(Quebec) The announcement of “geoLAGON,” a vast subdivision of 600 condominiums around a massive heated swimming pool, has made waves in Charlevoix and worries many elected officials.
Posted at 7:00 am
Even at least one mayor decided to take a public stand against this project. She hopes an outing will spark a discussion about the future of this popular tourist spot.
“This is the first time in my political career that I’ve opposed a project. It’s the first time. But here, it just didn’t happen. It’s unacceptable, in my opinion,” former Mayor and current Mayor of Saint-Urban, Claudette Simard, said in an interview.
The current governor of MRC de Charlevoix says he is “a little surprised by the way it was announced”. Pierre Tremblay, mayor of Les Éboulements, wants to keep some reserves, because he is conservative. But according to him, this project raises “questions” and is worthy of discussion among local elected officials.
The June 7 announcement surprised many Charlevoise followers. On that day, the geoLAGON promoter announced his intention to eventually build 300 double chalets in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. These 600 units are in part for short-term Airbnb rentals.
The investor promises to build a “lake” on the land, bounded by Route 138 and a high voltage line from Hydro-Québec, at the Main Street axis. This shallow above-ground pool must be heated year-round to 38°C using a mix of clean energy, but will still be connected to the electricity grid. The technology is about to be patented, again according to its promoter.
“We want to prove that we can create a village of 2,000 people, completely independent of the energy of the sun and the earth,” explains Louis Massicot, who has similar projects in the Laurentians (in Sainte-Adèle), in Estée and in Lanaudière.
On the day of the announcement, the municipality said it welcomed the project “with enthusiasm”, and council members expressed their “happiness”.
“There is concern”
However, the project was also not received by all citizens.
“There is anxiety among the residents, not just in the Petit-Rivieres, even in Bay-Saint-Paul,” said Michael Bilott, mayor of Baie-Saint-Paul.
I’m not the mayor of Petite-Rivière, but like everyone else this raises my concern about the environment, but also about the preservation of Charlevoix’s character. We are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We have concerns.
Michel Bilott, Mayor of Bay St Paul
He believes that this project should be discussed in the MRC’s Council of Mayors. The question is simple: “What do we want Charlevois to look like in the future?” asks Mr. Pilot.
The mayor of Saint-Urban said she was “shocked” by the press release from Petit-Riviere Saint-François.
“We have worked with Petite-Rivière for many years to implement incredible large-scale projects for the municipality,” says Claudette Simard, referring specifically to the resort of Le Massif or the opening of Club Med.
“And there, this project arrived, the MRC was not informed, not even consulted, which the elected official regretted. Regulations might allow them to undertake such a project, but it seems to me that we should have discussed it together.”
“We don’t need that”
She wonders if this project is “essential”. “We don’t need to. What we need in our area is to welcome newcomers, to have workers, housing…that’s what I think. I speak with my heart. Above my abilities. I am really frustrated.”
Adding these 300 double chalets is no small feat for the municipality of 810 residents. Just before the last municipal elections, the municipality estimated that 300 homes were built on its territory in … 12 years. Here, the promoter hopes to erect 600 units within a few years.
The mayor of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François wants to reassure opponents: his support for the project is conditional on obtaining all necessary permits from the promoters and complying with the development plan.
” But [le promoteur] Publicity and promotion began to sell its land. There, people realized that we gave the final approval, as Jean-Guy Bouchard explained. But this is not the case. He has to go through all the steps, and he does. »
The promoter indicated on his site that since Tuesday he has sold nearly 60% of the 150 double rental chalets in the first phase of the project.
The Quebec Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MELCC) is currently unable to determine whether a “geoLAGON”, which must have an area of 120,000 square feet, will need a permit. “MELCC has not received any request for permission and has not been directly informed of these projects,” a spokesperson notes.
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