“All’s well that ends well”. Our fragile lake environment is now much better protected.

The title of this play from Shakespeare (circa 1623) summarizes well the conclusion of the zoning by-law debates around the huge Recreational Development Project ( WITRI) announced at a municipal meeting in Wentworth on February 24, 2019.

Earlier this year, the Township initiated a series of consultation which led to a new zoning by-law which makes such projects impossible. No more large golf courses, no more 100 room hotels, no more activities such as amusement parks, racing tracks (motorcycles, go-carts, automobiles), live-ammunition shooting ranges, marinas, float-plane bases, drive-in theatres in rural and “villégiature” areas such as Lake Louisa and Dunany. Ouf! What a change!

The initial proposal from Wentworth listed in RU-15 – an area between lakes Boyd and Black – a series of recreational activities that were incompatible with life in Dunany. The DCA made representations to the mayor, jointly with the Country Club, and the issue was promptly resolved.

The Lake Louisa Folks are very happy and so are we. Read the latest statement from the Lake Louisa association.

Moreover, the Township has set up a new initiative called WILD Wentworth Investing in Legacy Development. Following is an except from the document.  The full document is here.

” The municipal council voluntarily pledges to reserve a minimum of 3% of its annual budget in a fund called the Wentworth Investment in Legacy Development (WILD). In 2021, that 3% would represent roughly $70,000 annually. These reserved funds will be used for three purposes: to purchase land for conservation, the rehabilitation, evaluation, and establishment of habitats and to provide access for the public to nature. The long term goal of the municipality would be to have minimum 30% of the land in Wentworth permanently conserved either publicly or through partnerships with owners.”

This initiative is to be applauded and deserves our support. Bravo Wentworth!

It is all the more important since approximately 70% of the municipality is owned by only 45 owners, with their homestead surrounded by hundreds of acres.

The other municipalities around Clear and Boyd lakes have not been inactive.

The Township of Gore adopted last year a new urban plan where the key word is consolidate. That is consolidate development in those areas where there is already some development. Moreover, the municipality enforces its by-laws vigorously as I have been able to witness. It is a very good plan that protects its environment, especially the numerous lakes areas.

Gore is also home for Conservation Lakefield, an NGO establish in 2016 by some of its citizens as nature conservation NGO, with charitable status and support from the Township. It’s mission is to preserve, protect and conserve the natural environments, ecosystems and landscapes of high ecological value in and around the Gore region in perpetuity. Another very worthy initiative in Argenteuil that deserves our support. For more imformation, visit their web site by clicking here.

The Town of Lachute has also taken some measures to control development in rural or « villégiature » areas.  To build a new house in a rural environment, the land must now have at least 20,000 square meters, a frontage of 150 meters and direct access to a road. This measure  greatly limits the number of properties that can be built in our area.

The town of Brownsburg-Chatham adopted at the end of July a by-law that prohibits subdivisions in the in northern section of the municipality, that is where a part of Dunany – Clear and Boyd lakes – is located. A good measure. You can read the resolution here (in French).

Many of these by-law changes originate from a policy statement from the Quebec government called Orientation 10. It props up in many conversations about urban planning. Basically, it states that municipalities should concentrate their development in the urbanized areas where infrastructure already exist and not spread it around in rural areas.

Let’s remember that over development around our lakes is a sure way to reduce the quality of its waters.

Migration to the second crown around Montreal has become wild. Demand for construction permits has exploded and our  municipalities are overwhelmed. Same with surveyors and notaries who have huge backlogs. This unexpected demand should somewhat subside as the pandemic fades away.

And let us not forget the MRC d’Argenteuil that has produced a very useful map of our wetlands. Click here to have a good look at it and, as an added bonus, you will also find the evaluation of your neighbour’s property!

Wetlands are very important. They protect us from water pollution by cleaning our water. They protect us from flooding by reducing water sent downstream. They protect us from drought by holding water when conditions are dry. They protect us from climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. This earlier post shows where they are in Dunany.

Finally, a few words about the maintenance of septic systems. They must be cleaned regularity. Every two years if you are a permanent resident, every four years if you are a cottager. Gore, Wentworth and Brownsburg-Chatham monitor this process with the cooperation of the companies that do this kind of work. Owners are also asked to send their invoice to the municipality. But there is no such process in Lachute where there are very few lakes. Those Clear Lake residents should evidently follow the rules established in the neighbouring municipalities.

Your questions are always welcome.

3 thoughts on ““All’s well that ends well”. Our fragile lake environment is now much better protected.

  1. Lynn Palmer

    Great article Jacques! Really highlights the importance of having good By-Laws in place. Definitely moves in the right direction! Thanks.

  2. Claudette Hay

    A sigh of relief that the work people are doing to keep our lake entourage pure, fresh and clean has produced such wonderful results. Thanks for the great explanation about the importance of wetlands.