations on the progress of files to the population by their leaders: mayor, councillors or administrators, in person, during regular meetings).

Wouldn't it be possible for an existing regional media to offer a bilingual section, simply by translating the articles in that section into the other language? And, of course, by possibly adding English-speaking contributors. Or, that aspiring volunteer journalists from Morin-Heights and Wentworth-Nord, for example, or from a group of lake associations in Wentworth-Nord, initiate the creation of a weekly bilingual electronic newspaper?

In the absence of the creation of an autonomous bilingual media, should we not hope that, the day after November 7, the Wentworth-Nord municipal council will make more effective use of its newsletter, even if it means hiring volunteer contributors who can communicate more complete information to everyone? It would be apolitical, more up to date, and it would go beyond the administrative framework to let us follow the social, artistic or other activities of the four corners of the municipality. It would compensate for the absence of any local media in Wentworth-Nord. The choice of maintaining a paper edition or preferring an exclusively electronic publication, more up to date, would remain to be determined.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

By Carl Chapdelaine

Winter of the wild turkeys

Thank goodness Thanksgiving is over! In fact, the fall hunt for this turkey, which has been added to the spring hunt since 2020 in some regions of Quebec, comes a little later, from October 23 to 29 this year. The reason the fall hunt was opened was because of an increase in the turkey population. In the Laurentians, hunting zone 15, the hunter is allowed only one bearded turkey, the male (5% of the females also have a beard); the fall hunt is not allowed there.

We didn't hear much about these turkeys during Covid-19, you might say. But what does that have to do with anything? Well, inter-regional travel restrictions and curfew have made it difficult to hunt turkeys. Among other things, hunters usually position themselves before daybreak to conceal their approach, which was not possible with the curfew. And since hunting statistics are an indicator of the evolution of turkey numbers, such restrictions may have distorted the reports.

Still, "the 2020 spring hunting season attracted similar numbers of hunters as in recent years. ... A record harvest of turkeys was made this spring (2020) with nearly 8,600 birds harvested. "1 Where fall hunting is allowed, regardless of sex, "more than 4,600 hunters successfully harvested nearly 900 turkeys, 70% of which were females.1

"The wild turkey, which was hunted by our native people in Southern Quebec, reappeared in the mid-1970s from populations established in New York and Vermont, and subsequently from Ontario. The species, which is now growing well in Southern and Western Quebec, is benefiting from a northern expansion of its range. "2 "According to biologist Anaïs Gasse, climate change may explain the increase in turkey numbers. Often our springs are dry, they are not too cold, which allows the chicks to evolve well. Also, with a mild winter with little snow, the turkeys are able to scratch and go find food more easily under the snow. When it's not as cold, there's less mortality," says the biologist with the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Parks. "3

However, the winter of 2018-2019 was difficult for them in some regions of Quebec, such as in Beauce: «... in mid-November, a layer of snow became permanent and during the weeks that followed, the turkey was unable to feed".4 "(It is) an animal with a gregarious behavior that generally moves in small groups and sometimes in groups of more than 50 individuals (during the winter). "5 The "lower temperatures and (a larger amount of snow) make the search for food more difficult"6.

By Carl Chapdelaine, a simple Christmas turkey lover! 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

  1. https://www.quebec.ca/nouvelles/actualites/details/gros-gibier-et-dindon-sauvage-quebec-devoile-ses-statistiques-de-recolte-2020
  2. https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/importuns/fiche.asp?fiche=dindon_sauvage
  3. https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1789631/dindon-sauvage-couvre-feu-chasse
  4. https://www.lavoixdusud.com/2019/05/21/un-hiver-difficile-pour-le-chevreuil-et-le-dindon-sauvage/
  5. https://fedecp.com/media/7585/ambio_guide-dindon_vert.pdf
  6. https://www.muni.lacsuperieur.qc.ca/medias/files/environnement/DEPLIANT-DINDON-SAUVAGE.pdf

The shoreline of Lake Saint-François-Xavier municipal?

In a previous article (cf.: Shoreline Landowners? No!)), we alluded to the reappropriation by the Municipality of lots that the Director of the Service de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement, Mr. Benoit Cadieux, indicated to us had been designated, following the last cadastral reform, as belonging to it.

Currently and for some time now, many owners around the Lake have been offered to "buy back" from the Municipality land that they believed to belong to them and on which, for some, part of their residence was built. In the case of the undersigned and other owners, it was a shoreline strip on which docks, stairs or even more could have been built.

But in fact, in the case of the riparian owners, the cadastral reform may have had nothing to do with this reappropriation and "resale" offer. If we take a closer look at our certificate of location, as well as a cadastral plan of Wentworth Township drawn up in 1908, the former lot 11A-326 clearly consists of a riparian strip surrounding the lake, at least part of its western basin, according to the portion of the cadastre of which we have a copy. It is attributed to the municipality, as well as edges in crown around the lake, at two hundred, then four hundred feet, and which were intended to receive streets, like the virtual sections of Mount Street. The layout of both this strip and these edges could not take into account the topography of the area and certainly foreshadowed the need for future adjustments when such streets were eventually built.

At the municipal meeting of August 20, 2021, Mayor Ghali, in reference to the offer to buy back such a parcel, spoke of rectifying an oddity. The price of the repurchase was mentioned; but not the steps and costs of surveying and notarial acts at the expense of the owner...

One wonders if the Municipality should not have been recommended by higher authorities to keep its property rights on this riparian strip. Indeed, it does not seem impossible that the government will one day think of appropriating a right of way on the banks of watercourses or of declaring them public property, as it has done for the watercourses themselves. Doesn't this already exist along the Mediterranean coastline in France and even closer to home on the American coast, or even, necessarily, on the sections of the Aerobic Corridor shared-use way located directly on the shore?

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

New houses in Wentworth-Nord

(Inventory on an interactive map, according to the Plan d'implantation et d'intégration architecturale (PIIA) (Site Planning and Architectural Integration Program) announced events in 2020-21.

Click on: Google My Maps     GeoCentralis

Shoreline landowners? No!

You thought you were shoreline landowners? Not anymore...
Landowner $ -- -> $Municipality + $notary +$ surveyor

Search in 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.


Real estate in Wentworth-Nord

W-N, Centris.ca*

In the 3rd quarter (July/August/Sept.) of 2020, Centris.ca figures indicated :
- 28 sales (compared to 20 in the 2nd quarter); mainly single-family homes.
- 25 new listings.
- 30 active listings; a decrease of approximately 46% compared to the same quarter of 2019 (already down 32% in the 2nd quarter; cf.: The Attractiveness Of The Region).

The price of these houses had jumped to $240,000. This increase may have reflected the post-confinement craze for real estate in the Laurentians north of Saint-Jérôme or the trend towards more luxurious residences. But, according to the QPAREB data, the continued decline in listings and the increase in sales across Quebec were leading to a tightening of the market and an increase in prices. Barometer

Where are we now, with the second wave of Covid-19 and several sectors of the economy closed again, but not construction?

By Carl Chapdelaine

*Centris is a subsidiary of the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). Centris.ca is Quebec’s real estate industry website for consumers.

Accès entreprise Québec

In 2014-15, in a movement of budget cuts, the Couillard government financially forced the Centres locaux de développement (CLD), an autonomous structure, to scuttle. Part of the budget allocated to them and their responsibilities would be repatriated to the MRCs, which would strengthen the control of local development by the latter, argued Minister Pierre Moreau.

Like several other measures associated with this desire to return to a balanced budget for the province, this decision would almost wipe out the efforts and progress made by these organizations. It would be perceived as such and would be denounced by the main stakeholders, as well as by the opposition parties. MRCs and cities would nevertheless maintain their CLDs at their own expense.

Several positions had been abolished by this dismantling, depriving the regions of the expertise and experience of these human resources. "This is the case of Pierre Lafontaine, a former rural development consultant who worked for 25 years for his region of Lanaudière. He lost his job ... with the cuts at the CLD." "Entrepreneurs were going to have to look elsewhere for the resources they were deprived of.
Refusing to do without this service, the mayors of the Pays-d'en-Haut had chosen instead to keep the essentials as an advisory committee of the MRC. However, Mayor André Genest had voted against the adoption of a resolution aimed at compensating for part of the financial cuts imposed on this structure, by drawing from the MRC's own budget. Having become prefect, he could only manage an atrophied service despite everything.

Last July, Premier Legault, who had once opposed the abolition of CLDs and who wanted to "give the regions tools for their economic development," announced that his government would "revive a new CLD in each MRC," Radio-Canada reported. On November 10, according to La Presse, "the Quebec government launched its one-stop shop, Accès entreprise Québec, a new coaching service for SMEs that will be offered in all regional county municipalities (MRCs)". "Accès entreprise Québec takes over from the former centres locaux de développement (CLD), which were abolished in 2015." "The service will be ... operational in the coming weeks, while the 87 MRCs and the 11 cities without MRCs each recruit two new people who will be added to the current teams."

The Minister of the Développement économique régional, Marie-Ève Proulx, also indicated that the MRCs will have to set up an advisory committee, which will be responsible for "guiding economic development". A first version of such a committee, perhaps, wanted it rather regional; it would take here the form of «Connexion Laurentides»,an intermediary organization through which the local elected officials did not really want to pass; the government heard them. Contrary to the current situation with the economic development service of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, the prefect envisages that such a body could now be equipped with a mini-council of administration that would allow it to regain some of the autonomy of the CLDs.

The government's contribution will be "$100,000 per MRC for the remainder of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, then $200,000 for each of the following four years". But the terms and conditions of the program, as well as those for the allocation of the grant, have yet to be specified, regrets Mr. Genest, who is caught up in juggling hypotheses for the hiring of the required personnel and the budget.

Here, therefore, the small entrepreneur would be served and supported locally, through a single window, while benefiting from a standardized service profile. Let's hope that this time the new version of the one-stop shop will be successful.

We can only welcome the decentralization of powers in favor of an intermediary body, such as the MRC, which is taking on more and more importance in the administration and development of the regions. Doesn't it seem ideal to see such a level, including mayors, serving as an intermediary between the government and the citizen? Is it more promising than when the Conseils régionaux de développement (CRDs) or even the CLDs played in part this role in regional development?

However, by taking on more responsibilities, the MRC increases its accountability. Decentralization also allows for a balance of power between the central government and local authorities, but it also has the potential for conflict between the views of the latter and those of the government.

By Carl Chapdelaine

News (Archives 2014)            
News (Archives 2015)

City or lake?

If a Montrealer decides one day to nest in a village or on the shores of a lake in the Laurentians or Eastern Townships as a vacationer, does he expect to discover much more than a country property, a return to nature or a body of water that he intends to enjoy? If this environment was unknown to him, except through rare visits or childhood memories with relatives, he may in fact discover a second universe, quite different from the one he knows in the city.

In the city, if he is a homeowner, he may be hanging out with his immediate neighbors; no more than that. If he lives in a neighbourhood of more or less recent apartment buildings, the mobility of its inhabitants will not have allowed him to offer him a sense of belonging to any community. They have little involvement in the socio-political-economic life of their neighbourhood. They know their city councillor, at best, only by name; and they don't care.

His neighborhood at the lake, local habits or other aspects of daily life, could lead him to rediscover what must have existed before the great urbanization that changed our mores. Lake shores being rarer, the proximity of properties is becoming more and more obligatory. Unless, in spite of everything, he has found a way to settle in an immense domain that he jealously wants to keep private, he is no longer the anonymous neighbor, differentiated only by his language, his surname, his religion, his skin color or his clothing.

His new environment already includes a community, which he will seek to join, to identify himself with. There are also, for him, some new rules to follow, which may differ from those he has learned. His integration will vary according to the quality of the relationships he establishes with his neighbors.

Whereas he was used to being self-sufficient, without his entourage having anything to do with any aspect of his life, his happiness here will depend on the success of his relationships. He will no longer have to take the car or the subway to greet his new friends. He will be able to defend their common interests in their environment, share their demands and work within volunteer organizations. Potlucks, regattas or other community gatherings, often born of local initiatives, will be new experiences for him. By comparing what he finds in his new environment to that of his home, both in his social and physical environment, he may even believe he is living a double life and come to appreciate each other.

One day, he will think of himself as a local; he may know the names of most of the families who live on the same lake; he will know where they live; and it will be reciprocal. He may even become a prominent figure there, rather than remaining an anonymous person in the crowd. If his home is year-round and easily accessible, or if he is thinking of transforming his cottage in this way, if he has learned to do without some of the services he has been accustomed to in the city, he may even choose to live there full-time. But, if he is disappointed, if he is not happy with it, if he feels that it is not suitable for him, he might, on the contrary, one day put up the sign and return to his home...
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

By Carl Chapdelaine


Last night, a report on the TVA network's news program J.E., dealt with the confrontation between hunters and Algonquins on the La Vérendrye reserve, north of Mont-Laurier. TVA-Nouvelles reminds that "the Algonquins are calling for a five-year moratorium on the hunting of moose to protect this species," they say. And that: "For his part, the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks refuses to declare this moratorium. Pierre Dufour says that a recent inventory of moose in the wildlife reserve reveals that the herd is not in danger, that it may be under pressure, but we must be careful."

And now the Algonquins of the Barrière Lake reserve have decided, in a way, to impose this moratorium. They have erected barricades and demolished by tractor many culverts on the hunters' roads leading to the outfitters who welcome them. Aboriginal people threaten hunters and even seek to confiscate their catches.

As a result, hunters and outfitters, who say they are not to blame, pay a heavy price for the conflict. Outfitter owners are in desperation, much like the owners of businesses closed due to the Covid-19 crisis. An injunction issued by a ZEC is not respected by the Aboriginal people, but the SQ does not intervene.

"For his part, Chief Casey Ratt of the Lac Barriere reserve told J.E. that it is the right of the First Nations to protect their territories and the animals on them. ... We're going to go all the way. They may send us to jail. We are never consulted on what happens on our territory..." (as on the construction of these roads).

This episode reminds us all too well of the spring confrontation with the Mohawks in support of the Native people of British Columbia, which resulted in the blockade of rail traffic across the country. And always with their Warriors flag flying in the background.

But when we talk about reconciliation; when we imagine that the Algonquins in the Pays-d'en-Haut are recognized as the ancestors of our heritage; when the Algonquin Grand Chief Ranquin preaches friendship, how can we find our way? Where is the reason? Where is the law? Where is justice? Where is reconciliation? Doesn't it seem that the actions of these Aboriginal people, or the inaction of our representatives, feed prejudices and widen the gap between our peoples? The very notion of racism has just divided Prime-Minister and Premier as well as whole Quebec into two camps: those who say it is systemic and those who take offence at the choice of this term.

Pow-wow dances and other activities provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to come together and fraternize. These Pow-wows now attract non-natives, who revel in their dances, the colourful clothing, the feather bustle and the drumming, and believe in a rapprochement. If our traditional dances were not folklore, wouldn't it be a good idea for the natives to associate us with their Pow-wow?
In these times of pandemic, can we not cruelly feel the importance of such fraternization events; of the value of potlucks; of community afternoon gatherings; of corn roast, etc.?

The distance between ethnic groups, between Anglophones and Francophones, between Reds, Blues and Greens, between motorboats proponents and opponents on the lakes is always present; and the offer of such events can only tend to reduce it.

2021 will probably pit the candidates and voters of Wentworth-Nord against each other like many others in Quebec. Lowering the opponent's platform, or even lowering it itself, will unfortunately be one of the weapons used. Wouldn't it be more comforting to imagine that everyone would commit to represent all their citizens the day after the election and incorporate the good plans of their opponents into their own? Building on the past, rather than just flattening it? Perhaps, in the Macron style, trying to incorporate opponents into one's own team? To the councillors, to promise to institutionalize or support community events for all in their district?                                                                     

By Carl Chapdelaine

J.E sur les barricades au par de la Vérendrye

Coalition Navigation's 2020 AGM

https://coalitionnavigation.ca/fr/   https://www.facebook.com/coalitionnavigation

Last Monday, we received an email invitation to participate, via videoconference, in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Coalition for responsible and sustainable Navigation. Miraculously, our name had remained on the mailing list of this organization, even after its discrediting by the new administration of the Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association in 2015. Indeed, the day after the 2015 ALSFX ‘s AGM, which ensured the takeover of the Association by a well-organized group of new members, a part of the Executive asked us to delete all references to the Navigation Coalition from the ALSFX website, which we were in charge of. 

We were certainly not going to be complicit in such a directive, as in some others, in total opposition to the very principles of the Association dedicated to the protection of the Lake's environment. One of the consequences of this reversal of the ALSFX was in fact its opposition to the control of navigation on the Lake, as the former administrations had obtained after a decade of representations to the federal government. It still manifests itself, in particular through the refusal to place navigation buoys 30 meters from the shore. By putting forward various far-fetched arguments, the Executive in power has been able to count, year after year, on the complicity of the municipal administration to maintain this aberration.

