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Gaspé launches public consultations on how to protect local beaches

A photographer captures the vista in the south sector of Forillon National Park, in Gaspesie, Que. on Aug. 19, 2016. A member of the Quebec legislature representing the popular tourist region of Gaspe is calling on the province to send police and money to help locals deal with rowdy vacationers.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Cal Woodward.

The city of Gaspé is launching public consultations this week on the future uses of the region’s beaches.

Throughout last summer, the region was overrun by hordes of tourists “lacking in manners,” according to local authorities.

READ MORE: Gaspé beaches overrun with Quebec tourists due to COVID-19 crisis

Some holiday travellers occupied spaces that were not intended for camping, such as beaches, leaving their waste behind, while threatening fragile ecosystems, the authorities said.

Authorities added that tourists went as far as setting up their tents on protected wetlands.

The Member of the National Assembly for Gaspé, Méganne Perry Mélançon, had demanded that the Sûreté du Québec send a greater number of patrol officers to the site to crack down on delinquent tourists.

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She also asked for additional funds to be released by the Quebec government that would allow the most affected Gaspé municipalities to hire security guards responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations.

READ MORE: Tourism ministry unveils $5M to help Quebecers tour province this summer

For his part, the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté, described the situation as “hell.” Mayor Côté said that the issues that arose during the summer of 2020 should not occur again this year.

He announced that discussions are underway with the provincial government for legal powers to be transferred.

The mayor is inviting citizens to fill out a questionnaire that will help the city orient its actions and priorities to better regulate and supervise the various uses of the seven beaches in the municipality.

The city of Gaspé has mandated the Gaspésie ZIP Committee to conduct consultations aimed at gathering residents’ opinions.

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