Since its beginning, the Association du Lac Mercier has always been focused on the protection of the environment, and numerous initiatives were undertaken to protect the quality and the health of the lake.
- Cooperation with organizations devoted to the protection of the environment, especially that of lakes, of which:
-Programme des Lacs (1989-1992) sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec (ceased activities in 1992)
-Member of the FAPEL (1989-2002) (the organization has ceased activities recently)
-Conseil Régional en Environnent des Laurentides (CRELA) since 1995
- Request to the municipality for a limnology study (2000)
- Surveillance of “milfoil” growth (since 2003)
- Request for city interventions to limit the spread of milfoil (washing of boats, identification of growth clusters, etc) since 2003
- Commissioning of three studies of the littoral zone, measuring the quality of the lake water, by Louise St-Cyr, biologist (2003, 2007 and 2008)
- Identification of measures to contain and limit the deposition of phosphorus in the lake, following the appearance of blue algae growth (cyanobacteria) in 2007
- Collaboration with the Department of the Environment of the city, in their program of evaluating the quality of Lac Mercier (2004)
- Participation in the Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP)
- An environmental analysis of the tributary streams flowing into lac Mercier, scheduled for 2011, has been postponed.
- In August 2008, the association sponsored an “Evaluation of the littoral zone of lac Mercier”. The study biologist, Louise St-Cyr, identified several dense mats of invasive plants (Eurasian water milfoil, Broad-leaved Pondweed, Elodea). Two large dense mats, composed mostly of Eurasian water milfoil, were identified:
– One dense cluster located near the rock island in front of the public beach
– One dense cluster in the north-west portion of the lake
– Several smaller growths were also found mostly in the southern part of the lake
-The study concluded that there were invasive plants in 6 of the 9 sectors that were sampled.
Protection of the Shoreline
Longstanding involvement in the protection of the shoreline
Conscious of the fragility and the deterioration of the shoreline in several areas, the association has, for some time, undertaken many efforts to improve the condition of the shore.
- Request to the environmental firm (E.A.T) to categorize the shoreline of the lake (1994).
-The established facts are worrisome : 25% of the shoreline is not natural, which is the highest rate in the Province. Also, the lake is classified “vulnerable” because 52% of the shoreline is degraded.
- Published bulletins warning of the problems relating to the erosion of the shoreline, and the impact of over fertilization, mostly with
- Repeated discussions and documentations distributed at the Annual Meetings.
- Development of numerous initiatives to reduce the impact of erosion on the shoreline – since 2004.
- Requests to the city and the MRC to re-forest the shoreline of Lac Mercier along the abandoned railway track (since 2004).
- Participation in the MRC program to re-vegetate the shoreline along the Linear Park.
- Participation with the MRC program to evaluate the forestry resources along the Linear Park, in order to limit the problems of erosion along the abandoned railway line (since 2006).
- Collaboration with the “department of the environment” of the city, to implement an action plan for Lac Mercier (2007).
- Participation and collaboration with the city program to evaluate it’s lakes at 3-yearly intervals.
Hereunder is a summary of the “department of the environment” of the city of Mont-Tremblant in the study of Lac Mercier 2007 report:
#4 : CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
…The city, lakeside residents and our association will implement a program to control external contaminants
The city and the MRC developed an action plan for lac Mercier in 2007 (Laniel, 2007), which would outline the ambitious measures required to protect and improve the ecosystem of the lake
Re-forest the shoreline especially along the linear park
Inspect and/or repair septic systems
Study rain water overflow into the lake from the village sector
Regular monitoring of the blue algae and milfoil blooms.
Usage of the Linear Park
The end of rail activity, and the removal of the tracks in the 1980’s along lac Mercier, marked the beginning of a major dispute between those who wanted the linear park for snowmobiles and those who favoured “green” activities like Nordic skiing.
- In 1990, the association created a committee for the Linear Park, whose specific mandate was to address the problem of the snowmobiles along the abandoned rail bed, and it’s activities included.
-Meetings with snowmobile clubs, and l’ Association Touristique des Laurentides (ATL)
-Submission of a Memorandum, and various representations to the Municipality of Mont-Tremblant the MRC, the CRLL, Canadian Pacific, and the Provincial Government in order to find solutions to reduce the major problems associated with the dense traffic of the snowmobiles, night and day
-Multiple interventions in order to find a detour track for the snowmobiles (1991-1993)
-Because of failure of all consultative measures, a lawsuit was begun.
