City eyeing Abord à Plouffe next
By Robert Frank
With the waters surrounding Île Jésus rapidly becoming cleaner, Laval intends to bring back the beaches that were once favourite summer escapes for many Montrealers, until effluent and industrial pollutants fouled the rivers surrounding the city in the 1960s.
“We’re going ahead with the Mille Îles beach in Sainte Rose hopefully,” Abord à Plouffe Councilor Vasilios Karidogiannis told The Suburban. “Plage des baigneurs. That’s in the plans for 2015 to coincide with [Laval’s] 50th anniversary celebrations.”
The city is also considering restoring the former St. Maxime beach in Abord à Plouffe, adjacent to the Lachapelle bridge.
“It’s in the thought process,” Karidogiannis said in an interview. “A lot of work is going ahead there with the rowing club and we’re looking to integrate it with that project.”
Karidogiannis first disclosed his dream of restoring Laval’s beaches in a pre-election interview with The Suburban, last year.
“It takes time,” he conceded. “There are a lot of plans and finances to consider and we have to make sure that the water is clean.”
“We will have to work with the Commission scolaire de Laval on that one, because they own a lot of land around the park and they have a master plan for what is being done at the moment,” he explained. “It’s in the exploration phase. It’s a big project to undertake.”
“I have spoken to a lot of residents who have lived in Abord à Plouffe for a very long time,” he added. “They reminisced about how, when they were youngsters, they used to spend Sundays swimming at the beach with their families. They would like it back for their grandchildren—and certainly I would like it for my kids as well.”
Karidogiannis tempered expectations by underscoring that the city doesn’t intend to rush heedlessly headlong into the project.
“We want to do it right,” he insisted. “It should be attractive and [integrated with] the overall development of the gateway to Laval at the Lachapelle bridge. Tourism Laval is working on something in that respect too.”
“It’s consistent with our election promise to put citizens first,” smiled city executive committee vice-chair David de Cotis, “so they can take advantage of opportunities to swim or boat on the river.”
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