Founded in 2014, the Coalition hoped to see the creation at the federal level of "a new legislative framework (that) would base restrictions on navigation on a scientific assessment of the environmental capacity of the aquatic environment to support 1) motorized watercraft on Canada's lakes and rivers and 2) oil tankers on Canada's coasts".  But in order to do this, "the Coalition (had to) first make every effort to reach out to communities across Canada and form the right mix of expertise on legislation and the environmental impact of navigation".  So where was the Coalition in its efforts?

We don't believe that the organization's visibility has increased, nor is its pan-Canadian aspect reflected in the composition of its Board of Directors or the location of its activities. Mr. Daniel Piché, of the Association pour la protection de l'environnement du lac des Sables (APELS), in Sainte-Agathe, a partner from the very beginning of Mr. Will Dubitsky, its founding president, has now taken the helm. We report on their meeting with the ALSFX Executive in April 2014. News (Archives 2014)  Mrs. Denise Cloutier is the Vice-President. She and her spouse, Mr. André Philippe Hébert, a member of the Board of Directors, are well known in the community of Wentworth-Nord; they are currently directors of the Environment Committee of the Association Lac Laurel.

There were approximately 20 participants in this videoconference, while the Coalition had 46 contributing members. However, many of these individuals represented lake associations and other groups. The proceedings of the meeting would be recorded. The agenda indicated that Mrs. Cloutier would be responsible for presenting the current projects of the Association. The big issue was the NAVIA project, which was born this very year.

The presentation of the Statement of Operations would indicate that the revenues for 2019 were mainly from grants, $8,000 of the $9,500. Dues had contributed $1,000. But the 2020 budget announced $215,000 in government participation in Coalition projects. This must be the grant for the NAVIA project.  One detail, the boat was for sale, we understood. It was to be used to patrol the lakes, to raise awareness among boaters, mainly for the same NAVIA project. However, it had proven to be of little use; the latter being more easily accessible in marinas and at boat ramps, according to Mr. Hébert (?).

A highlight in terms of finances and membership in the organization was the President's announcement of a proposal to make membership free in the future. You would even become a life member unless you give it up. As compensation, members would be asked to respond to a fundraising event. It was adopted. (We had just proposed to Équiterre, which was asking for our membership renewal, to make membership free. The campaigns of this group are usually aimed at gathering the largest number of signatures on petitions, hence the interest of such a formula. But the response was that the government perceived membership conditional to fee to be more serious).

The presentation of NAVIA (by Mrs. Cloutier?) was discussed at greater length. In early August 2020, Quebec's Minister of the Environment, Mr. Benoît Charrette, hosted the launch of the project. The members and partners of the Coalition for Responsible and Sustainable Navigation are proud to announce the beginning of the project "Naviguer sur la Vie Aquatique (NAVIA) – Mesurer, Comprendre et Agir pour la protéger ", in collaboration with the Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (INRS). The objective of this project is to raise awareness among recreational boaters on the use of the "right boat in the right place". ... It is funded in the amount of $214,978 by the Quebec government's Affluents Maritimes Program, which is managed by the Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants du Québec (ROBVQ)] quebecyachting .

We see a threefold goal for the project: knowledge acquisition, mobilization of partners and, above all, awareness of recreational boaters. To successfully achieve these goals, the Coalition and INRS have developed two components: 1. to create tools to raise awareness and measure the responsiveness of recreational boaters; 2. Under the leadership of INRS: "Better understand the effects of bailing on shorelines - Characterize the hydro-sedimentary footprint of different boats".

The Deux-Montagnes - Rivière-des-Mille-Îles axis was the water body chosen to carry out the project. An opinion pool was part of the tools used and 800 people were met. A question was asked about measures to prevent the introduction or spread of invasive species in the lakes by launching boats. The need to drain engine ballast was hardly mentioned in the responses. As far as we know, there is no greater mention of this at Lake Saint-François-Xavier, nor is this operation carried out at the Montfort Pavilion wash station.

The question period would bring this subject back to the forefront. Launching points in the lakes were the only places where one could exercise some control over the boats. Once in the water, they fell under federal jurisdiction. As a result, many municipalities took advantage of these launching points to impose various easements on boaters. Increased fees could discourage non-residents from accessing the lakes. The greater the number of accesses, the more control was lost.

Under the responsibility of Ms. Pascale Boulanger, a Web campaign accompanied the awareness operation. She represented the results on a thematic map of the area under study. The lessons learned were interesting.

Regarding hydro-sedimentation, Ms. Sonja Behmel, limnologist and member of the Coalition's Board of Directors, reminded the audience that gas-powered boats were banned on several lakes, but that electric motors could now reach the power of the former and cause the same effects, with less noise. She noted that with the Covid-19, there has been an increase in boat sales. She did not see how, for lack of means, we would succeed in protecting our waterways with the spiral of frequentation that we were witnessing.

Mrs. Cloutier spoke about Ottawa's plan to create a Canada Water Agency to strengthen the protection of Canada's freshwater resources and promote collaboration between different levels of government. (Would it also serve to coordinate the actions of the various federal departments involved?) Quebec, on the other hand, had opposed the creation of such an agency, claiming that water management is a constitutional jurisdiction of Quebec. 

freshwateralliance.ca       water.usask.ca        newswire.ca      Coalition: Où en sommes-nous ??

Translated with DeepL and Linguee. 

Until publication of the minutes by the Coalition; by Carl Chapdelaine.

The post-Covid-19

No sooner had the protective measures against the pandemic and containment been decreed, we were already seeing the harmful consequences on multiple facets of our lives, and in particular on large parts of our economy. Like us, our economy was also being confined; among other things, the virus was hindering the accelerated globalization of trade. Masks and other protective gear from abroad could not reach us. The same was true for some of our everyday consumer products, including some of our food.

Premier Legault called for local purchasing, probably to support our businesses affected by the crisis and to encourage greater self-sufficiency in the longer term. At the same time, the government was funding the Panier bleu NPO initiative to provide local entrepreneurs with a platform and tools to help them in their digital transformation. It would also allow consumers to "discover businesses by keyword, category or location". The MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut followed up with its local online shopping tool, where we could find the business nearby that could meet our consumption needs while respecting the recommended confinement.

But where are we with this campaign and these tools? With, closer to us, the farmers' market, the Christmas market or other? We often hear that many Quebecers have answered the call; that more and more of our greenhouse tomatoes are being eaten, even though they are more expensive and most often run on gas or oil and thanks to labour from Guatemala or Mexico. Will or necessity caused by containment?

On the new program "Zone économie" on RDI, the two entrepreneurs invited to comment on these initiatives concluded that a promotional message had been launched rather than a real change in consumer purchasing habits. The desire to encourage local purchasing to favor our entrepreneurs and protect the environment could not prevail over the law of the lowest price. Rather, as economists have always advocated, it was necessary to help local entrepreneurs get ahead of the competition and modernize their production and marketing techniques.

In fact, everyone will have seen that the pandemic has favored the Amazon, Wayfair and others. And of the local businesses, restaurants, hairdressers, etc., posted on the MRC site, how many are still answering the call; how many are still alive? And if the tool is not satisfactory; if it is not carefully maintained; if participants do not participate; is there not a risk that it will become obsolete? And yet, don't the older among us miss the Yellow Pages?

Wentworth-Nord's lakes, particularly those in the eastern part of the municipality, have attracted more vacationers than permanent residents. Coming from Montreal, with most of their consumer goods already in their car, they only have potential stops in Saint-Sauveur and Morin-Heights. One or the other of the two gas stations at the latter location is probably their only stop. And while some may have developed the habit of visiting shopping malls, supermarkets, boutiques or the SAQ in Saint-Sauveur, the government's exhortation to avoid as much as possible any stops between the city and their country homes because of the pandemic, coupled with the setting up of roadblocks and the very legitimate fears expressed by residents, must have killed the movement.

How, assuming that a vaccine will soon be developed, can we reintroduce this already uncertain clientele? Shouldn't an awareness campaign be planned for tomorrow that is aimed directly at vacationers, perhaps by means of leaflets or posters in the businesses they used to frequent? Let them see that they can find much more locally than they can imagine, and at a low cost? As long as this is the case...

                                                                                                              By Par Carl Chapdelaine

The attractiveness of the region

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Quebec, we were already learning that the inhabitants of metropolitan concentrations were seeking to move away from the city in abnormally large numbers. At the same time, telework was becoming a substitute for office use. Towers and downtown areas themselves were being emptied. Lunch in restaurants and business dinners were over, with the fatal consequence for many restaurateurs. Online sales and all internet trading would jump; while greenhouse gases would be drastically reduced in the major centres. Confinement rules would finally imprison the population at home, while access to the regions would be restricted to authorised categories of people only.

At the same time, a large part of the labour force and contractors were forced to leave their jobs, with a significant reduction or loss of income. The entire economy was slowing down. The real estate market was not doing much better; although the opportunity to take advantage of it could not have come at a better time for those whose purchasing power had not been affected in any way and who wanted to leave the city.

The family home, the apartment, the condo had become, for many, as many prisons from which they dreamed of escaping one day. The money accumulated for travel projects became available for, perhaps, the rental or purchase of a cottage in the country, or even an incentive to trade the urban home for the lakefront home. "In Toronto, the demand for cottages north of the Queen City is exploding."  La Voix de l'Est  Here, bookings for the fall season are already breaking records.

The time for deconfinement would come; strengthen by the start of the summer season. The lifting of the barriers and the heat wave would soon push Montrealers to head north, if they were free to do so; to seek out this landscape of hills dotted with lakes. Then ca me the construction holidays. Newspapers now reported that the tourist regions of Quebec, including the Laurentians, deserted by foreign tourists, were seeing too many visitors from our big cities, some of them undisciplined. We even had to consider, among other things, closing the beaches or reserving them for residents.

Official statistics on the trends of these movements are still too scarce to give a precise picture. Real estate statistics clearly indicate that the market tightened at the height of the crisis, especially in the metropolis; then, brokers working in the Laurentians would note that well-located properties would nevertheless sell quickly. In a bidding war, offers to purchase could easily exceed the asking price.  There would, for example, be a post-confinement craze for real estate in Mont-Tremblant, according to Pascale Janson, broker.  Tremblant Express  "In the Laurentians, Estrie and Lanaudière, the number of sales of waterfront residences has climbed by 16% in the last three months (April, May and June) even though the market has been paralyzed for several weeks; ... while the median price of these waterfront residences has increased by 7%," notes Stéphanie Grammond of La Presse. La Presse  But the opposite combination of the impact of the still-present economic downturn engendered by the pandemic on this market, and the increased attractiveness of properties outside major urban centres, complicates the interpretation of the data.

According to Centris.ca, agencies recorded 20 sales in Wentworth-Nord in the second quarter of 2020, while listings, i.e. homes for sale, were 37, down 32% compared to the same quarter a year earlier. This was a 23% decrease in listings for the last four quarters compared to the previous four quarters. The median sale price during these four quarters was $197,500, while properties sold in 149 days, on average, an increase of 32 days. Centris.ca  

However, based on what is happening elsewhere, the month of July will have marked the beginning of a catch-up in the real estate market affected by the measures against the pandemic. The 2021 Census of Canada, with its Community Profiles, combined with other statistics, will undoubtedly help to flesh out the presentation of the situation. However, the trends will already be confirmed before they are published.

Deconfining, getting away from the city, working from home and getting away from the daily traffic, enjoying nature, redirecting your travel budget; how much of this will survive the discovery of a Covid vaccine? Observers from here and elsewhere are quick to conclude that this desire to leave the city for the countryside, like the desire to move to the suburbs in the past, is here to stay; and so is the desire to work from home. The new attractiveness of the regions could become a reality, provided, according to Bernard Vachon, a specialist in spatial planning and development, that "municipalities (can) meet the needs and expectations of SMEs and teleworkers and their families looking for a place to settle" La Voix de l'Est  

With proper planning, the regions can be promised a bright future. And municipalities could see the raise in property values increase their property revenues. Will decision-makers in Wentworth-Nord be able to take advantage of this trend?
On this last point, it must be clearly understood that the land development specialist or consulting firm cannot alone, using their models and knowledge, draw up the development plan for a region or municipality. As with the development of a lake protection plan, they need knowledge of the local driving forces. We can therefore believe that, in the absence of an economic commissioner's office, the formation of a municipal advisory committee fed by the people involved in economic action, those who live the situation on a day-to-day basis, is a valuable asset in the determination of this appropriate policy.  

By Carl Chapdelaine

incentive parking

Request for support from CRE Laurentides (Send the attached e-mail)

Regional incentive parking network

In a region like the Laurentians, it is important to provide citizens with a variety of options, as well as parking lots ... to facilitate access to public transit and encourage carpooling.

The project consists of creating a regional network of incentive parking lots ... linked to bus or taxibus stops and facilitating carpooling ...
... A website or application will be created to allow the population of the Laurentians, as well as those in transit, to see where the parking lot closest to their destination is located, as well as the options available at the bus exit.

The project will be carried out over three years and CRE Laurentides will work in partnership with the community...

Origin of the project :
The CRE Laurentides conducted the first phase of the Integrated Mobility of People project in 2019-2020. This enabled it to conduct a complete analysis of active transportation ... and public transit throughout the Laurentians. ...
The second phase of the project is now beginning with the implementation of a concrete project that meets the population's needs in terms of sustainable mobility.

Excerpts from the Summary of the CRE-Laurentides project proposed by :
Anne-Sophie Monat
Chargée de projet Mobilité intégrée des personnes
517 rue Saint-Georges, Saint-Jérôme, J7Z 5B6
Téléphone : 450.565.2987 poste 31


SUBJECT: Support for the Integrated Mobility of People in the Laurentians Project
Ma'am, sir,
I hereby wish to inform you of my support for the project of a multimodal incentive parking network, accessible on foot and by bicycle, in which carpooling and alternatives to the solo car will be put forward, and for which the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE Laurentides) is submitting a request for funding. This is an important project for the region's citizens and their mobility.

Yours sincerely,
Name, City of residence
Note: To be sent by email to Ms. Anne-Sophie Monat : mailto: a.s.monat@crelaurentides.org
(Translated with DeepL.)

By Carl Chapdelaine

The resort and Covid-19

Interesting news on Radio-Canada this morning: Montrealers, for too long confined to their downtown condo or otherwise and possibly fearing a second wave of Covid-19, have decided to trade their property in the metropolis for one in the Laurentians. The journalist obtained confirmation of this from real estate agents who noted an additional growth in the demand for primary or secondary residences in the Laurentians; in the midst of a real estate slowdown and at a time when the economy is in crisis due to the pandemic.

Villages such as Saint-Sauveur or Sainte-Adèle are targeted, but the presence of a lake offers an additional attraction. This phenomenon seems to confirm our hypothesis that one of the sure paths of development for Wentworth-Nord, among other municipalities, is indeed that of vacationing, and even of increasing permanent residence.

The appeal of nature was already being invoked; now we have to add to this the fear of a new pandemic, the consequent confinement and the sudden development of telework. The latter would in fact make it possible to move away from the traditional place of employment offered by the metropolis and, among other things, its office towers. The improvement of the Internet advocated by many in our municipality seems to be part of the investment necessary to the full realization of this development.

Cottaging In Wentworth-Nord And The Pays-D’en-Haut
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Wildlife corridors

For some years now, we have been hearing about ecological corridors, wildlife, or other names. The most recent solicitation campaign from the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) has us imagine a little known animal in Quebec whose survival would be threatened by the encroachment of our habitat on the forest territory. Three little lynxes move around their lying down mother; trying unnecessarily to wake her up. The loss of its hunting grounds, blocked-off by new roads, constructions, fences and human activity, will have reduced it to famine.

NCC says it is working with its partners to protect wildlife corridors in Quebec and across Canada. This work has focused on raising the awareness of landowners or communities surrounding these corridors, as well as land acquisition to create or conserve them. According to their observations, "... the creation and maintenance of wildlife corridors ... allow the lynx (and other species, such as the black bear) to move between its different hunting and breeding territories. These corridors are also essential for genetic diversity and the maintenance of healthy populations."*

Closing off wildlife habitat to open up our own? Road construction is a major source of habitat fragmentation. For example, the Lac-Thurson Road cut in two a natural area almost as large as Lake St. Francois-Xavier. It has ostensibly already locked in wildlife on half of it. The same will happen in the other part if there eventually is a municipal undertaking and a standardization of the road that connects the first one to the dwellings of Lake Notre-Dame.  Have we measured the impact on wildlife of such infrastructure?

This barrier will reverse the beaver's attempts to regain control of Lake Thurson; as well as those of the coyote or the fox to come and hunt it there. If it manages to cross it, the deer could use it as a bulwark against the wolf; while residents will also have less to fear from the bear's visits. Of course, the forest area is still almost infinite in the country. Wildlife still has something to live on; especially in Wentworth-Nord. But aren’t we gobbling up it systematically and at a worrying rate? 

