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