The organization has been working to limit the proliferation of this invasive mollusc, in particular through scuba diving since the beginning of spring. The director general of Bleu Massawippi, Michèle Gérin, maintains that the organization has been trying for a long time to raise awareness in the Municipality of the problem of its municipal public descent.

We have been trying to tell the Municipality of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley for years that public raids are a vector of contamination. We know that there are several illegal descents, because it is a rule to wash your boat before going down into Lake Massawippi.

However, the Municipality does not check if the boats have indeed been cleaned or if the boaters stay only on the same body of water. She has instead chosen to limit access to residents of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley who have proof of ownership of a boat. They can obtain a key from the municipality to access the descent, which is protected by a padlocked fence.

Michèle Gérin maintains that this method does not work, and that surveillance must be increased to prevent the presence of unauthorized persons.

We did everything, we installed surveillance cameras with the collaboration of Sainte-Catherine, but nothing more is ever done than putting a [cadenas] with a key that goes everywhere. »

A quote from Michèle Gérin, General Manager of Bleu Massawippi

The organization also regrets that the Municipality seems to turn a deaf ear to their requests for a meeting, sweeping the problem into the courtyard of the Regional Park.

It’s not to prohibit access, it’s that access be safe. We know that boats traveling from lake to lake are vectors of contamination […] Since November, we have been trying to mobilize the municipalities. Things are going relatively well, except in Sainte-Catherine.

Zebra mussels in Lake Massawippi currently measure a few millimeters.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Not a problem, according to the mayor

Jacques Demers, mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, denies being lax in this matter. He says for his part that no one has come to complain about this problem to the municipal council, and that the keys used for the barriers cannot be replicated.

It’s really for local people, who have proof of own boat ownership, who can access this descent […] If someone was caught passing that key to someone else, that person would be penalized. It’s not something we wanthe says.

The descent to Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley in Lake Massawippi.

The descent from Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley is protected by a padlocked fence.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Moreover, he argues that attendance at this descent is not sufficient to justify the hiring of a full-time supervisor. It is a very limited municipal descent, he says. there is no overflow on that side, it can be observed easily.

However, he says that the Municipality’s environmental committee is trying to find ways to tighten the rules. In the meantime, monitoring is done on an ad hoc basis.

Personally, it often happens that I stop, I check. People from the municipality do it. A closed barrier is the best proof that it is not an open space. It is probably one of the most guarded spaceshe says.

With information from Marion Bérubé and Arianne Béland

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