Montreal to get new public waterfront as Lachine marina is repurposed for swimming and more
MONTREAL -- After this year, the Lachine marina won’t be the same again.
That’s a good thing, says Lachine’s mayor. It’s time “to give the waterfront back to the people,” says Mayor Maja Vodanovic.
Ironically, it was damage to the area that ended up being a turning point. After the 2017 floods, the marina needed millions of dollars’ worth of repairs, she said.
Right now the marina, despite being on public land, is only accessible for the owners of private boats. Vodanovic says she couldn’t justify the idea of spending all that taxpayer money to serve fewer than 500 boats.
She did the math: “16.5 million dollars... which is about 20,000 per boat,” she said.
Now the city has a new plan: it’ll spend $25 million to transform the marina into a waterfront park that will allow swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
It will also include a new preserved wetland for local wildlife.
Life-long boaters aren’t happy about the news and some said they were surprised, feeling that "the city and the mayor [are] just doing things without talking to the people,” as one said.
"I guess if I were a person that likes to swim I would be very happy, but unfortunately I don't even know how to swim, so I would prefer if it’s still a marina.”
Vodanovic says the decision was made in the spirit of democratizing the waterfront, opening it up to the public. She said she also hopes it’ll be a boon for local businesses.
“If we just put docks and you can swim, can you imagine the attraction for Montrealers?” she said.
“For everybody to come and to enjoy... We're going to be better than Verdun!"
All this means that there are just a few more months of Lachine boat parking. The contracts to build the new beach and wetland are currently up for tender.