Perhaps ignored in the establishment of the Quebec Planning and Development Act, twenty years ago, the recognition of this wildlife connectivity began to appear in municipal urban plans. Protocols for the identification of such corridors or places of passage have even been developed; as for the Appalachian Corridor, due to Highway 10. There are also several examples today of road corridors, tunnels under highways that allow animals to cross. This connectivity also seems to play a role in the migration of species from further south, or for our fauna migrating north, due to global warming.

The Quebec Wildlife Foundation has just approved "the completion of ten projects to promote habitat connectivity in the five areas targeted by the project Ecological Corridors: a strategy for adapting to climate change 2017-2020, for a total budget of $382,500". "This connectivity helps to counteract the harmful effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife."

The 10 projects:

  1. Fondation de la faune du Québec : Communiqué
  2. Les 10 projets

  Two projects specifically concern the Laurentians and the Outaouais, by subsidizing:

  • For the Oka – Tremblant connectivity zone, the organization Éco-Corridors Laurentiens; with its project: Ecological corridors: A strategy for adapting to climate change.
  • For the Plaisance – Tremblant connectivity zone, Nature Conservancy Canada; with its project: Maintaining ecological corridors – Plaisance-Tremblant.A little like the work of an organization such as Plein Air Sainte-Adèle (PASA) in the conservation or even restoration of cross-country ski trails or otherwise, we will try to "identify the critical areas to connectivity, by soliciting forest owners, training and supporting municipalities and conservation organizations in these areas."

Other sources:
-       Wildlife corridors vs climate change CBC
-       Corridors in conservation
-       NCC
-       Staying Connected
-       Éco-corridors laurentiens

**(From a CEO’s letter : «Allons-nous abandonner le lynx du Canada?»)

                                                                                              By Carl Chapdelaine

With Google Translate and Linguee

Beyond the mirror (3)

The Municipality of Wentworth-Nord invited Mr. J.-L. Courteau, from the Centre d’interprétation des eaux Laurentiennes (CIEL), to present his discoveries at the bottom of our lakes, particularly at Sixteen-Island Lake. On this Saturday evening in early October, a dozen residents, with a good delegation from Lake St. Francois-Xavier, would share for three hours the passion of this diver.

From the outset, Mr. Courteau states that he is neither geologist, archaeologist nor other scientist; but that he would like to be described as "explorer". His presentation takes shape on screen, using different shots and photos captured under the surface and at the bottom of lakes.

Contrary perhaps to what we had already seen, the geological formations, various rocks, caves, etc., which he has been able to explore seem to us to be in the foreground; but without forgetting the fauna and the aquatic flora, nor the discovery of objects strewing the inhabited banks. The audience is fascinated by the richness of what they discover in the depths of Sixteen Islands Lake, with Mr. Courteau's explanations.

Indeed, it is a whole world that our explorer presents us. Like those microorganisms that cling to rocks to form a biofilm; in the company of tiny beings, like the Hydras with their tentacles and the paralyzing venom they inject to their prey. He makes the link with bacteria, actually cyanobacteria, which already inhabited the oceans since the dawn of time, and which, by the hydrolysis of water, released oxygen. They would have allowed, from new bacteria capable of breathing oxygen, life as we know it on our planet.  Futura-sciences 

In the same way, in front of the photographs of rocks folded in all the ways, he explains to us that they were originally amalgamated with marble, dissolved until disappearing with the time; to often leave only quartzite. So there was limestone at a moment in the formation of rocks that we now see in this lake; as one finds in the bottom of the seas. And how can this be explained in a lake that, like all of our Laurentians lakes, is said to be of glacial origin? Mr. Courteau also snatches many samples that he sends to a geologist from the University of Ottawa who is interested in his discoveries.

Then, our explorer does not forget to list the main fish he encounters, including the bass that seem to take a close interest in his underwater excursions. There are also pikes, rather shy, bullhead, walleye and gray trout, or lake trout. He reminds us of his discovery of trout of about thirty centimeters which he sees as dancing vertically in a cave; unheard of for the experts! An unknown bridal dance?
But there is also Eurasian watermilfoil; a terrible invader. It produces ammonia that can eventually kill life in a lake. And these stretches of microscopic algae that can be seen as slicks on the surface of this lake! Man's practices, with an overload of phosphorus, must explain this proliferation, he concludes.

We must not forget the essential: the discovery of this Huron vase that was dated of 500 years; the only one ever found intact. Then a second vase, Iroquoian; that one in two pieces; which was 700 years old and must have contained sagamy. And the entire canoe discovered in the Outaouais; and which one would even know the owner (a certain Samanga?).

Other anecdotes also compliment Mr. Courteau's speech: the satchel of Nicole Deschamps that was found, lost in the water 30 years earlier. The ring, given to the one who had lost it with her purse. And the mistake concerning the precious box collected near the shore ... at Lake St. Francois-Xavier; and which turned out to be the funeral urn of Mrs. Lucie Beaulieu!

Then he recounts the discovery and history of the 1929 Studebaker, with skis on the front and chains in the back and rolling on the Lake ice before sinking into it. It preceded a team of lumberjacks returning home on horse-drawn sleighs on Christmas Eve. Hitch with his load of wood found at the bottom of the Lake. Only photos and some relics could however be retrieved from these events.

He reminds us of the landslide at Lake des Seize Îles; recent event, which resulted in houses and others in the lake; while causing a small tsunami to the neighboring shores.

The diver also shows us pictures of the beautiful dishes and glass bottles, some of which have curious shapes and mysterious uses.
He teaches us that the wood that has spent a hundred years in the water takes some patina (?) which sometimes makes it a valuable commodity for connoisseurs.

He concludes his presentation by showing an ode to lakes full of mysteries, which boasts the richness while highlighting the fragility.

Mr. Courteau will answer questions from an enthusiastic audience.

Someone asks him if he has plunged into Lake St. Francois-Xavier. He answers that yes; but that the water is black. There is a thick layer of sediment at the bottom; he indicates a dozen centimeters with his thumb and forefinger. It would prevent locating artifacts or other small objects. However, we have already found arrowheads around this lake, he says.

With Google Translate and Linguee

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Behind underwater filming

The presentation of Mr. Richard Lahaie, a professional diver and a well-known Quebec director on TV (Passe Partout, Watatatow, Le monde de Charlotte, etc.), took place in the context of the 2019 edition of the Journées Arts et Culture de Lac-des-Seize-Îles.  Mr. Jean-Louis Courteau, from the Centre d’interprétation des eaux laurentiennes (CIEL), in Lac-des-Seize-Îles, co-hosted this presentation.

A few years ago, Mr. Lahaie was approached by Mr. Courteau who was looking for a professional to make the film of the withdrawal of the now famous Iroquoian vase. He had discovered this artifact near Cook Island, during one of his dives at the Sixteen Islands Lake.

Mr. Lahaie first speaks, visual presentation in support, of the wonders he has observed during his many dives in Quebec, in the St. Lawrence River, as well as in various places on the planet. He relates, among other things, the richness of the seabed at Les Escoumins as well as at Lake Ontario, his encounter with giant tortoises, sea lions in Alaska, etc.  Biodiversity is high, he tells us, along the Alaskan coast, where the abundance of marine plants, plankton and other prey causes representatives of various marine species to take larger dimensions than elsewhere. Later in the presentation, the divers will tell us about their encounters with the bass, who accompany them. These very territorial fish, respect a hierarchy of power, which one of the leaders, now familiar to our friends, seemed to indicate that they were on its territory and it was time for them to clear.

Mr. Lahaie tells us about the necessary training of the professional diver and introduces us the equipment he uses for submarine shooting. Thus, the imposing isothermal wetsuit of the diver wraps him hermetically, protecting him from the contact of the skin with the cold water. He tells us that the temperature at the bottom of a lake can vary enormously from that near its surface. If the latter is around 20 degrees Celsius, it can go down to 4 ° or 5 ° at the bottom of a deep lake. The Sixteen Islands Lake pit is 250 feet deep will indicate Mr. Courteau.

The diver must have on his back two heavy cylinders of compressed air, as a safety measure already. While passing from one tank to another when diving, he sometimes swallows a sip of water; as it can happen to us swimming.  However, analyzed under the microscope, it is indeed a soup based on multiple microorganisms; which feeds a part of the marine fauna itself forming a link in the food chain ...

Among the four videos made for CIEL, Mr. Lahaie introduces us into the one entitled "Plonger dans l’histoire". It relates the discovery of the Huron vase and the Iroquoian. One of the speakers reminds us that, when finding such an artefact here, it must be handed over to the Conservation Center of the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications. The film tells the discovery of a vase half buried in the mud, the sharp reaction of the archaeologist, Roland Tremblay, who immediately identifies there an Iroquoian vase, artefact of great value, and the probable explanation of its presence at the Sixteen Islands Lake. The Algonquin, here Weskarinis, did not make such vases and the most likely is that it was obtained, further south, during exchanges between indigenous groups. The presence of carbon on its surface suggests that it could have burst into two pieces when used on a fire, with its likely sagamité content. Then the pieces would have been thrown into the water; practice that the European has perpetuated at the lake.

The exceptional little museum set up by Mr. Courteau, at the top of the town hall, at the Marcel-Tassé Center, can only keep reproductions of the two vases he found. The original Huron vase is currently on display at the Canadian Museum of History, a new name for the Canadian Museum of Civilization since 2013 in Gatineau.

We had learned, in a presentation from Mr. Courteau in mid-March of this year, to the SHGPH, that these vases had been found near Cook Island, in the Sixteen Islands Lake, and that Mr. Courteau had obtained from archaeologists of his knowledge that an archaeological dig is carried out on the island this summer. On the other side of the mirror (1) This event would have occurred last week; but unfortunately it would not have brought the much-anticipated discovery of artifacts. Mr. Courteau hopes that future excavations, which he will have to seek to promote, will finally lead to discoveries that will bring the spotlight and the attention of governments to research related to the prehistory of our continent, here in the Laurentians. His interest in working for such a cause and garnering as many talented initiatives, while surrounded by an advisory committee of professionals, seems to us most meritorious and most judicious.

Mr. Lahaie will tell us that the oldest artefact found in Quebec, at Lac-Mégantic, dates back 6,000 years; that ceramic manufacturing by First Nations dates back 2,000 years. Mr. Courteau recounts the discovery of a 3000-year-old stone ax in Nominingue. According to Mr. Lahaie, there would have been 20 million native people at the arrival of white people on the continent; while their population was subsequently decimated by diseases introduced by them, wars or whatever. He reminds us that: "At the time of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain and the establishment of the city of Quebec in 1608, there was no trace of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians met by Jacques Cartier some 75 years before." https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroquoiens_du_Saint-Laurent

The professional diver confesses that he learned from Mr. Courteau the true way to dive in a lake. Underwater, the masters of the CIEL know how to observe; as would Dr. R. Carignan. Have you heard of the periphyton that covers the submerged stones at the edge of a lake? But perhaps not of biofilm that would have marveled Mr. Courteau. It is a living layer, consisting mainly of microorganisms or small beings, including the hydra, which, with their tentacles, measure only a few millimeters and which, like jellyfish of the same family, can inject a venom when their prey come in contact with them; to paralyze and devour them alive.

Among the scenes of the videos filmed under the surface of the Sixteen-Islands Lake, there is that on the Studebaker which drove lumberjacks on the ice of the Lake on the eve of Christmas and which sank without one can hold it back. Last May, it was a horse team that probably suffered the same fate that was discovered. Also, a whole load of logs still sleeps on the bottom.  There are fields of empty bottles in the Lake; like an entire wall in the CIEL museum. And these bottles, like other objects or artifacts, often give us a part of their story.

Geology influences this story. If there has been a recent landslide in the lake, it is because the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered most of Canada with its thick ice cap, has left loose glacial deposits of which sand and gravel have finally dissolved. The Kelly shoal, which serves as trout spawning grounds, is also thought to be the result of a pile of such sediments deposited in a depression on the surface of a glacier and forming a hill, a kame, once the ice melted. And while the melting of this ice sheet left the last marks of its presence in the landscape, it also caused a significant rise in the water level that created the Champlain Sea. This sea licked to the lowest valleys of our Laurentians.

Moreover, the discovery of geological formations of the oldest in the Lake, by Mr. Courteau and his diving buddies, in the form of curiously wrinkled stones, arouse interest and even new theories on the origin of the Lake.

From the clay harvested in the lake, a CIEL project for 2019 is to ask professionals to recreate a vase like those found near Cook Island. Finally, we also imagined this year a video from an "Endless Tale" around the discovery of the Huron vase. What will this vase be for, and what will happen to it? It is the children who will give the following. You will find the videos produced on the CIEL website.
With Google Translate and Linguee


By Carl Chapdelaine

Ottawa River Flood

Flood is defined when the height and flow of a watercourse exceed its range of normal values; we hear then that the river overflows its banks. As we can see almost every spring, floods can result from a combination of hydrological and meteorological factors, some of which are familiar to you. These factors include the size of the watershed, the topography and the slope of the watercourse, the permeability of the ground, the snow or ice cover and its melting as a function of the more or less rapid rise in the temperature, the importance and the violence of the precipitations.

The strongest floods will therefore occur here in the spring, when the negative effects of these factors will culminate together. When snow melts, for example, the frozen ground of the Laurentians is impermeable; so that meltwater or rain quickly reaches the streams. The slope of the rivers is important, going from the hills of the Canadian Shield to the Laurentian plain; and they have a long journey. In addition, under our climate, violence and the importance of rainfall are often unpredictable.

The development of reservoirs, the construction of dams and dikes, of a human nature or resulting from the presence or reintroduction of beaver in the watershed, as well as the existence of flood expansion areas, essentially natural depressions or artificial (retention basin*) of the ground that allow the water out of the bed of the stream to spread, provide some control of floods.

The watersheds, like the streams which furrow them, form a hierarchy. Some small basins, upstream of another, are part of the large watershed of the latter. With 1,271 km, the Ottawa River, which is the natural border between Quebec and Ontario on most of its route to LakeTimiskaming, is the longest river in Quebec Wikipedia. Its watershed, which includes all those of its tributaries, is even more impressive. "The MRCs of Outaouais and Laurentides are totally (96% in the case of the Laurentides) included in the watershed of the Ottawa River." "(It) has a little over 90,000 lakes ... these lakes are complemented by about 60 reservoirs with an area of more than 300 km2, including the Cabonga, Quinze, Baskatong, Témiscamingue and Dozois reservoirs." The Ottawa River catchment area has more than 100 control dams on its different tributaries.  Bassin versant de la rivière des Outaouais, mddelcc .

It is primarily in working through hydrological data and interventions that punctuate the head watershed, combined with weather forecasts, that the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board derives its predictions on the evolution of the flood when the river opens in the St. Lawrence plain, 300 km below. The Ottawa River Planning Board

In the St. Lawrence Plain, the Great River collects all this hierarchy of watersheds that drain a portion of the Canadian Shield to the confines of the Abitibi. Then are added, among others, those of the Red, de la Petite-Nation, du Lièvre and du Nord Rivers. The most important floods that we know are located in this plain, along the lower parts of the shores of the Ottawa River, to Lake des-Deux-Montagnes and sometimes beyond.

The regularization of the Ottawa River flow, with its tributaries, to avoid flooding is therefore not new. But one can easily imagine the immensity of the task and the work still to be done in the field, as at the meteorological level, to better translate into a forecast model the convergence of variables that will produce the strongest spring floods. At the same time, the establishment and perpetual updating of automated geographic maps of flood zones remains a significant challenge. From 1976 to 2001, a federal-provincial mapping program resulted in the production of 500 official flood risk maps by 20-year and 100-year recurrence floods in the area of approximately 245 municipalities. But are the standards adopted always right in the face of changing circumstances and in the context of climate change?

"In Quebec, the Planning and Development Act provides that regional county municipalities (MRCs) and local municipalities must determine the areas at risk of flooding on their territory. As such, the MRCs and the municipalities must incorporate into their planning documents and planning bylaws flood ratings or maps of flood zones determined by the government. They must also regulate, or even prohibit, constructions, facilities and works in such areas."  Zones inondables, MELCC

Most lakes in our Laurentians probably do not have to undergo the combined threats of so many flood factors. They are affected by more localized natural conditions. Because of its position at the head of its own watershed, Lake Saint-François-Xavier (with its few small tributaries) does not bear the weight of this hierarchy of watersheds that we mentioned above. On the other hand, it contributes to the floods of the Rivière à Simon, of the Rivière du Nord and sometimes, albeit modestly, to the floods suffered in the plains of Montreal!

