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Nearly a hundred people participated in the Grand Splash at the Old Port of Montreal

Grand Splash 2022 - nos événements - baignade à Montréal

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montreal, July 1, 2022 – Many citizens took to the water at the Old Port of Montreal for the traditional Grand Splash, an initiative of Fondation Rivières. While the Port of Quebec today inaugurates the very first port bath in North America, the mobilization in Montreal aims to demand the equivalent at the Quai Jacques-Cartier, where the water is practically always clean and access safe.

The advisor associated with the mayor, Alia Hassan-Cournol, was on site: “We have always believed in access to the banks. Thanks to Fondation Rivières, we have more and more data on water quality and [access to swimming] in the city center, we believe in it. But it must also be done elsewhere in Montreal, in a safe manner and that is our priority. ”, she mentioned.

The former member of Québec Solidaire, Amir Khadir, got involved in the cause: “What the Foundation is doing is great, but it will not be able to solve the problem alone. How can we deal with private property that blocks citizens’ access to the banks? It requires a legislative change and an important political decision. ". Despite the island character of Montreal, its banks still remain largely inaccessible: of nearly 170 km of banks, 120 km are private and only 50 km are accessible to the public.

On the artistic side, the singer and founder of the group Clay and Friends, Mike Clay, was one of the first to take to the water. The group assumed the honorary presidency of this edition. The theme of water is a central element in the approach of the training, which has established its headquarters in Verdun, the only place with a public beach near the center of Montreal.

Huge swimming potential in the Old Port

The water in the Jacques-Cartier basin is of excellent quality in dry weather, that is to say a period without rain at least 48 hours before sampling. According to data from the Aquatic Environments Monitoring Network (RSMA) of the City of Montreal, it met swimming standards (maximum of 200 CFU/100mL) in more than 95 % samples during the summer period, from 2003 to 2021. After an episode of heavy rain, it would be enough to close access to the swimming area over a period of 24 to 72 hours, as at Verdun beach – the duration of closure varying depending on the importance of overflows from the sewer networks .

“A port basin at the Old Port would have the potential to become a real tourist icon for Montreal. The inauguration of a swimming area at this location would represent a significant gesture on the part of the City in terms of ecological transition and adaptation to climate change. » underlines André Bélanger, director of Fondation Rivières.

The Foundation and Earth Day – at the origin of the Grand Splash de Montréal in 2003 – requested a meeting with the directors of the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal to understand the obstacles they see in opening of a swimming area. At present, Fondation Rivières has not heard back.

Remember that a port bath project at the end of the Quai de l'Horloge was abandoned in the summer of 2020. Installed in the St. Lawrence River, outside the protected zone of the Old Port, this port bath project was exposed to a strong current, unlike the Jacques-Cartier basin.

Quality water in more than 50 locations around the island

It is not only at Quai Jacques-Cartier where the water is of good quality: the Foundation noted, earlier this week, the existence of 51 sites accessible from the shores of the island of Montreal where the The water is of good quality for swimming in dry weather. The City has everything it takes to become a North American model of access to the banks, even though it only has three free public access points to natural bodies of water: Verdun Beach, the Parc- nature of Cap-Saint-Jacques and the beach of the Bois-de-L'Île-Bizard nature park (currently closed).

The start of a series of Grand Splash

Several Grand Splashes will take place across the province, between July 1 and 10, in order to challenge elected officials and decision-makers about the importance of providing free public access to swimming and ensuring quality. some water. The population is invited to jump into the water in several locations: in addition to the main event at the Old Port of Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Saint-Lambert, Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel, Sainte-Martine and Saint- Denis-sur-Richelieu, and will also be in this edition.

About Fondation Rivières

For 20 years, Fondation Rivières has worked to preserve, restore and enhance the natural character of rivers and contributes to ensuring water quality and access to water for the Quebec population. Since 2019, the Foundation has been organizing the Grand Splash week.

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Source :
Sophie Lachance
Communications and Mobilization Leader
Fondation Rivières
514-272-2666, ext. 307
communications@fondationrivieres.org

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