Quebec City trying to balance needs of locals and tourists this summer
Once again, thousands of tourists are coming to Quebec City to discover one of North America's oldest settlements.
However, some locals feel that the increased foot traffic is creating significant problems in the city.
They find that Old Quebec is losing its authenticity.
"The population is diminishing, is decreasing," said Francois Marchand, a lawyer and urban planner who works in the area. "We've lost 500 people in Vieux Quebec in the last ten years. That's about 10 percent of the 5,000 people."
Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city wants to retain that status.
However, those who live there say that the traditional streets within the old walls have changed drastically, mostly thanks to tourists and visitors.
Those tourists often come on massive cruise ships that dock in the port.
"The problems are especially in the summer because there are traffic jams, noise, and too many people in the same place at the same time," said Marchand. "So residential life is more and more difficult, and of course there's a lack of services also."
Marchand was referring to the fact that there is no longer any grocery store or SAQ in the area.
Old Quebec's famous market is also moving to another location.
Still, shopkeepers and restaurant owners are salivating over the increase in business.
"When we talk to shopkeepers in the Quartier Petit Champlain, they're very happy about all the tourists coming," said Marie-Josee Savard, the vice-president of the Quebec City Executive Committee.
The key, according to officials, is to balance the needs of everyone.
"The main thing to say is that we have to protect Old Quebec," said Nathalie Roy, the provincial minister for culture.
"It's a wonderful place and we love tourists, but everything has to be done in harmony."