By Carl Chapdelaine

* One could be figured-out for example, if need be, along the Aerobic Corridor where the old railway running alongside a watercourse and elevated compared to the surrounding ground, created a dike isolating the lowlands. There is an example of such a case, past the northwest entrance of the Orphan Trail; or even that of the small piece of the Lake cut by the Rue du Chemin-de-fer. It would be easy even to temporarily hold there the water of a flood by a valve device.

Google Translate

Ruisseau Jackson Nature Reserve

This new protected area is located in Morin-Heights. The Ruisseau Jackson , on the other hand, originates at Lake Anne, just outside the corner of Wentworth-Nord, which borders Wentworth and Morin-Heights. After feeding Lake Echo, it flows into the Rivière à Simon just east of the intersection of the 364 and the 329 (south). A recognized nature reserve is part of a broader context of a protected area. In Quebec, the latter defines "A territory, in terrestrial or aquatic, geographically defined, whose legal framework and administration are specifically aimed at ensuring the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and associated natural and cultural resources". 
Aires protégées, MELCC.

This project is the result of an agreement between private developers and the Municipality of Morin-Heights to protect part of the Ruisseau Jackson watershed to ensure the quality of the water in the creek and, as a result, of the lakes it feeds, as well as trails and other resources specified in the agreement. Private developers and the Municipality will each find what they are looking for in this "green" dedicated space and where certain activities are now regulated.

A private developer can claim the status of "Nature Reserve in a private environment" of the Government of Quebec so as to remain the owner of the designated lands; which was a prerequisite for this project. The consecration in nature reserve can be perpetual or for a minimum term of 25 years. Tim Watchorn, Mayor of Morin-Heights, says that "the Ruisseau Jackson Nature Reserve is key in a series of connected green spaces that allow the trails and the revenue they bring to the municipality, to be preserved for generations to come".
See the details of the realization of this project: Ruisseau-Jackson Nature Reserve

By Carl Chapdelaine

Beyond the mirror (2)

The presentation of Mr. Jean-Louis Courteau, organized by the Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut (SHGPH), was introduced by that of Mr. Luc Lamond, Mayor of Lac-des-Seize-Îles from 2009 to 2013. Who cannot be more aware of what is the Sixteen Islands Lake or the municipality of the same name, as its former mayor, a magistrate with a very local surname and who fell in love with the history of these two entities? His presentation would take us back to the history of the Lake and the village.

There were not many people at the Sixteen Islands Lake in the 19th century; a few log cabins only on its banks. It was attended only by fishermen and hunters from the Lachute area, or even from Ottawa. Notre histoire  But the Irish, from the Great Famine, had settled at Long Lake, now Lake Laurel, and in which flows the Sixteen Islands Lake. In addition, a couple from Saint-Sauveur, Charles-Adonias Millette and Clémence Moürez, from Besançon, married in 1859 and who had 15 children, had settled in the area (North of Lac Argenté). ["Ambroise Rochon and Émerande Godon (who lived there) ... donate their property, (their lots), buildings, animals and other household effects, to their nephew Charles-Adonias Millette and his wife Clémence Mourez" (Biography provided by Mr. Fernand Janson.)] The road from Laurel to South of the Sixteen Islands Lake is called Millette.

Mr. Joseph C. Rodger, former owner of a sawmill in Roxton Falls, in the Eastern Townships, then living in Lachute, was fishing at the Sixteen Islands Lake. He knew that the "Montfort Colonization Railway Company" planned to extend its colonization railroad from Montfort to Huberdeau, where would be the turntable to turn around, while passing North of the Lake still uninhabited. Become the "Montfort and Gatineau ...", the company even planned to join the Gatineau Valley.* He then settled there, at the head of the lake, with fellow citizens from Lachute and developed his project to build a sawmill.

The train arrived at last in 1895. Narrow gauge railroad, it was going to be converted to standard width in 1897. It would have been otherwise unthinkable to continue to tranship the goods and the wood to Junction Montfort which connected this railroad with that of the Canadian Pacific going to Labelle. (The Junction was at the same time moved from North of Shawbridge to South of St. Jerome.)* In 1901, the Brunet Pavilion served as the first station for the new village.

The sawmill was built with the equipment delivered by the train. It was fed by the stream from Proctor Lake. Like Lake Saint-François-Xavier, wood floating was used in summer; but it was here going upstream. A motor boat had to tow the wood assemblies. In winter, sleds pulled by horses were rather used. Among the cut timber, the fine squared oak was an export material to England; material requisitioned for Her Majesty's fleet. Other hardwoods would be used as firewood for Montrealers.

The village then knew a kind of economic boom. The era was still to colonization; but resort and tourism were also becoming fashionable. The soil was for many of glacial moraine; nothing conducive to agriculture. After logging, there would be nothing left. The carcasses of the squared logs were used for house cladding. Hotels, rooming or boarding houses and various businesses appeared at the beginning of the 20th century.

No more than today was there any road along the lake; the Verchère and the sailboats served as a means of transport to the vacationers who settled on its banks. A social group, called the Sixteen Island Lake Fishing Club, was formed which gained control of the fishery throughout the area. It is this same Club which undertook the legal steps leading to the creation of the Municipality in 1914. The Club still exists today; but, in 1976, Quebec "will announce the end of exclusive hunting and fishing rights leases" (Le Quotidien). There was, continued Mr. Lamond, the erection of a dam, in 1909, at the outlet of the Lake in Long Lake, which raised the level of the water of 18 inches, while ensuring the stability of this level.

By Carl Chapdelaine

*Montfort, First steam train

Beyond the mirror (1)

The presentation by Mr. Jean-Louis Courteau, organized by the Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut (SHGPH), March 9, 2019, would reveal what a devotee of diving can find as objects at the bottom of the lakes of our Laurentians. Searching the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, at the origin, had one day brought this painter, blogger and diver, to look for a wreck in the St. Lawrence River, specifically at Lake St. Louis, the SS Cécilia L. (It was a commercial steamship built in 1910, which made a fatal shipwreck and whose cargo contained, among others, 100 cases of De Kuyper gin.) Wikipedia: le SS Cécilia L  In fact, at the time, our speaker would have preferred to find a type of round-bottomed bottle (curved), as you have never seen and that was not known to offer such alcohol. This kind of bottle could rather contain soft drinks; its cork was to stay moistened and the bottle left lying, as for wine.

But when you live in Morin-Heights, why not look to dive closer? The chance of a meeting perhaps would bring him to put down his equipment at the majestic Sixteen-Islands Lake. It is also to chance that Mr. Courteau attributes that Madam Nicole Deschamps will be the next speaker at the SHGPH, April 13, 2019; she is a key figure in his own presentation. Still by chance he had once stumbled upon an old book of poetry entitled Johnnie Courteau, written by William Henry Drummond in 1903 and that could have been intended for him. He also gives to chance the credit of many of his discoveries that will follow.

And fortunately, our speaker, who had the idea of displaying the objects recovered from the lake, by him and his group of teammates who formed the Centre d’Interprétation des Eaux Laurentiennes (CIEL), had approached the mayor during those years (2009-2013), Mr. Luc Lamond, in this sense.   Centre le ciel , La mission du CIEL Mr. Lamond, a magistrate with a very local surname and who fell in love with the history of these two entities, could not refuse and we can now go to CIEL and at a small museum of the most interesting located in the old school that houses the town hall.  Sunk Heritage

What can be found at the bottom of a lake like the Sixteen Islands’ one? In fact, it is especially along the shore and in front of the cottages that can accumulate the most objects. For a practical reason at the time, given the absence of any road, it was there that a lot of common use objects were thrown away and some of which did not degrade, like bottles. The steeper the bank, the better the chances that the objects will not be buried in the mud, and thus become accessible to the diver.

In front of one of the residences, the presence of bottles associated with the conservation of photographic developer could thus indicate that its owner exercised this profession. This was the case; the Geo Barrat brand bottle was at the name of that gentleman. The objects found here or there can therefore sometimes say a lot about the life of the people or events that brought them there. Quantity of bottles of alcoholic beverages or milk from Montreal rather than the surrounding area also suggested that vacationers brought, as today, their everyday consumer goods from their place of permanent residence.

With CIEL we are immersed in history. The Erskine Studebaker 1929 was found, with skis at the front and chains on the back wheels and driving on the lake ice. It preceded a team of lumberjacks returning home on horse-drawn sleighs on Christmas Eve. The car started sinking slowly without the men, armed with planks, being able to prevent it from going down. It is Mr. Rolland Charrette, witness of the event at thirteen years old, who tells this story in a video posted by CIEL.

Some objects have also fall into the lake. It was the case of a handbag found by Mr. Courteau. Her owner could be identified; it was a Mrs. Nicole Deschamps. An almost intact photo showed her with a friend probably. The lady was traced back to Philadelphia thanks to Facebook, and the phone told her that we had found her handbag ... dropped in the water thirty years earlier! The friend on the picture had since become her husband and the family still has a cottage at the Lake. It is located on Pointe Charmette; the name would come from the title of a poem by a certain William Henry Drummond, who would have lived there ... Mr. Courteau and Mrs. Deschamps would meet again at the lake, in the summer, and be able to deepen its story together.  En profondeur, vol. 13, no 4

Weskarinis Algonquin had occupied the Laurentians before the White man; some were probably being settled at Lake des Seize-Îles; they didn’t have bottles, but were using vases. Like for cottagers, it might happen that vases land at the bottom of the Lake. Near an island where it could be guessed that it was frequented by our Indians, Mr. Courteau, who is not an archaeologist, had the opportunity to withdraw from the vase a pottery which seemed, at first look, of little interest. Nevertheless, after examining it at daylight, he decided that it should be inspected by an expert. We are now talking of a Huron vase of about 500 years old, the only one ever found in one-piece.  A second vase, in two pieces, was soon also found in the Lake. It was dated back to 700 years and be of the Saint-Laurent's Iroquoien. The analysis in laboratory allows us to know for what food they had been used for; it contained sagamite, a traditional stew based of fish, meat and corn.

In Algonquin territory, such findings had to be the result of commercial trading between these people. Every such artefact that you found must be reported to the government and the object given to it. CIEL would have to use copies in the museum or for exhibiting outside. But few could see the difference. The original may be borrowed afterwards; but it is risking to spend time sleeping in drawers, in Quebec City.  In the early 20th century, Indians coming by canoes would bring hand-woven baskets that they would sold around.

M. Courteau and his group might see realized one of their dreams at the Lake this summer. The island, near which they found the Iroquoian vase, will be the object of archaeological research. This initiative, normally costly, will not be the fruit of assistance by the government, but rather following the interest of a group composed of archaeologists. M. Courteau argues that public aid should be available for such searches. He hopes that eventual findings this summer might attract more governmental attention. Meanwhile, he has to help himself in raising funds. The fact that he hasn’t any more authorizations than you to explore the archaeological sites doesn’t help him to dedicate himself to such patrimonial task. So, the artist produced two paintings by using, among other things, red ochre and black obtained from a stone that holds the Lake, as did the Aboriginal people. They are put up for auction on the Facebook page of the CIEL and the website of Mr. Courteau for his paintings. The auction will end at the summer solstice, June 21, 2019.  Centre le CIEL, FacebookPeinture,Délires et Autres Nécessités... 

In 2017, a diver found a pirogue in one-piece, in the Outaouais Region; the only one found in such conservation status in Quebec. The pirogue was more resistant than the canoe; but it was too heavy for portaging. It was essential to use it for the passage of certain water rapids. It would be left there for future users.

There are not only of worthy archaeological findings for CIEL; others, in the form of ancient rock formation, might even lead specialists to revise the concept of the formation of our Laurentian lakes, presumed being from total glacial origin.  Géo-Outaouais

Biological discoveries are also to be added to these, since Mr. Courteau was able to observe Lake Trout dancing vertically in a sub-marine cave of the Lake, probably in a nuptial dance never seen before.

By Carl Chapdelaine

* «The first carbonated drinks bottles are closed by some corks maintained firmly by metallic threads. As you must store those head downwards so that the cap does not dry and to avoid gas leaks, they have a curved bottom»  L'Encyclopédie canadienne

Note: The article, in French, should appear in the next edition of SHGPH's La Mémoire.

With the use of Google and Microsoft Translator, plus Linguee

Beyond the Mirror

[Conference Theme:
This conference is animated by Jean-Louis Courteau, who demonstrates the historical potential of our water bodies and the treasures of past centuries that he has discovered. He is one of the founders of the Centre d'interprétation des eaux laurentiennes (CIEL).
Jean-Louis Courteau is an amateur painter and passionate about nature and underwater adventures. He shares with us his passion for diving, archaeology, geology and biology, all illustrated with videos and photos that will immerse you in this strange and unknown world.

"Down there, in the world of silence and shadows, treasures sleep, dreaming of centuries and millennia". This lecture deals with the mysteries and wonders of the underwater world of lakes and rivers, including important native remains]. Source: SHGPH.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Cottaging in Wentworth-Nord and the Pays-d’en-Haut

According to the 2016 Census1, on 1 989 private dwellings in Wentworth-Nord, there are 1 248 not occupied by usual residents (so cottages),  i.e. 63% (9 025 on 29 723 in the MRC of the Pays-d’en-Haut, i.e. 30%). In 20112, on 1958 of these same private housing in W-N, there were 1 214 cottages; that’s 34 less. There, households were made up to 78% of two people, for a total average of 2.3 people per household; but the MRC assesses instead that the number of people per unit cottage is 3, which would give us 3 744 cottagers in 2016 for Wentworth-Nord. In its Profil socio-économique des Pays-d’en-Haut, 20153 and based on the assessment rolls, the MRC also calculates that the Census slightly underestimates the number of cottage accommodations on its territory. 

In its Mot de l'économiste of April 20184, the FCIQ, Fédération des chambres immobilières du Québec, says that there was a record of sale of resort properties in Quebec in 2017, with a 5% increase on 2016 for the studied territory. It was for a fourth year in a row and a little more than for common properties. But its definition of a resort property is that of a year-round habitable house (on the edge of a Lake, etc.), whether the owner lives there permanently or uses it as a secondary residence. In the administrative region of Laurentides (from the High Laurentians to the edge of the Mille Îles River), their sales would have increased of 11%. Their price was slightly higher than that of common properties; which suggests that they represent an added value to the eyes of their buyers. And the trend is good; the Mot notes as well that ".. . some of the boomers, at the time where their link with the work diminishes, barter their single-family homes in the suburbs for a property in a resort." 

We can see that the socio-economic future of Wentworth-Nord will be closely linked to the presence and the development of the resort; so close to the metropolitan area, it cannot be otherwise. The 63% of the dwellings it represents shouldn’t, in our view, stop growing. As for all involved MRCs and in front of the challenges for the protection of the physical and the living environment among others, future planning is essential. In the urban plan of the municipality, 20105, one could read: "the economy of the MRC of the Pays-d’en-Haut and the Laurentian region is strongly focused on activities related to recreational tourism and vacationing. Wentworth-Nord also offers an unequivocally representation of the advantages offered by the region in this regard." "With its lakes and its many forests, it contributes greatly to the resort and outdoor activities character in the region."

The idea of this article was rather to portray traits, feelings, activities or obligations of a cottager in face of the existence of his second life environment. It will be for another time... The drudgery and the stress related to the annual opening and closing of the summer cottage were no strangers to the coming of this idea. Originally, the dream of vacationing commands looking for this type of property and environment; with age, some will eventually have to choose between the closure of the cottage or of the main residence.

