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Citizens launch campaign in support of Lachine Marina demolition

Click to play video 'Citizens launch campaign in support of Lachine Marina demolition' Citizens launch campaign in support of Lachine Marina demolition
WATCH: The debate over the future of the Lachine Marina is heating up. Boat owners who use the site and some residents oppose city plan to transform the marina into a huge waterfront park. But other residents have now launched a campaign to back the municipality because they believe the plan for the park is better for the community and the environment. Global's Phil Carpenter has the story – Sep 5, 2020

The debate over the future of the Lachine Marina is heating up.

Residents have now launched a campaign to back the city’s plans to transform the marina into a waterfront park, because they believe the plan for the park is better for the community and the environment.

Richard Cabana said he’s been rowing near the area for about two decades and has noticed that the erosion along the shoreline has gotten worse.

“You can see how the land has slowly deteriorated and you see more roots from the trees, you see more damage from the rocks coming off,” he told Global News.

He said it’s one reason he supports the plan for the park.

Read more: Boat owners call for public consultations over city’s transformation plans for Lachine Marina

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“It’s just a beautiful place for people to have a retreat,” he noted.

The marina sits on a peninsula between Rene Levesque park and the mainland. The city wants to spend between $25 and $30 million over five years to convert the area, including the marina, into a bigger green space.

Boat owners who use the marina launched a campaign to stop the city’s plans. In response, a group of residents have started their own offensive to get the park built.

“We only want all the citizens to have access to that part of land which is actually exclusive to the boat owners,” resident Vicki Grondin explained.

The city owns the land and rents berths to boaters. Only club members can access the land, which is unfair, according to those backing the park.

Read more: Boat owners unhappy with city’s $25M transformation plans for Lachine marina

“Because that part of land is owned by all the citizens of Montreal basically,” Grondin pointed out.

According to the city, upkeep and shoreline repair would cost more than $16 million over five years on top of money they’ve already spent.  People who support the city’s plan build marshes as part of the new park, to solve the erosion, makes more long term sense.  They also point to the pollution because the number of vessels using the space

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“You can smell all of the gas and oil that comes out of these boats, even if their engines are more efficient,” Cabana said.

But boaters point out there is already a lot of green space around and that the marina only takes up a small area. However they insist they are open to making the space more accessible. According to them they made proposals that they believe could address the city’s concerns, but authorities weren’t receptive.

“No, nothing,” said Martine Rochon, who lives in Lachine and owns a boat at the marina. “They totally shut us down entirely.”

Fellow resident who doesn’t own a vessel supports the boat owners, say there must be a way to compromise.

“I don’t understand why it has to be an all or nothing thing,” he argued. “I am absolutely for opening the site and letting people on it, but I don’t see how that excludes having boats on the other side [on the mainland].”

Global News tried to contact the borough of Lachine but without success.

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