Montreal surfers will soon have unprecedented access to the popular Vague à Guy in Lasalle. On Thursday, the City of Montreal announced that a contract has been awarded to proceed with the complete revamp of the surfing site. The contractors are planning to provide "permanent access [to the wave] and [stabilizing] the banks to maximize user safety."
As one of the city's few permanent water sports destinations, the Vague à Guy attracts surfers, kayakers, and paddleboarders from across the Island.
The area offers pristine surfing conditions unlike anywhere else in Quebec. The so-called "eternal wave" is created thanks to the Lachine rapids.
In recent years, however, the area has become a victim of its own popularity. The hundreds of surfers that visit the Vague during Montreal's short summer are contributing to noticeable environmental damage.
In a statement, Robert Beaudry, responsible for housing, large parks, and Parc Jean-Drapeau on the executive committee said that "the sector has shown signs of erosion and the banks must be stabilized."
"In this perspective, the development of signposted accesses, as well as the addition of plantations favouring biodiversity, will make it possible to better protect and enhance this unique space."
MTL Blog spoke with Beaudry to find out more about what's planned for the Vague à Guy.
Included in the plans to redevelop the sector is a permanent access stairway to the Vague, including building access paths that will help stabilize the erosion on the banks.
Beaudry explained that the project has a double goal to make access to the site easier while "preserving the biodiversity of the banks of the rivers."
When the installation is complete, Beaudry hopes it will also encourage more people, like first-time surfers and kayakers, to use the water.
The redevelopment plan falls under the guidance of the city's Sustainable Montreal initiative.
The project will commence in fall 2020 with a budget of $2,408,496.
One of the main concerns regarding the sector is environmental damage and erosion.
The City worries that further neglect will irreparably damage the area and limit access to water activities.
Such damage could also have an effect on species that make use of the space, like birds, Beaudry explained.
The project aims to increase vegetation and define a path for humans to get down to the water to prevent future erosion and enable Montrealers to "practice sports without an impact on biodiversity," he said.
By next summer, water sports enthusiasts visiting the Vague à Guy will see these amazing new developments.
"Access to water is wealth for our community and that is why we want to promote the facilities that allow Montrealers to take full advantage of the many bodies of water that surround the island," said Mayor Valérie Plante.