1. Cencus Profile, Cencus 2011 (Select a vue.)

2. Census Profile, 2016 Census
3. Profil socio-économique des Pays-d’en-Haut, 2015
4. Mot de l’économiste
5. Plan d’urbanisme, 2010
L’industrie du tourisme MRC des Laurentides
Le tourisme au Québec en bref 2016 

Note :  Please report any error.    (With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee)

By Carl Chapdelaine

Wildlife: survive the winter

We see the tiny chickadees always active in winter; but how do they do? To survive this cold season, they binge of greasy food, like sunflower seeds.1 Naturalist Brian Keating says: "During the most freezing nights, when there is frost, they come into hypothermia. Their body temperature drops and they tolerate it." Some may even find refuge under the snow. Through proper circulation of the blood, the geese and similar birds can avoid freezing on the ice. The tiny hoary redpoll, a small portable furnace, even lives in the tundra. It is often, in fact, a seasonal body transformation taking place in this winged fauna; with sometimes hypertrophy of certain organs.
Some of these birds also have appropriate techniques to find their food, or fast as needed. The Wild Turkey nests in conifers to protect itself from cold. "Trees and shrubs which retain their fruit are essential sources of food for the turkey."2
The chronicler Pierre Gingras, fond of Ornithology, summarizes indicating that the goose, the American Robin, the Great Blue Heron and several others can survive our winters with, among other assets, a layer of down or by changing their body temperature.3 it is hoped that the adaptability of the Chickadee and other animals in their environment can allow them to tackle climate change that threaten us.
Drop in temperature, as wintertime terrestrial habitat change or lack of food are factors which can decide the fate of species and which are therefore a factor of fauna as well as flora evolution, demonstrates the very comprehensive text of Annie Langlois: "Flora and fauna of the country - wildlife in winter", Canadian Wildlife Federation.4 We read that the invertebrates such as earthworms and butterflies, which cannot produce their own heat or/and are unable to feed themselves, use dormancy or migrate to warmer places. Dormancy, a sometimes extreme slowing of metabolism, may mean for some to not be permanently transformed into piece of ice through a kind of natural antifreeze. For others, it involves the search for shelter beneath the soil, the bark of trees or free water for aquatic species.
The fish also benefit from the open water to survive the winter. As for the invertebrates, their body takes the temperature of the water; with its cooling, their metabolism slows and they also fall into a kind of dormancy, says Annie Langlois. Remember that, in winter, and contrary to what happens in the summer, water of the lakes is colder at the surface, under the ice, than in depth. In fact, the temperature of the water at the bottom of the lakes would be more constant year round, which would be better for several species of fish, do we understand.5 Ice also prevents the formation of waves and gas exchange. A lack of dissolved oxygen, often in relation to the poor quality of the water, could then bring the death of fish during this season.6
Some mammals hibernate while their metabolism slows down; the case of the Marmot is well known. The striped Chipmunk or the bat does the same; our squirrel hibernates between mid-November and mid-February (Wikipedia). The raccoon remains inactive but do not hibernate. The bear, like the Skunk, is half hibernating. 

Hares, foxes, white-tailed deer and moose, fishers7, wolverine, marten and ermine, wolves and coyotes, etc., don't hibernate. So they're looking for plants or prey and carcasses to feed and develop a thick fur for winter. "The mice make a nest of grass at the end of the fall to spend the winter." To feed, they nibble the basis of small trees under the snow; that is unless they have squatted in your cottage... (Resources natural Canada) The Beaver doesn’t hibernate; such as in an igloo, its branches and freezing mud made hut can maintain a comfortable temperature and make it safe from predators.8

  1. Ici Radio-Canada
  2. Guide du dindon
  3. Pierre Gingras
  4. (Wildlife in Winter, in Hinterland Who's Who)
  5. rappel.qc.ca/lac/plantes-aquatiques
  6. Trousse des lacs, CRE
  7. Acces&date=31_10_2018, page/10
  8. Castor canadien.wordpress  

 By Carl Chapdelaine

PS. to report any error, please.    (With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee)

Management of residual materials

Manage, or even recycle the residual materials were not always the priority of companies. Manage these materials, adding the search for their ecological disposal, or even their recycling, already starts here by assessing the quantity and the possibilities for recycling of these releases. But this assessment has never been made. " Développement durable Rivière-du-Nord (DDRDN), the MRC of the Rivière-du-Nord and the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE Laurentides) have joined efforts in a collaborative project to help the institutions, businesses and industries of the territory to improve their waste management."
Over a period of 18 months, the project has first been to draw up a portrait of the situation by investigating companies. Lack of knowledge and lack of data in this area have proved to be staggering. No policy at the scale of a territory can be reasonably developed without this information. According to the approach we have been used to, CRE, in partnership, "accompanied" seven companies in a process of assessment of the situation.
Concerning one of the "accompanied", Soucy-Baron, we can read in the release that they "wanted to structure the company's approach with the goal to take concrete and effective actions", initially by the "drawing of an audit of our residual materials management system». At the l’Orée des bois school, the exercise has created quite a shock: "By learning that 80% of our waste could be diverted from landfill sites, I realized that we had to think differently", said the Director.
And of course, CRE and partners have developed a plan of action. "The plan of action for the management of residual materials of the accompanied enterprises achieves a portrait, including results from a characterisation that assessed the annual quantities generated, diverted, and buried in different ways, and a series of recommendations."


(With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee)

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Threatening trees

Plant trees; they are given to you! Yes, but in Newaygo you may already live in the forest; so well cottages are practically invisible from the Lake or the road when there is one. Trees, all the more imposing if you are at the foot of an escarpment, may overhang your home or cottage. Pines, Hemlocks, Cedars, Maples, Aspen, etc.; what do you know of their condition and the potential danger they represent? How can these giants hang on quite firmly on the rock? Some might be dead and just waiting for a good gust of wind to land on your roof, electric wires, your boat... Will you be at the origin of a utility power failure?

And then, if it you cannot be seen, you may yourself see nothing else but trees. Some merit disappearing, do you think. Below 10 cm, it now appears that you can dispose of them without too much ceremony; hoping it's not in the shoreline strip, I guess. You are green and responsible, you will follow the rules.

You are finally decided. In most cases, you will need to get a contractor who specializes in cutting and pruning of tree. He will be accredited and have insurance in case that something goes wrong. Better ask for an invoice and pay the tax... And you also have, in the specified cases, to obtain a permit from the urban planning services of the Municipality. You will be asked to have your contractor mark the trees to be cut down with a ribbon or paint. You will have to show the location of these trees on a map of your property, to preferably add photos and to indicate the reason for the cutting down. The description of your property should allow the service to understand the situation. If the trees are on the edge of the Lake, they must be attached to avoid falling in the water; and the stem must remain in place. From 10 to 30 trees, you need to get out fifty dollars; less than that, not a penny.

With the strong winds which caused power outages earlier this week, and the tornadoes in the Outaouais Region the previous month, from Montreal, the cottagers could worry about the situation at the Lake. The decision was made; the time for action had come. You had already found a tree lying on the electric wire in a not-so-distant fall, and now your old shed came to be crushed under the weight of a small tree uprooted. Thanks to the diligence of the urban planning services, you have managed to move quickly through the approval procedure. You even got the certificate entirely by phone and internet.

But ultimately, on the good dozen trees that you deemed threatening, your contractor selected only one, a huge pine and dead since at least six years, which the previous specialist had not considered necessary to throw down. And then two other, on the same foot and small but also dead, and which will be better out of your sight. Well, the bill will be less hefty; not to mention that without road access, you find the trees standing less bulky than left down to rot. "Your trees are still very solid and better grounded than you think." "I don't like unnecessarily cutting down of a tree." That's good for your pocketbook. You may even get tips for the following. "Inspect your trees; if resin flows down the bole of the tree, it is perhaps in poor condition. Get out by very windy weather to see if some trees move a little too much. (Who wants to go out in real bad weather?) Hit against the trunk to identify the sound of a hollow tree that would be dead."    

By Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Wild turkey with stuffing

1 onion, celery, ½ cup of bread, turkey liver or other, sausage meat or chopped pork, savory, salt and pepper; a little liquid if necessary. Fry in a pan and chop everything. Pack the mixture into cheesecloth and stuff it inside the Turkey at the beginning of the cooking in the oven. This is the recipe of my mother and I had got it right for Christmas. It looks organic. All that remains is to catch the gallinaceous... The turkey came from Metro, twice as big as the order and four times more than our needs. It was well cooked; the guests liked it, but it took all the month of January to eat the leftovers.

Ten turkeys walked in line behind my cottage, a week before their holiday, Thanksgiving Day. Caught with a tool at hand, I've had only time to enjoy the parade! In fact I had rather thought to run and fetch my camera, because I never had the opportunity to see one before and I just wanted to support my say later. Along the trail that connects me to civilization, at the end of the Bay, I had repeatedly heard a noisy attempt of takeoff of such birds when passing by, but without ever having seen any. By looking in my guide, I could guess that they be ruffed or spruce grouse, our "fake" partridge; in fact, will I ever know? These are all of the Grouse family (good or bad translation of «Phasianidés»?). The «dinde» of my mother is the female of the «dindon». But, according to «L’Épicerie», on Radio-Canada, the producers would have preferred the term «dindon», which gives the idea of a more little bird, softer and easier to market year-round. Actually, the male is, on the contrary, larger than the female.

In 2014, Alain Demers wrote: "Almost absent in our forests 30 years ago, the Wild Turkey is now abundant in southern Quebec, in addition to its gradual spreading slightly more to the North. It is so now hunted as in the United States where it is a tradition." 1. In the previous spring, the sixth hunting season for this big bird in Quebec, 8 000 hunters had shot 3 000 turkeys, he notes. 

Becoming a wild turkey hunter is not a trivial undertaking; the bird is said cunning. "Only the turkey with a beard (feathers at the base of the chest) may be hunted. (So, in theory, is it not the male? Should it not then rather be differentiated from the female by its red wattles on the throat, like the rooster?) In addition to the bird hunting permits, it is mandatory in the province to take a course to become the owner of the required certificate and be able to shoot down a maximum of two turkeys a year. This does not apply to non-residents.2 Capture is permitted in most hunting zones of Southern Quebec, including the Laurentians. The catch has to be registered.

In his blog, Alain Demers explains that the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, assisted by volunteers, contributed to their introduction from Ontario to the Outaouais, and then to the Mauricie region, through the decade long program dedicated to this purpose. It is even from the offspring of the first contingents and their capture that the relocation of hundreds of turkeys could be carried out. In 2017, according to the Ministry of forests, wildlife and parks, 7565 wild turkeys were hunted, that’s a crop of 29% greater than that of 2016. From this fact, we can believe that their population is still growing. And have they any serious predators in our partly inhabited areas, other than hunters?

The 'Chicken from India", according to Christopher Columbus, a species unique to North America, would have existed by millions before the arrival of European settlers. The Aboriginal people would have domesticated the animal now found on our tables. Become rare at the beginning of the 20th century due to intensive hunting since colonization, the wild turkey has enjoyed very successful rehabilitation program in the United States. It's also from there that must have come those that can be seen now in the Montérégie region. But its return also creates conflict with humans. The male is aggressive and can, when become too familiar, attack pets, or even humans. In winter turkeys can cause damage to gardens, to the bales of hay in the fields, etc.3 & 4

By Carl Chapdelaine

1. Le monde forestier
2. Ministère des Forêts, Faune et Parcs

3. Huffingtonpost
4. Ottawa Citizen

Atlas of vulnerability to climate hazards

Zones vulnérables à la météo
Vulnérabilité aux aléas hydrométéorologiques (atlas) Note: Data cover all of Quebec. On the site, you click on the icons at the top left of the map to choose data (layer ) you are interested in or read the legend .  

Trophic cascade*

This is an ecological term that indicates the cascading effect resulting from an imbalance created mainly between predators and their prey. Thus, the rarefaction of the presence of wolves on the edge of inhabited areas, as in our Pays-d’en-Haut, promotes the proliferation of deer, raccoons, beavers, etc. And this all the more, we imagine, that hunting or trapping don't compensate for this loss of predation.
In the case of deer, a "common species", now clearly visible on the edge of our suburbs and less and less wild, the situation should even be aggravated by the complacency of the humans who offer it food. "The amount of food available in the living environment has an impact on the conduct of the reproduction of the species and helps to explain the variations in the number of individuals of a species in an environment." 1 Some predators on the other hand, like the coyote, adapt better to the human presence. The latter takes advantage of the disappearance of the wolf that it has no more to fear and that often attacks the same prey. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the coyote, sometimes coywolf, has significantly increased its range in North America.2

The example often cited these days is the elimination of wolves in Yellowstone Park, in the early 1900s, then its most recent reintroduction. It is explained, inter alia and to show probably the unpredictability of the effects of the disappearance of a common species, that the abundance of moose that would result had brought the rarefaction of willows and poplars along the rivers, by grazing of shoots. You know well that shoreline vegetation protects watercourses, not only from the intake of sediment loaded with various materials but also from warming. Water, become less cold and less clear induced the decline of the trout population. The reintroduction of the wolf would, in the end, allow the revegetation of shorelines, the reappearance of cold and crystal clear water and the return of trout.

'Conservation of nature Canada' adds two related concepts to this trophic cascade notion and that of common species: the key species, like the beaver that has a major influence on the watersheds in Canada, and indicator species, as the frog that breathes through its skin and can also absorb pollutants as well. The disappearance of the latter becomes a bio-indicator of an existing source of pollution.3

You see that these concepts aren't so far from the concerns we should have confronted with our presence and our action, since our habitat meets, circles or crosses our wildlife’s one. Our mammals: bears, deer, beavers, foxes, coyotes; our birds: migratory birds, ducks, wild turkeys, etc.; our amphibian, our fish have to adapt or disappear. And it is the same at the flora level.

But would it not be in the lakes surrounded by our homes that man’s impact would have been major? By excessive fishing of the favorite species, by restocking with non-native fish, by the intake of sediments, nutrients and pollutants accelerating the eutrophication of those water courses, it is likely that the ecosystem no longer has anything to do with the original balance of the fauna and flora they contain. But have we sufficient data on the presence and requirements of this nature in Wentworth-Nord and the concern needed to maintain, or rather to restore its ecological balance?

Of course, threatened or endangered species, when it is not already too late, require our priority for action; but what we're doing to our common species should as well monopolize our attention. Our communities are growing rapidly, here and across the globe; but should we not ensure that this development respects the balance of nature that is essential to our own survival. We should individually and collectively make an effort to get to know and to neutralize the impact of our daily interventions on our environment.

Climate change adds to the uncertainty of the balance of our ecosystem. "(It) is already having an impact on all kinds of wildlife. Species worldwide are shifting their ranges, migrating sooner, and bearing young earlier than in the past. The American Robin and the Red-winged Blackbird frequently arrive on their breeding grounds weeks earlier than they once did."

"Today, shifts in temperatures, seasons, and weather are happening so fast that wildlife may have little chance to adapt to changes in key habitat elements — namely food, water, shelter, and space. … Some species may flourish as a result of climate change. But wild plants and animals that cannot adapt may become extinct."4

1. Maxicours: Ressources alimentaires et reproduction
2. Hinterland Who's who
3. Nature Conservancy Canada; Common species 101
4. Canadian wildlife federation, Hinterland Who's who; climate-change

* From the Greek "nourishing" (Wiktionary).

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Carl Chapdelaine

for an economic and territorial development

The consultation

Has it been assessed, probably by comparison with similar experiences tried elsewhere, if the call for comments, written submissions and participation in the consultation meeting of April 17 was the only and the best way to get the answers and sought-after ideas? Another way to get this information is to schedule a tour of individual or groups meetings with a sufficient sampling of actors in different fields of activity to be considered.  

We can thus approach the industrialists of the tourism sector, of catering, accommodation, food, construction, wholesale and retail, real estate; representatives from the municipal sector, the not-for-profit organizations, etc. They must have a good idea of what might work, of necessary Government support, of the likely future of their sector. As soon as they accept to be consulted directly, we can believe that they will confide the result of at least a part of their experience.

The results of such consultation, in addition to that currently calling to all, would add to the assessment of needs and supports necessary to meet them; all resulting to the best on specifying avenues of economic and territorial development of the MRC.

Taking advantage of financing resources

As the MRC, higher Governments implement programs of assistance for initiatives in different areas. Those who never use these programs are missing support and sources of income and job creation that will be granted to others. The economic services of the MRC may increase awareness to potential stakeholders of the programs that are available, while providing assistance in using them.

Sustainable development and environment

The existence of traffic in perpetual growth in the Laurentians is the counterpart of a development mainly based, in the past and in the future perhaps, on tourism in general and cottaging in particular. The presence of linear parks appears to be an enviable recreational asset, but the disappearance of the train that led to it can today be seen as an environmental disaster. What are the avenues explored in this exercise to identify priorities of economic and territorial development to curb, or even to change this sad corollary? How could the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut become more involved in a development detrimental to its environment? Can it focus on the first at the expense of the second?

Vacationers often prefer the sectors closest to nature, like the less urbanized lakes. In doing so, they play against the intensification of habitat and thus for an urban-sprawl which also ends up in increased use of the vehicle and on longer distances.

In the Metropolis, the citizen aware of the environmental impact is bound to use public transit. In front of the Montreal road congestion, there is even sometimes from unexpected benefits in doing so. Nothing compares in our regions probably. If it seems unthinkable in the short or medium term to channel a major part of the return trip between the greater Montreal area and Saint-Jérôme to the railway; and impossible to extend it to the Pays-d’en-Haut, will we not have to bank on another solution? With still more promising technological advances, electric, hydrogen or mixed vehicle may eventually help solving the equation. Shouldn't we consider to offer benefits to their owners, multiply charging ports; foresee in the long run, that our towns, villages and tourist resorts of the Pays-en-Haut be, in fact, centres at the forefront of sustainable development?

Developing attitudes

The programs of the MRC in the search for sustainable development do not seem to encourage individual initiatives and to offer counterweigh in the change of behavior in the face of this main goal, except through the imposition of regulations, as in the case of the household waste recycling. As a result, should emphasis not be placed on greater awareness and participation of citizens in the achievement of certain objectives of sustainable development?  

