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Brief – Consultation on government orientations in land use planning (OGAT): let’s promote public access to bodies of water

Une planche à pagaie est mise à l'eau sur un lac

Fondation Rivières collaborated with Eau Secours as part of a consultation on new government orientations in land use planning (OGAT). The two organizations submitted recommendations presented in the form of a memorandum to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH).

More specifically, the Foundation contributed to the formulation of the 5th recommendation: improve objective 6.2 and expectation 6.2.1 in order to promote free access to bodies of water for swimming and non-motorized water activities. . 

Promote free access to bodies of water for swimming and non-motorized water activities

The Fondation Rivières and Emergency Water support the obligation to list water bodies of recreational interest and to provide means to create or maintain their public access.

Supported by Eau Secours, the Fondation Rivières however proposes two additions which would reinforce the beneficial social and environmental impacts of this measure. It is first important to promote free access to bodies of water for swimming and non-motorized water activities. These activities are less damaging to the environment than motorized activities and are generally the only activities that people with lower incomes can reasonably engage in.

Publish a public access map in Quebec

Furthermore, in order to alleviate the environmental and social pressures associated with recreational tourism activities, it would be appropriate to publish a map of public access on a unified online platform for the entire province. Such a platform could be managed by the provincial government and would make it possible to disperse traffic away from already heavily frequented places by raising awareness of the new access points developed by the MRCs.

  • Modifications to be made, in this sense, to the obligations of the MRC for waiting 6.2.1: Determine any body of water of recreational interest and provide means to create or maintain their public and free access for the swimming and non-motorized activities;
  • Make the list of public accesses accessible on a unified online platform for the entire province.

Other Recommendations

  1. Adopt strategic indicators allowing public, transparent and continuous monitoring of the state of the province's natural water reserves;
  2. Improve Appendix 2.1 by adding other territories of ecological interest to the proposed list;
  3. Review certain formulations such that the orientations; governmental territorial planning (OGAT) allow real protection of the integrity of ecosystems;
  4. Improve Expectation 2.3.3 by defining the possibility, for MRCs, of delimiting “Territories incompatible with the purchase of natural drinking water withdrawal sites”;
  5. Improve objective 6.2 and expectation 6.2.1 to promote free access to bodies of water for swimming and non-motorized water activities (above);
  6. Provide indigenous nations with the power to designate Territories incompatible with mining activity (TIAM) similar or identical to what is currently reserved for the exclusive use of MRCs;
  7. Develop a mechanism (which can be included under orientation #7) requiring potential purchasers of mining titles to inform and consult the occupants of a territory before the issuance of said mining titles under this territory;
  8. Improve Annex 7.1;
  9. Ease the Wait 7.1.3;
  10. Ensure that Expectation 7.2.1 is bidirectional with a view to good reconciliation of land uses;
  11. Repeal article 246 of the Land Use and Urban Planning Act, currently giving priority to mining activity and preventing any real administration of the territory by municipalities and MRCs;
  12. End the current compensation regime at all costs.

Photo : Taiga

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