A peaceful slice of nature just behind the Verdun auditorium, the borough’s waterfront area is already a popular spot with joggers, power walkers, or anyone looking to take a break.

It was also supposed to be the site of the Verdun beach, a project proposed as part of the city’s 375th anniversary—one that was expected to be ready for opening sometime this summer.   

It was slated to be an ambitious project, one with cascading gardens and a sandy beach.

And if the initial contract bids are any indication, the price point for the project is just as ambitious.

While the borough’s rough estimate for the project was approximately $3 million dollars, the lowest contract bid came in at a whopping 52 per cent higher than was anticipated. As a result, council rejected all bids to develop the project.

Verdun had already begun felling trees in preparation for the beach’s construction, but the borough council called off its original plans.

However, some residents aren’t surprised by the turnaround in plans.

Moving forward, the borough says that the new plans will be less zealous. Project planners will keep the area more natural, reducing the presence of pavement and concrete.

Verdun city councilor Sterling Downey explains that reducing the scope of the project is good news,

“Being able to walk down and see all the different types of birds, see all the snakes and frogs and everything that exists here—you don’t want to destroy that by completely making an artificial environment,” Downey said.

Earlier plans had situated the beach near wetlands, and residents fought to have it moved. Even with a new proposed location, Downey says that there were no public consultations held and believes that the city is rushing things through.  

“In my opinion, that’s still an error,” Downey said. “Do it right and do it for the right reasons, so Montrealers and Verduners can benefit from a really well-done project.”