We could target clienteles by theme; isn’t a targeted clientele more likely to respond to the solicitation? The cottagers could be one of these targets; while permanent residents would better be opened to others.

Would it not be possible, for example, to encourage the formation of not for profit groups able to regroup, electronically, the MRC residents willing to get involved, to varying degrees, in the achievement of certain sustainable development targets? This could include carpooling, use of public transit, shopping online from the shops of the cities and villages of the region for isolated areas like in Wentworth-North, etc. We would first try to set up a regional organization; then, we'd invite to the formation of local associations which would affiliate to this regional organization. As incentive, the MRC would modestly contribute to the financing of the budget of these entities.

An ecological tourist offer

Under the hatting of the MRC, the municipalities could encourage and contribute to the creation and delivery of green tourism or recreational packages geared at visitors from the metropolitan region. A package coupling schedules could be offered, or even a seasonal 'passport', combining transport by train or bus, in weekends, and access to services at advantageous prices. Saint-Sauveur, Sainte-Adèle, or other would be involved, jointly or not, and with service providers, bus companies, private or public, restaurant owners, hosting providers (hotels, bed and breakfast, rental cottages, camping, etc.) , shops, outdoor centers (with equipment rental: skis, bikes, canoes, etc.), regional parks, trails of the P'tit train du Nord and the Aerobic Corridor, museums, exhibitions.

Here again, it would target specific clienteles, such as retirees, singles, cyclists or skiers. This package would be available for purchase online. Arrived at destination, the visitor would be able to choose walk, bike rental, also available in the package, etc. While increasing the volume of visitors, it would thus help to decongest the highway and also the cities and centers accesses of these destinations. In this move, the promotion of the use of the commuter train or / and the bus among workers commuting on a daily basis with the metropolitan area would not been put aside.

Could the MRC not follow the example of Norway, where sustainable tourism has become a priority; or entrust the search for an appropriate solution to the 'Réseau de veille en tourisme'? The Curé Labelle had inaugurated the era of the train, then car took over. Isn't time to listen a Hubert Reeves, scientist, thinker and environmentalist, who fears that our Earth is launched toward a sixth Global extinction of species, and to attempt to initiate a new era here?

Carl Chapdelaine

The delights of our wildlife

Despite the documentaries on bears, deer, beavers, small rodents, and several other animals of our forests, the knowledge of the city dweller on the fauna which inhabits the former are still limited. However, when raccoons settled in the city or the coyotes start lurking, this wild nature becomes more tangible. But a new series on wildlife might emerge, using among other things the more cutting-edge research on the lives of these animals.

What do these rodents or these deer find on the ground? Well, their diet is perhaps more varied than you imagined. A documentary of La semaine verte, of last March 171, reports the experience of a biologist interested in the mycophagous animals, i.e. eating mushrooms. She collected some squirrel and other small mammals’ droppings in the forest, attracting them with foods that we know they are fond of. Their analysis showed that there were a certain percentage of various mushrooms in their previous meals. Then, with an automatic video camera, she could film those eating mushrooms species already identified in their droppings; making also possible the evaluation of the ingested quantities.

Another researcher did a similar experience with deer, also great lovers of mushrooms; another in Ontario with the caribou, a camera suspended from the neck of the animal to see it in action. And surprise, some species of mushrooms unpalatable for humans could be for these animals, and they knew well identifying them. And while deer revels in our favorite chanterelles, when it does not, as the squirrel, appreciate the hallucinogenic effect of other species, the latter do not disdain the terrible amanita phalloïdes (deadly to humans).2  

You want a story of owl, small mycophagous mammals, with a scent of human intervention in the ecological balance? Logging companies are sometimes looking to replace trees mowed down by faster growing species or responding to a better market. After a clear cutting, native pines had thus been replaced by another kind of pine trees growing more quickly. However, the first were associated with the existence of a mushroom of a species close to the truffle and buried under the ground. Small mammals, like maybe somewhere else wild boars, knew how to find them, dig them up and eat. It was the only way that the mushroom could disseminate, its spores being spread by the droppings of these animals. This species of mushroom disappeared with the replacement of the pines with which it was associated. Rodents and other small quadrupeds had also lost an important source of their diet and decreased greatly in number. The fate of their predator, the Northern Spotted Owl, was not any better. It was necessary that the cutting of trees be suspended, triggering violent demonstrations of the communities who depended on, and that researchers be scratching their heads for a while to save the owl and solve the riddle of the disruption of this ecological balance.

We have to learn our lesson from the tragic experiences of the past in the treatment that we have inflicted to our forests, our agricultural soils, to our waterways, or even from current experiences. Nature, with its flora, its fauna and its interrelations, is even more complex than what our knowledge has acquired to date. So, with the pressure of our habitat development and the inevitable pollution that comes with it and despite the compliance by our planners with environmental regulation, are we assured that we are not losing the battle in maintaining the balance of our ecosystem?

1. La semaine verte
2. Ces animaux mycophages

3. Animals eat mushrooms

Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator

The ice sheet retreats

About 12,000 years ago, the Laurentide ice sheet has already deserted the lower St. Lawrence Valley; an island appeared in the Montreal area: this is the Mount Royal. 1,000 years later, the ice front is more than up to the piedmont of the Laurentians.1   The Atlantic ocean, become here the Champlain Sea, has at the same time conquered the huge sunken area. Soon, the Rivière Rouge valley and that of the Rivière du Nord become narrow fjords which get even deeper to the North, but with water less saline because of the contribution of melt water. The sea has reached an altitude of about 230 m. 10,000 years ago, the Champlain Sea was cut off from the Atlantic by the Isostatic rebound and became a huge Lake called Lampsilis and which poured into the ocean by the St. Lawrence River.2
The Ice Sheet, with its center at the current Hudson’s Bay, left the marks of its passage and of its withdrawal, among which those of the last deglaciation are the most visible. The morainic fronts and other glacial deposits, the countless marks on bedrock, as modern means of dating of various elements, allow us today to better trace the route and the withdrawal of the ice sheet. And the glacier also became a singular vehicle; thus, the geologist Gilbert Prichonnet recently discovered in Saint-Constant, on the South shore of the St. Lawrence, an erratic boulder of 67 tons, torn from the parent rock somewhere between Saint-Jérôme and Rawdon.3
Glacial rivers were circulating on the ice or had dug tunnels under the moving and now melting ice. They were carrying sand and gravel, collected from abrasion by the glacier, and which were deposited at the bottom of these furrows or tunnels. They are still often well identifiable today, not in the form of furrows in the landscape but instead of ridges, named eskers and built of deposits left behind by these rivers which meander through our mountains and valleys. Logging companies sometimes cheaply use them as forest roads; occasionally, they also form a natural base for trails. The Zec Lavigne, in the Lanaudière region, allows us to admire them at will.4  You can also see the profile of eskers in some places, cut off by roads between Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Tremblant. It even seems that the Aerobic Corridor sections one on the way to Lac-des-Seize-Îles. (We'll see more closely this summer.)

Glacier moraines and terraces of sand littered with marine shells left by the withdrawal of the Champlain Sea did not land a very fertile area. Conifers were going to live with, especially since they were better adapted to the still cold climate by side of the ice cap. On the contrary, clay, marine organisms and other organic deposits accumulated on the bottom of these water bodies would bring fertility to the plain of the St. Lawrence and to the valley of the Rivière Rouge, along Arundel among others.
About 10,000 years ago in the Laurentians, after herbaceous and shrubby tundra and with the gradual warming, deciduous trees less demanding in this respect, as the trembling aspen, would mix with black spruce and other conifers, all initially in a probably stunted form. But subsequent variations in climate over thousands of years could have at the same time reworked this arrangement.5  Wildlife of course followed the settlement of plants, then dragging the nomadic Paleoindians who would first benefit especially from caribou hunting, and then of the other deer, not to forget fishing.6 Lake and Brook trout, among some other species, colonised the lakes left by the withdrawal of the ice sheet.
We may not notice it, but when leaving Montreal and its plain in the direction of Saint-Jérôme today, we leave an area specific to hardwood for a mixed zone where conifers soon appear among the firsts. We can see that the action of the Ice Sheet and the Champlain Sea strongly influenced this distribution. The current climate factors, in addition to "the nature of the soil, terrain and disturbances, such as forest fires, epidemics and cuts", affect the distribution of vegetation. "In fact, it is these factors which determine the distribution of the vegetation on the various components of the landscape (tops of hills, middle and down the slopes, etc.) in a given bioclimatic area."7
In terms of vegetation, the Pays-d’en-Haut are today included in one of the three areas identified in Quebec, the ‘Northern temperate zone', dominated by hardwood and mixed stands. They are in the subzone of the deciduous forest and more specifically "the bioclimatic domain of the maple grove yellow birch"* which "covers the slopes and the hills bordering the South of the Laurentide Shelf '... "Yellow birch is there one of the main species with its sugar maple companions." American beech, red oak and the eastern hemlock also grow in this area, but they are becoming very rare beyond its northern border."7

*Referring to the interactive map of the vegetation zones and bioclimatic domains of Quebec, of the MFFP.7

1. La déglaciation de la vallée du Saint-Laurent et l’invasion marine contemporaine (figure 6)
2. Histoire géologique récente de la région de Montréal
3. Le fabuleux voyage du bloc erratique
4. Les eskers de la zec Lavigne (bilingual)
5. Histoire postglaciaire de la végétation
6. Prehistoric Quebec
7. MFFP, zones de végétation et domaines bioclimatiques du Québec

8. Champlain Sea

Carl Chapdelaine

The Laurentide ice sheet

Most of us have learned that a thick ice cap covered the northern hemisphere of our planet during the last glacial period and until less than 10,000 years ago. Forward and backward steps cycles from this cap have punctuated its final withdrawal from our continent. It is by identifying the location and the age of the last frontal moraines left by the edges of the ice cap, at each episode marking its withdrawal, that researchers were able to reconstruct its history. The oldest deposits may of course have been erased or reshaped by the latest comings and goings of the glaciers.
The deposits of sand and gravel or rock outcrops often cracked that we observe all around us accurately reflect the work of erosion, compaction or transport of this ice cap for tens of millennia. This is unless our explorations are already below the level of the ancient Champlain Sea, which remains today as the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. It was going to leave, by withdrawing, its own terraces of deposits up to Mont-Rolland in the basin of the Rivière du Nord. (These sediments left behind by salt water are today sometimes conducive to landslides, because salt that bound them ultimately be wiped out by the infiltration of rain water.)
This sea, which was in addition to the already existing oceans, took advantage of the melting of glaciers and the sinking of the ground, the lithosphere, which they had caused. The level of the oceans of the world was also simultaneously raised by the melting of glaciers in the Antarctic continent. The Laurentide ice sheet, with that of the Cordillera, covered all of the present Canada and could reach 5 km thick up to Hudson's Bay. (Between these two ice sheets existed free passage of ice that could have borrowed the first men from Asia.) Following the retreat of the ice, the surface of this parcel of the Canadian Shield had undertaken an isostatic rise which still continues. The Earth's mantle has indeed certain plasticity, like glaciers, and so can deform during variation of the weight of the Earth's crust. This rise of several meters per century at the beginning is currently of 2 mm per year for the section that corresponds to our Laurentians; this is already 20 cm for the last century. But as all the surrounding crust goes up, we could hardly visually see the movement. The current lowest part of the Laurentian landscape, even more recent, had thus emerged slowly of the Champlain Sea to leave only a few shreds in the hollow of the vast plain of the St. Lawrence.
If our environment has been seriously marked by the work of the Laurentide ice sheet and the glaciations that preceded the last, it yet results in a very small part from these episodes. It took much more than hundreds of millions of years for young mountains that could look like the Rockies or the Alps, with volcanoes, to be eroded as to become the mountains and hills that we know today. In fact, this rock dates of the Precambrian and so of billion years.
Would it not be of interest to open a kiosk, a small museum or even develop a site of prehistoric habitat in our region, as is found in Europe? It would not the be Village of Séraphin, but could resume themes presented at the Canadian Museum of History or the Museum of civilization in Quebec about native Americans, for example, and reproduce wildlife or the existing flora. It could show, among other things, a brief description of the geomorphological formation of the Laurentians. This science specialists could make reviving, on model or virtual media, the last passage of the glaciers by the analysis of fingerprints and other clues they have left us. The results of many observations made on the environment at the Biology Station of the Laurentians, in Saint‐Hippolyte, or those made to the la Mauricie National Park and elsewhere could be part of the presentation.

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Quaternary History of Eastern Ontario: Impacts on Physical Landscape and BiotaMain Street, February 2018

Carl Chapdelaine

A local architecture?

 This February 2nd, Groundhog will be able to tell us if spring is coming soon or not. But you may not have expected such verdict to develop projects for your cottage or on home renovations. The exterior cladding is too damaged to be fixed; you need to replace it. Your old property has inherited a classic style of its time; what are you going to do with it today? Maybe you were isolated in an area without road access, and only what's to hand allowed you some minor maintenance that did not change its style. But you may now just have got a road to reattach you to civilization and the possibilities are now endless; this is as far as your budget has not been too much affected...

For a new exterior cladding, the market offers you as much of the so-called guaranteed to life and without maintenance products than others more classic and probably more suitable to the architecture of the properties in your area. You are not insensitive to the importance of heritage but may not have made the link with the choice you are about to make. Unfortunately no doubt, architectural heritage does not resist the values of free choice prevailing on our continent, combined with the appetite of the manufacturers who have any other criteria of choice in their offer of products for home construction. According to the niche they have chosen, your siding will be of reconstituted wood, vinyl, fiber cement, etc. But the range of products made of real wood, that will probably respect the traditional character of your property, remains sizeable.

The older cottager, who has his permanent residence in town and who has the slightest awareness of heritage conservation could have seen how entire neighborhoods of the city have, over the years, lost their old cachet under the assault of all the promoters boasting their products. In Montreal, a few old neighborhood sections were able to escape the installation of doors and windows, balconies, stairs, fences, or even of facings, which had nothing to do with the architecture of their homes or their original building materials. They still offer the architectural ensemble that they already had in their building and today are the pride of their inhabitants as the envy of many others.

You try to consider it; however what could characterize the cottages and houses on these lakes that hold on their stilts or foundations for half a century or a lot more? One could see there a nice case of research and inventory to be submitted to the program 'Culture and Heritage Fund' of the MRC, currently on call for projects. It should certainly be looked into the history of the colonization of these places to find out from where came the styles that were implemented. Canadian-born French, English or Irish brought with him a bit of his architectural designs; that’s when he was not borrowing his neighbors’ ones. At Lake Saint-François-Xavier, specific factors would influence his choice. One can think of the change in historic implantation of the inhabitants or vacationers. At the beginning a village of francophone settlers submitted to the vision of the Curé Labelle, then a resort for mainly English-speaking vacationers from the city or elsewhere. At the same time, the presence of the train was going to dictate the way forward: first as a mode of delivery for building materials, its abandonment and the presence of an infinite amount of railway sleepers would add to the local particularities of construction.

We can’t be against modern architecture, expression of architectural freedom, modular construction, maintenance-free and more efficient materials research. Despite concerns on the environmental front for example, some thoughtful real estate projects can offer an architectural, among other things, adapted to the region and which, without being patrimonial, still deserves consideration. But at the same time, should we not, in the older areas, look at conservation of a style that would remind the heritage to be preserved? As elsewhere, it suffered a lot in our Pays-d’en-Haut, as can easily be seen.

Failing to impose architectural standards, should not the municipal authorities at least, if this is not already the case and in some specific sectors, establish, disseminate and promote traits of style, cladding materials, colors in harmony with the landscape? Doesn’t any attention in obtaining flowerets for landscaping deserve its parallel on the main object targeted in this goal, the house?

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Carl Chapdelaine

By-law on the Comité consultatif d'urbanisme

Règlement établissant les règles de régie interne du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme numéro 2010-275

Amendement : règlement 2015-275-1 adopté par la résolution 2015-11-314

Septembre 2010




Le présent règlement est intitulé «Règlement établissant les règles de régie interne du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord.».


Est abrogé par le présent règlement le règlement relatif à la création du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme numéro 87 de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord ainsi que tous ses amendements à ce jour.


Les dispositions du présent règlement prescrivent la forme, la composition, le mandat et les règles de base de fonctionnement du Comité consultatif d'urbanisme.


Le présent règlement s’applique à l’ensemble du territoire de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord.


Toutes les annexes jointes au présent règlement en font partie intégrante.


Le fait de se conformer au présent règlement ne soustrait pas à l’obligation de se conformer à toute autre loi ou tout autre règlement applicable en l’espèce, et notamment au Code civil du Québec. La disposition la plus restrictive ou prohibitive doit s’appliquer.


