Verdun residents argue over where to put local beach

WATCH ABOVE: A petition has gathered over 1,000 signatures to move the location of a proposed Verdun beach to an alternate site. Felicia Parrillo reports.

MONTREAL – Since July 1, Hélène Pitre has been gathering signatures for a petition to move the location of a Verdun beach.

Right now, the proposed site is near the Natatorium, a pool complex on Lasalle Boulevard that has been around for about 75 years.

Pitre said the site wouldn’t be suited for a beach and she’s already gathered almost 1,500 signatures of people who agree.

She said the petition has been getting so much attention that people have been dropping off signatures in her mailbox.

“I’m hoping to get thousands of people here so the Mayor [of Verdun] will have an idea of what it’s like to have 1,000 people drop in here,” she told Global News.
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Pitre insisted the site isn’t suited for a beach because the area is quiet, and it would disturb the local environment and wildlife.

Instead, she wants the beach to be moved about four kilometres away, near the Verdun auditorium.

Her arguments? There is plenty of parking, the metro is five minutes away, and restaurants and businesses in the area would benefit.

The site where Pitre proposes the beach should be, Tuesday, September 1, 2015. Global News/Noemie Cabana

Karim Boulos, a former Montreal City Councillor, said it could be a good location because it would provide beach-goers with more access to services, stores and public transit.

But that doesn’t mean everyone will be onboard.

“Everyone agrees that the project is great until you put that project in their part of the world,” he told Global News.

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“No matter where you choose to put it, you’re going to tick somebody off.”

David Perkins, whose condo is right by the Saint-Lawrence River said the area doesn’t need a beach.

“My preference is that I want it over there [at the Natatorium],” he said, adding the beach would increase noise in his backyard.

Verdun plans to have the beach built in time for the city’s 375th anniversary in 2017.

The only question that remains, is where to put it?

WATCH: Hélène Pitre presents her petition about the proposed Verdun beach

Pitre handed the petition over Tuesday night at the Verdun borough council meeting.

The borough mayor responded to say he’s glad citizens are exercising their democratic rights, but the decision about where to build the beach will be based on science.


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