Le Conseil municipal déclare par la présente qu’il adopte le présent règlement partie par partie, de façon à ce que si une partie du présent règlement venait à être déclarée nulle et sans effet par un tribunal, une telle décision n’aurait aucun effet sur les autres parties du présent règlement.



Un système de numérotation uniforme a été utilisé pour l'ensemble du règlement. Le règlement est divisé en chapitres identifiés par des chiffres romains. Un chapitre peut être divisé en sections identifiées par des numéros commençant à I au début de chaque chapitre. Une section peut être divisée en sous sections identifiées par des numéros commençant à 1 au début de chaque section. L'unité fondamentale de la structure du règlement est l'article identifié par des numéros de 1 à l'infini pour l'ensemble du règlement. Un article peut être divisé en alinéas, lesquels ne sont précédés par aucun numéro ou aucune lettre d’ordre. Un alinéa peut être divisé en paragraphes, identifiés par des chiffres arabes suivis du « o » supérieur. Un paragraphe peut être divisé en sous-paragraphes, identifiés par des lettres minuscules suivies d'une parenthèse fermante.


De façon générale, l’interprétation doit respecter les règles suivantes :

1° les titres contenus dans ce règlement en font partie intégrante. En cas de contradiction entre le texte et le titre, le texte prévaut;

2° l’emploi des verbes au présent inclut le futur;

3° les mots écrits au singulier comprennent le pluriel et le pluriel comprend le singulier, chaque fois que le contexte se prête à cette extension;

4° le genre masculin comprend le genre féminin à moins que le contexte n’indique le contraire;

5° toute disposition spécifique du présent règlement prévaut sur une disposition générale contradictoire;

6° chaque fois qu’il est prescrit qu’une chose doit être faite, l’obligation de l’accomplir est absolue; mais s’il est dit qu’une chose peut être faite, il est facultatif de l’accomplir ou non;

7° l’autorisation de faire une chose comporte tous les pouvoirs nécessaires à cette fin.


Les expressions, termes et mots utilisés dans le présent règlement ont le sens et l'application qui leur sont attribués au chapitre portant sur la terminologie du règlement de zonage numéro 2008-271, en vigueur, de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord.




Le Conseil municipal de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord détermine le rôle et les pouvoirs du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme.


Le Comité consultatif d'urbanisme étudie les questions relatives à l’urbanisme et à l’aménagement du territoire, soumises par le Conseil municipal ou des dossiers référés en vertu des règlements d’urbanisme en vigueur.

Le Comité consultatif d'urbanisme formule des recommandations au Conseil municipal à l’égard des questions et dossiers qui lui sont soumis.

Le Comité consultatif d’urbanisme doit également:

1° assister le Conseil dans l’élaboration de sa politique d’urbanisme notamment :

a) en analysant le contenu du plan d’urbanisme et des règlements d’urbanisme en vigueur dans la municipalité en rapport avec l’évaluation des besoins dans la municipalité et d’en proposer la modification lorsque nécessaire;

b) en faisant rapport au Conseil municipal de ses observations et recommandations en vue du développement viable à long terme et de l’utilisation la plus rationnelle du territoire de la municipalité.

2° étudier les projets de lotissement et formuler les recommandations appropriées au Conseil;

3° étudier les demandes de dérogation mineure et formuler des recommandations au Conseil;

4° étudier toute demande relative aux plans d’aménagement d’ensemble (P.A.E.) et aux plans d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale (P.I.I.A), formuler des recommandations concernant leur approbation et suggérer des modifications, s’il y a lieu ;


Le Comité est composé de 7 membres, soit :

1° 1 membre du Conseil;

2° 6 personnes résidant sur le territoire de la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord et qui ne sont pas membres du Conseil municipal.

De plus, le maire et le directeur général sont membres d’office, mais sans droit de vote et peuvent assister aux réunions, s’il le désire.


Le recrutement des membres résidants se fera par appel au public, soit par le journal municipal ou autrement, et ce à chaque fois qu’un mandat vient à terme.

Les critères de sélection des membres du Comité consultatifs d’urbanisme sont :

- Disponibilité et intérêt pour les questions d’urbanisme;
- Impartialité;
- Absence de conflit d’intérêt ou d’apparence de conflit d’intérêt avec les sujets abordés lors des séances du Comité;
- Favoriser la représentativité des trois secteurs du territoire (St-Michel, Monfort, Laurel);
- À candidatures équivalentes, favoriser l’accession des femmes au Comité;


Les membres du Comité sont nommés par résolution du Conseil municipal.


Les membres résidant sont assujettis au Code d’éthique et de déontologie annexé au présent règlement à l’ANNEXE I, lequel ils sont tenus de signer avant la première réunion à laquelle ils doivent assister.

Le non-respect du Code d’éthique et de déontologie peut entraîner une révocation du mandat du membre fautif par le Conseil.


La durée du mandat des membres résidants nommés en vertu du présent règlement est de 24 mois.

Ce délai court à partir de la date indiquée dans la résolution du Conseil nommant la personne comme membre du Comité ou, à défaut, de la date d’adoption de cette résolution.

Lorsqu’il prend fin, le mandat des membres résidents nommés en vertu du présent règlement peut être renouvelé, par résolution, pour une durée de 24 mois.

Le mandat d’un conseiller municipal nommé en vertu du présent règlement prend fin dès qu’il cesse d’être membre du Conseil ou lorsqu’il est remplacé par le Conseil.

Le Conseil peut, en tout temps, révoquer le mandat d’un membre et lui trouver un substitut dans le but de terminer le mandat.


Le Conseil municipal doit, par résolution, combler tout siège vacant au sein du Comité suivant le départ ou la démission d’un membre. Dans ce cas, la durée du mandat du nouveau membre est égale à la période inexpirée du mandat du membre remplacé.


Le président et le vice-président du Comité sont désignés parmi les membres résidants et sont élus par l’ensemble des membres du Comité, incluant le représentant du Conseil, et ce nonobstant l’article 31.

Le mandat du président et du vice-président est d’une durée de 12 mois.

Le président et le vice-président ne peuvent se représenter à l’un de ces deux postes à la fin de leur mandat. Ils doivent laisser passer au moins un mandat avant de resoumettre leur candidature.


Lorsqu’un membre du Comité est absent, sans motifs valables à 3 séances régulières consécutives, cela constitue un motif de destitution par le Conseil municipal.



Le poste de secrétaire d’assemblée est assumé par le directeur du service de l’urbanisme ou un représentant autorisé par celui-ci ou par la direction générale.

Le secrétaire d’assemblée n’a pas droit de vote.


Le secrétaire procède à l'envoi de l’ordre du jour, des avis de convocation, rédige les procès-verbaux, achemine au Conseil les recommandations du Comité, fait apposer, lorsque requis, les signatures appropriées sur un document du Comité et sur le livre des délibérations et assure la garde du livre des délibérations du Comité qu’il doit déposer aux archives de la Municipalité.

De plus, le secrétaire soumet mensuellement au Conseil un rapport quantitatif des permis de construction émis.

ARTICLE 23 abrogé


Peuvent assister aux réunions du Comité et participer à ses travaux, mais sans droit de vote, toutes personnes ressources désignées par résolution du Conseil ou invitée par le Comité.



Le Comité a quorum lorsqu’au moins 4 membres sont présents.


Les membres du Comité fournissent leurs services gratuitement. Cependant, le Conseil pourra, par résolution, leur attribuer une allocation sous la forme d’un jeton de présence dont la valeur est déterminée par le Conseil.


Advenant une poursuite intentée contre le Comité consultatif d’urbanisme ou un de ses membres, tous les frais encourus pour la défense dudit Comité ou de l’un de ses membres sont assumés par la Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord.


Le Comité siège en séance selon les besoins, au jour qu'il fixe par résolution, sur ordre du président ou, en son absence, du vice-président.

Le Comité siège en séance au jour et à l’heure fixée par résolution du Conseil.

Le Comité peut faire relâche au besoin, mais cette relâche ne doit pas être pour plus d’une séance consécutive.

Le secrétaire peut convoquer les membres du comité à une séance spéciale du Comité lorsque nécessaire.

Lorsqu’une assemblée spéciale est requise en sus des réunions régulières, un avis de convocation est transmis aux membres au moins cinq (5) jours à l’avance.


Les séances du Comité ont lieu à huis clos. Le Comité peut toutefois inviter un requérant ou son mandataire à présenter un projet ou une demande.

Dans ces cas, les membres du CCU se limiteront aux questions d’information en présence des principaux intéressés. Toute délibération se fera suite au départ du requérant.


En plus des réunions prévues et convoquées par le Comité, le Conseil municipal peut aussi convoquer les membres du Comité en donnant préalablement un avis écrit, avec un délai de 3 à 5 jours, par courrier ordinaire. Ce délai peut être réduit à 2 jours si l'avis est signifié à domicile ou au travail. L'avis doit comprendre les sujets sur lesquels le Conseil municipal demande un avis et tout document pertinent.


Chaque membre résident possède un vote.

Le membre représentant le Conseil n’a pas le droit de vote.

Le président, ou le vice-président en son absence, a le droit de voter aux assemblées, mais n'est pas tenu de le faire. Il est toutefois tenu de voter en cas d'égalité des voix.


Toutes les décisions du Comité sont prises à la majorité des voix des membres présents.


La recommandation par laquelle le Comité se prononce favorablement ou défavorablement à l’égard d’une demande de dérogation mineure, d’une demande d’usage conditionnel, d’une demande d’approbation d’un plan d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale ou d’une demande d’approbation d’un plan d’aménagement d’ensemble doit fournir les motifs appuyant la décision du Comité.


Un membre du Comité ne peut prendre part à une délibération dans laquelle il a un intérêt personnel. Il doit quitter le lieu de la réunion jusqu’à ce que le Comité ait statué sur le dossier ou la question en cause.

Le secrétaire du Comité doit inscrire la déclaration d’intérêt au procès-verbal de la réunion et indiquer que le membre concerné a quitté le lieu de la réunion pour toute la durée des discussions sur le dossier ou la question en cause.


Une copie des procès-verbaux adoptés par le Comité doivent être transmis au greffier de la Municipalité pour faire partie des archives de la Municipalité.


Le présent règlement entre en vigueur conformément aux dispositions de la Loi.

André Genest Sophie Bélanger
Maire Directrice générale
et secrétaire-trésorière

Avis de motion donné le :
Adoption du projet de règlement le :
Avis d’entrée en vigueur :





Dans le présent code, les termes suivants signifient :

Comité : Comité consultatif d’urbanisme, tel que constitué par le règlement municipal;

Membre : un membre du Comité, qu’il soit membre du conseil municipal ou membre résident;


Le comité souscrit à des valeurs qui misent sur le respect, l’honnêteté, l’intégrité, l’objectivité, l’impartialité et la saine gestion dans une perspective d’intérêt public pour l’exercice des fonctions de ses membres.


Le présent code n’a pas pour effet de soustraire un membre de l’obéissance à toute loi ou règlement qui le concerne personnellement ou en sa qualité officielle.



Le membre du Comité exécute ses fonctions dans l’intérêt public et prend toutes les mesures nécessaires pour faire valoir cet intérêt public.


Le membre assume fidèlement ses fonctions en conformité avec les législations applicables, incluant la réglementation en vigueur dans la municipalité.


Le membre s’acquitte de ses fonctions et de ses responsabilités avec intégrité, dignité et impartialité.


Le membre s’abstient de toute activité incompatible avec ses fonctions, évite tout conflit d’intérêts et prévient toute situation susceptible de mettre en doute son objectivité ou son impartialité.


Le membre s’abstient de solliciter ou de détenir pour lui-même, pour un proche ou pour une personne morale dans laquelle il possède un intérêt substantiel, une charge ou un contrat avec la municipalité en rapport avec ses tâches au sein du Comité ou avec les informations privilégiées auxquelles il a accès.



Le membre contribue au maintien et à la défense de la bonne réputation du Comité et du Conseil municipal.


Le membre fait preuve de disponibilité et de diligence raisonnable et il assure sa collaboration à la réalisation des mandats confiés au Comité.


Le membre fait preuve de respect et de courtoisie dans ses relations avec les autres personnes.


Le membre observe les règles légales et administratives gouvernant le processus de prise de décisions.


Le membre refuse de prendre connaissance d’un dossier et de participer aux discussions avec les autres membres dans un dossier lorsqu’il existe un motif justifiant son abstention, notamment un conflit d’intérêts.


Le membre doit, dès qu’il constate qu’il est dans une situation de conflit d’intérêts, en aviser le président du Comité, ou le vice-président en son absence.


Sont dérogatoire à la dignité d’un membre les actes suivants :

Détournement : l’utilisation ou l’emploi, pour des fins autres que celles autorisées, de deniers, valeurs ou biens confiés au Comité ou à un membre dans l’exercice de ses fonctions;

Confidentialité : le fait de divulguer ou de commenter toute information ou document en provenance du Comité, à moins que cette information ou ce document ait été rendu public par l’autorité compétente;

Acte illégal : le fait, dans l’exercice de ses fonctions de membre de commettre ou de participer à la commission d’un acte illégal ou frauduleux;

Favoritisme : le fait de défavoriser ou de favoriser indûment un projet ou une demande autrement qu’en raison de ses avantages, inconvénients ou impacts sur la municipalité;

Conflit d’intérêts : le fait de participer à l’examen d’un dossier dans lequel il sait être en conflit d’intérêts.



Je, _____________________________, désigné (e) par le conseil municipal, pour être membre du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme, affirme solennellement que j’ai pris connaissance du code d’éthique et de déontologie du Comité consultatif d’urbanisme et je m’engage à faire preuve de discrétion et à respecter fidèlement ses dispositions dans le meilleur intérêt de la municipalité.

Signé ce ___________________________


Consultation on the urban Master Plan of September 29, 2017

This last meeting of consultation prior to the adoption of the Plan, on October 2, essentially carried on the responses to the requests for changes to planning regulations projects. (Refer to the documents that describe these 32 requests and responses: Last modifications).

The Director of services for urban planning of the municipality, Mr. Emmanuel Farmer, would further explain the reasons of the acceptance or rejection of each request. It would also complement responses left open on the document or future decisions. The Director would also invite the people in the audience to ask any question as and extent of his presentation, if they wished.
Request no. 2, on not to waste, as proposed in the revision of the Plan, a vested after 6 months for cottage rental in short term was thus accepted. Article 423 of the zoning was therefore amended and the "seasonal closure would however not be considered dumb a termination or abandonment (jurisprudence).
Some requests found no application and therefore there is nothing to change.
Other requests did not fall under the jurisdiction of the municipal authorities, such as allowing some Lakes prohibit common access (5, 6 and 7), as for Lake Notre-Dame. "The coast belongs to the Government of Quebec. Water is a common resource. Navigation (including access to waterways) is federal jurisdiction." Mr. Farmer also recalled the case of cancellation of such a ban by the municipality of St. Adolphe-d’Howard.
Finally, applications were rejected, such as no. 4, to reduce the maximum slope for construction, which is currently at 30 °, because "this standard is reasonable and quite restrictive."
We learned from the mouth of the Director, during the session, that promoter Napee’s project at Lake Pelletier was still on the table. One speaker, convinced that the municipality was wrong, claimed that one shouldn't need hy studies degree to understand that more than a hundred homes around a (small) Lake would affect its environment.
In addition, Mr. Farmer, in response to our question, taught us that the date of the signature of the register on the holding of a further referendum on the adoption of the planning regulations was not yet fixed. However, the clause of a maximum period of 45 days should apply. The request for a referendum will focus on the entire project, i.e. the Master Plan, will specify Mayor Genest at the meeting of the Council which will follow.
Note: Our observations on these points of the consultation session are just a reflection of our understanding. The reader should refer to the municipal authorities for any interpretation, and before any use.

Quick translation using Microsoft Translator

 Carl Chapdelaine

Wentworth-Nord's urban plan


The by-law on the revision of the urban plan of the Municipality is at a stone's throw from being adopted. It appears to us that its development has requested a great amount of work, a process of outreach and a true consultation effort. These steps, such as we have lived in Wentworth-Nord, are prescribed by the law that governs this particular municipal administrative service. "It's the Loi sur l’aménagement et l’urbanisme (LAU), which establishes the bases for information and public consultation to involve citizens in decision making, management of the development of the territory and urban planning."*  

But this possible adoption of the by-law and the attached regulations (zoning, subdivision, building, permits etc.) on October 2, on the condition that the population doesn’t object by subsequent referendum, is now an object of the current election campaign. The adoption of the by-law on 2 October, following earlier adoption of projects of that regulation; then the possibility of a later held referendum to validate or not this adoption appears us in line with the normal process described in the law.

"The master plan is the most important official document of the municipality in planning the development of its territory. It contains the planning policies adopted by the Municipal Council that will guide its decision making in the future."* This is in what terms the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Occupation of the territory defines its usefulness. The MRC also has a right to look at this plan which should fit into its own development framework. Thus, the municipality is involved in the broad guidelines for the MRC’s spatial planning, like for its policy of protection and access to the trails, "following an approach that was intended to guarantee public access to natural and recreational areas to all residents of its territory. Politique des sentiers

We see such an exercise and such a document as being a bit on the model of the budget that any household should develop and follow, even intuitively. Without a plan, as without family budget, administrative decisions concerning the development of the territory of the municipality may not always be appropriate, either to the real situation or to its budget. Provided that elected officials adopt such a plan and commit themselves to follow it in their administrative decisions, it seems to us therefore that the municipality will be none the worse for it and that its citizens will see better where it is heading them.

We could well feel, for example and during the recent consultation process on this draft revision in Montfort, that the development of residential, recreational, commercial projects, etc., facing the wishes of residents, proponents, environmentalists, or facing the diversity of the housing areas and other interests, sometimes from outside; or put in parallel with the financial reality of the municipality, questioned residents. These could, moreover, not be able to grasp all the implications arising from the whole.

Among these implications, the cost of the multiple objectives identified in the plan and their translation into a myriad of actions is mentioned nowhere. How can the elected officials make their choice without this data? Should it not, in a new step, be shown what pieces of the skinny pie of the budget should be set aside for each? We can applaud to the goal to "respect the support capacity of the Lakes." But to set this support capacity, must one not first be able to rely on the work of the associations for the protection of lakes; then find the right analysis protocol and finance elaborate studies? The MAMOT document shows: "...you have to ensure that the plan will focus on the implementation of practical solutions that take into account the financial reality and the local management tools and that it be accompanied by documents that will facilitate its updating (e.g., project sheets, monitoring.) … Related to financial management, the plan allows adjusting quickly if a project cannot be achieved or if new priorities arise." *

Is obtaining, by referendum, the postponement of the adoption of the review project and attached regulation after the municipal elections of November 5 to allow, according to the argument supported by a group of opponents to the current administration, further analysis by the population of its many facets, the way to go?

For those who want a significant change of policy in the administration of the municipality in terms of its development and its planning, or even the election of spokesmen advocating such an approach, the answer is obvious. But for this, it will take a very strong mobilization in the population. In addition, as the Thanksgiving (October 9) weekend, and so the departure of most of the seasonal cottagers, is immediately following the adoption of the regulation, it is unlikely, when times come, that the minimum number (370? **) of signatories of the registry needed to force the holding of a referendum is reached... Such referendum could not more be held before the municipal elections. For those who believe that the approach of the outgoing administration is probably well-founded and sufficiently rigorous; that it acted adequately in regard to the consultation; the choice will be different.

Furthermore, what are the risks of rejection of the close adoption of the revision of the plan and of the adjoining regulations? There should not, in our view, be further consultation worthy of the name of all the residents and vacationers before next summer; that would be again to ignore the opinion of part of the population concerned. The plan should then be previously reviewed, under the eye of a revamped Municipal Council. Then, theoretically, there would be so this new series of consultations and amendments. This would therefore cause a serious delay in the adoption of an updated urban plan and would also have a price.

Note: The views expressed here are not those of an expert in urban planning or a guru. The reader will have to ask the right questions. The ultimate session on September 29, in Laurel, might then perhaps be worth the drive.

                                                                                              Carl Chapdelaine                         

*Guide de la prise de décision en urbanisme...
** For a municipality of W-N’s size: QV/10 + 10.5 (QV = qualified voters).

Report on the consultation of Sept. 2nd on the Master Plan

Report of the consultation on the revision of the Urban Master Plan Public meeting of September 2 held at the Montfort Pavilion; presided over by Mayor André Genest. Presentation by Mr. Emmanuel Farmer, Director of the Urban planning service.

-          Contrary to what seemed to be planned, the meeting will take place without interruption until early afternoon. There will be no formation of discussion groups, as at the last January assembly, but simply a question period.
-          By freehand, a vast majority of the crowd that completely fills the room in the Pavilion shows to be from the Montfort sector; a delegation from the Laurel Sector and some participants from the St. Michael's one complete the audience.
-          Maps on the proposed zoning of different sectors of the municipality are displayed on the walls. Each color represents a type of zone assignment.
-          A sheet, "Presentation and summary of the changes to the regulation of urban planning, as well as a summary table on guidelines of land use planning, with their application for each of the three sectors of the Municipality are placed for distribution at the entrance of the Pavilion.
-          The bulk of the presentation will be based on a Power Point prepared by the Planning Department.
-          The Director of the Planning Department will speak in French, with answers and brief abstracts in English for anglophones.
-          The audience will have the opportunity to ask a few requests for clarification throughout the presentation. The question period will eventually allow the more general expression of questions, concerns or comments from residents, as well as of the answers given by the Director and the Mayor.

A resident asked why this revision must be adopted before the elections. The Mayor will answer that the postponement of the process after the reshaping of the Municipal Council would, among other things, mean to come back from far away in the adoption of the Master Plan.

Mr. Farmer
-       Welcomes the contribution of the members of the Planning Advisory Committee (CCU).
-       This is a job of a year and a half, with public consultations in 2016 and January 2017. So we are at the third and last stage before adoption.
-       The  residents will still have the opportunity to say their word on September 29 and the revised Plan will be adopted at the regular meeting of the Council, to be held on October 2 in this same Montfort Pavilion.
-       A referendum (later?) on global adoption (?) of the Plan and associated regulations at the municipal meeting of October 2, will take place only if 370 residents across the Municipality (including vacationers) sign the associated registry.
-       He will state that he is here to present the proposals, answer questions and note any comments, suggestions or opinions; but not to discuss about them.

Vision of development
-          CF. the summary of the urban Plan

Broad guidelines
-          Mr. Farmer gives a picture of the broad guidelines of land use planning.

Summary of amendments to zoning by-law
-          A part of the presentation and the requests for clarification will focus on the review of this summary, point by point. Résumé des modifications
-          The Director of the Planning Department will highlight the will of complete reorganization of the regulation, with as a aims, among other things, a considerable reduction of items and better adaptation to the realities of the territory.
-          A question will be on the authorization of development on the side of the Thurs(t)on Lake, while consecration in parks in most of the municipal land around the Newaygo basin of Lake St-François-Xavier will be repeatedly emphasized in the presentation .

Question period
-          There will be many questions in relation to one or the other point within the presentation.
-          Changes of the regulations relatively to cottage rentals will be object of several exchanges.
-          The example of the consultation on the development to Lac Pelletier project will be among the topics.
-          In the face of the amendment of certain articles of the regulation, the question of acquired rights sparked a few interventions.
-          Notes on the constitution of the CCU (?), which includes contractors, will also raise reactions in the room.
-          Noting that the question of the recreation development was underlying in certain sections of the Plan, the undersigned has proposed the idea of developing a special status for a waterway like Lake St-François-Xavier or more generally a sector such as Montfort/Newaygo. Such status, as in the (wrong) example of «Outfitters with exclusive rights» or the zecs in Quebec, would govern recreational activities at the Lake (quotas of boats, speed for bikes, etc.) and, therefore, their promotion to outside customers. This approach seemed preferable to the confrontation between a free promotion of these activities on the part of the regional authorities and its rejection by many local residents.
But the Director of the Planning Department, while stressing, in separate meeting, that the revision of the Plan was precisely proposing a response to this dilemma, did not see how he could develop such a status.
For his part, Mayor Genest recalled that, initially, the residents of the Montfort sector could complain about the lack of recreational resources, but that opinion seemed to be returned after the recent development of these resources. He emphasized, based on statistics for the entire region, that current equipment could, in fact, mainly be used and appreciated by the residents themselves.
-          Finally, let us mention a request made by the spokesman of the Joint task force - Montfort sector, which is given mission to keep an eye on the development and the implementation of the Urban Master plan. The request, taken up by several players, possibly in consultation, was advocating the postponement of the adoption of the revised Master Plan after the election of a new Council. The reason pointed at was to give more time to the citizens to assess the terms and conditions before taking a decision. This proposal received clear support from the assembly.
Note: The reader is requested to refer to official documents available now or in the future in order to get all the ins and outs of this consultation meeting; the undersigned could not note or understand the content of many interventions.

Translated with the use of Microsoft Translator

Carl Chapdelaine

The municipal urban plan   

Last chance to give your opinion!
No Referendum will be allowed at the whole Municipality level, if requested by 370 inhabitants and on the whole package only!
Talk now; don’t miss this meeting!
(September 2, 2017, Montfort Pavilion)
he Saturday of Labor Day weekend, a public consultation meeting for the whole municipality will take place all day at the Montfort Pavilion. The village was chosen because previous consultations on a draft of the Plan have attracted there the largest number of residents.
Such meetings of consultation should be of interest to you all. The draft revision of the master plan could help shape the evolution of your environment in the medium and longer term. Obviously, the wishes expressed by the residents who participated in the first consultations of July 2016 were retained in the changes or adjustments now proposed by the team of the Director of the Planning Department, Mr. E. Farmer. Furthermore, a quite renewed Council will soon serve at City Hall, and the master plan could well be an important issue in the current election campaign. This Council will decide the fate and the potential application of the regulation. So you have this year a double opportunity to assert your idea about the evolution of your environment and you're perhaps best placed to promote it to the future municipal authorities.
The meeting will take place over the morning and the afternoon. The morning will be devoted to the presentation of the Plan which will inevitably need a few technical explanations of application. You may learn a lot about the challenges of this project of important and long prepared reorientation of urban planning in Wentworth-Nord; a document and regulations undoubtedly essential to the planned administration of the Municipality. The afternoon will allow you to ask your questions, to give your opinions and to follow the debate. If the formula used on January 14 reappears, discussion groups will then be set-up and will eventually each choose a spokesperson to articulate the ideas that the group will have discussed, as well as their conclusions and recommendations if such is the case. Report on the consultation of January 14, 2017
Specifically, what are the challenges of this operation of urban planning? Already, have a look at the Plan summary. The development vision naturally focuses on the growth of the municipality, with residential and economic development essential for the increase of the services required. This development must however take into account the maintenance of the quality of the environment and avoid "the multiplication and the under-utilization of the infrastructure."
This vision is reflected in the "proposed guidelines" and differentiated according to the three sectors of the municipality. However, the avenue for the development of a 'village sector' with trade and related services added to tourist and recreational activities for example, more acceptable to residents of Laurel as to those of Montfort, do not correspond to the respective geographic accessibility of these two villages. Concretely, in the Plan, these directions must take form in the zoning assignments to be determined. They will be similarly enforced by planning regulations proposed.
You may already have a detailed and well done presentation of the municipality of Wentworth-Nord, with its historical aspects, its geography, its demographics, etc., by consulting the working paper of the draft revision of the plan of urban planning as indicated in paragraph 2 above. You are also invited ‘to submit your comments and questions by e-mail now to the Director of the Planning Department at: urbanisme@wentworth-nord.ca '. Well targeted responses could then be presented to you at the meeting of September 2nd.

Carl Chapdelaine

A local coordinating committee?

Such a committee, on which would sit the municipality on one side and residents or their spokespersons on the other side, could exist at Lake St. Francois-Xavier. Unthinkable once, the democratization of municipal administration is increasing in Quebec; but one imagines that it can at the same time become very binding on authorities. The process, in tiers from information to consultation and concertation, also runs between participation limited to groups of the community up to until involving the private resident. It may cover one or more areas; think of the regional planning, tourism, leisure, etc. This dialogue implies that the parties seek to agree on the issues and proposed actions. It respects the administrative authority; however, the latter should, in return, take into account the interventions from the community.
In fact, the Committee on Orphaned lands once seemed to be the precursor of such a dialogue table. Mr. Serge Larochelle, then Director of the Planning Department, was its Secretary, and it was chaired by Mr. André Soucy, having become Municipal Councillor of the district after having been president of the Lake association. It brought together representatives of organizations and entrepreneurs of the community while ensuring all councillors to be an ex officio member. But this committee was rather in the image of one of the current advisory municipal committees, framed by well-defined mandates and sometimes closer to municipal concerns than issues put forward by the community. However, it allowed its members from the latter to have privileged access to relevant information on the issues. An independent committee and dedicated to a cause in particular, by the example of the one on arts and culture in Wentworth-Nord, may also be a source of achievements (heritage tour, micro-libraries and soon a farmer’s market).
To ensure, in the future, that the launch of projects such as the Thurs(t)on Road, the Orphans’ Trail, the installation of a public dock at the foot of the Pavilion, the promotion of tourism and regional recreational leisure targeting Montfort-Newaygo by the municipality and the MRC, etc., is not at odds with the expectations of the community, would a mechanism of consultation with residents such as established on the implementation of the development master plan not be welcome?
The members of this table would not systematically be bounded to secrecy and residents would have, by any means, access to their deliberations. One would so assume an opened and representative participation of residents and of the existing local organizations alongside municipal officials on such table. However, the municipality would be in charge of providing it with administrative and logistical support. The Environmental Committee of the Associations of Lakes/Municipality, formerly chaired by Ms. Julie Brown and picked up by the current Director of the Department of the environment in the form of meetings held twice a year, would be close to this project. The initiative of creating a local group of monitoring of the development master plan of the municipality by its Urbanism Department is also part of a parallel approach.
The table could bring together all communities in the East sector of the municipality or be limited to those of Montfort. The municipality, the MRC maybe, and organizations would be ex officio members. One can imagine that, to ensure representative participation of residents, any formal or informal group formed of four or five members, as well as a delegate of the few local entrepreneurs, would be entitled to be represented at this table.  The rules of its operation would certainly require a development work and would benefit from being copied on any model already existing. Among these rules, the idea that any proposal supported by a percentage to be determined of its members be placed on the agenda of a meeting of the table seems promising to us. The date of the meetings of the table should probably be fixed as is that of municipal meetings and frequency of those meetings pre-evaluated according to availability and the number of subjects to be looked-upon.
If so the development master plan prepared by the municipality is subject to consultation, why not take a similar approach in other areas where the community asks to be consulted and where sometimes the missteps of the past experiences seem to justify their aspirations? All must be formulated so as not to cause paralysis in the action of the leaders that the population has elected to ensure the smooth operation of the municipality and the MRC. The proposal is therefore not to be applied without prior assessment.  
Would the proximity of municipal elections not be the appropriate occasion to ask prospective candidates for the positions of Prefect, Mayor and Councillors to pronounce on such a project or any similar initiative of democratization of the administration?          

Carl Chapdelaine

Quoi recycler?

Vous le faisiez déjà bien? Mais regardiez-vous bien dans le fond des bouchons de bouteille pour y relever le code approprié?

Terrains orphelins

La municipalité de Wentworth-Nord a créé le Comité des terrains orphelins dans le but de déterminer la vocation de ces lots abandonnés par leurs propriétaires et qu'elle a récupérés grâce à la loi 212. Le comité est un organisme consultatif. M. André Soucy, qui représentait l'association sur ce comité, y siège maintenant plutôt en tant que conseiller du district et il en est le président.
Au lac Saint-François-Xavier, les «terrains orphelins» qui font ici l'objet de l'attention du comité, sont situés principalement autour de la partie ouest de la section Newaygo du lac, non accessible par route.
Parmi les objectifs sur lesquels se penche le comité, il y a :
-Permettre, s'il y a lieu et si possible, de faire correspondre la superficie des terrains bâtis à «l'espace viable» requis selon les normes d'aujourd'hui.
-Donner un accès par voie terrestre à chacune de ces mêmes propriétés; mais sans que ce dernier ne débouche sur le corridor aérobique. Construction de voies d'accès donc; mais pas nécessairement sur l'emplacement des rues projetées sur l'ancien cadastre.
-Conserver la majeure partie des terrains, non utilisés pour les deux objectifs précédents, en espaces verts.
La disponibilité nouvelle des terrains orphelins serait une occasion unique de procéder au désenclavement des propriétés. Elle pourrait permettre aux résidents de rendre leurs installations d'évacuation des eaux usées conformes à la réglementation. Ces derniers se verraient aussi assurés de l'accès aux services publics et privés dont jouissent déjà les autres résidents.

Face au projet de voies d'accès ou autre, l'ALSFX a-t-elle déjà fait son choix? Elle peut en tout cas rappeler sa mission de voir à la protection du lac Saint-François-Xavier. Mais quelle est l'évaluation du bilan global de ces projets en rapport avec leurs objectifs?

La construction de voies d'accès, de bretelles individuelles de raccordement et d'autant d'aires de stationnement pourrait causer un accroissement ponctuel de la sédimentation destinée au lac ainsi que des effets permanents dans le même sens. La MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut rappelle que la mauvaise gestion de l'érosion causée par ce type de réalisations est l'une des principales causes de l'eutrophisation des lacs au Québec.
Carl Chapdelaine