-Presentation of a request for a Summary Judgement, which would prohibit snowmobiles along the Linear Park (October 1993). The Government of Quebec imposed two injunctions, opposing our legal procedures
-Finally, failure of our legal proceedings because of the decision of Judge Crête (August 1996)
The frozen lake became a race track for snowmobiles during the winters 1992 and 1993.
- The association was mandated to utilize all available measures to protect the rights of residents. Different methods were utilized in an attempt to control the snowmobile activity on the lake (1993-1998)
- Full support to the « Coalition pour la protection de l’environnement du parc lineaire Le petit train du Nord » created later.
-Finally, success with Judge Langlois’s decision on November 30, 2004, permanently prohibiting snowmobiles along the Linear Park from Saint-Faustin-lac-Carré to Labelle
-After several years of delay, the decision was appealed, and it was not until 2009 that the matter was definitively settled in favour of the residents along the linear park.
- Ongoing participation in the dossier relating to future usage of the linear park, including :
-Opposition to the proposal to asphalt the Linear Park (since 2004)
-Constant vigilance in the face of promoter-driven projects for non-ecological activities along the Linear Park
-Opposition to the project of a tourist tram (2006)
-Interventions opposing the project to “renew the Petit train du Nord” (since 2006 and still active)
-Request to the regional municipality to authorize non-motorized activities along the Linear Park i.e. walking, snowshoeing, skiing (since 2005)
- Requests to the Regional Municipality to define the rules, rights and occupation permits along the Linear Park (2005-2014)
-Evaluation of non-authorized occupation of the shoreline at the level of the Linear Park
-Request that formal occupation permits be given, following the installation of numerous new docks and fences along the track (2005)
- Several interventions with various organizations to promote non-polluting “green” activities along the Linear Park
- Actions undertaken to prevent the destabilization of the artificial surface along the Linear Park and to maintain the stability of the rail bed along the shoreline where important contaminants are buried below the surface
- Requests to the Regional Municipality (MRC) to minimize their cutting of vegetation along the park in order to protect the shoreline.
The Association remains equally vigilant in resisting the pressures to pave the surface of the linear park with asphalt.
Lifestyle Quality and Nautical Activities
Chronology of our requests relating to nautical activities on lac Mercier:
Over the years, the Association du lac Mercier has repeatedly receive complaints from lakeside residents and others who want to enjoy tranquil nautical activities. Numerous attempts at compromise and adjustment have been made.
- At the 1991 Annual meeting where 95 members were present, 82 voted for the resolution limiting waterski and towing activities between the hours of 9 AM and 7 PM. After that, the Association:
-Held several discussions amongst users of the lake, in order to harmonize the nautical activities (1990-1991)
-Requested the Municipality of Mont-Tremblant to limit access to the lake by outside boats, via the municipal beach (resolution 1991-371)
-Asked the owners of motorboats to adopt a Code of Ethics relating to the use of motorboats on the lake (1992)
-Distributed information bulletins and held interventions/discussions requesting that the local owners of motorboats restrict the hours of waterskiing between 0900h and 1900h (1992-1999)
-Created of a motorboat committee, because of the need to find solutions to the numerous problems created by certain owners/operators of large motorboats, including those that originated from elsewhere than Lac Mercier
- Discussions, dialogue and multiple attempts at compromise between the lakeside residents and the owners of motorboats, between 1989 and 1999
- At the Annual Meeting of October 1999, it was proposed to ban all motorboats on Lac Mercier.
-November 1999, a survey of the 120 lakefront owners: 72 of the 80 responses (90%) were favourable to a prohibition of all motorboats on Lac Mercier
-Request for an amendment to the regulations relating to restrictions of motorboat activity on Lac Mercier (December 11, 1999) so that all motorboats be banned, and only boats propelled by electric motors be permitted
-In December 1999, the municipal council voted a request supporting a restriction on motorboat activities on the lake (Resolution 1999-704)
-Memorandum presented to the Municipality supporting the prohibition of watercraft propelled by gas motors.
-At a public consultation on June 18, 2000 a large majority of those present supported the Association’s request for restrictions on motorboat activity.
-On August 11, 2000 the Municipal Council voted for the status quo, because there was not unanimity among the interveners.
- Development of a Code of Conduct for nautical activities on the lake.
The Association continued to receive numerous complaints from lakefront residents, concerning the noise of motorboats, and the hours of waterskiing towing (2000-2003)
- Further requests to the Municipality to improve the controls (gate) for boats coming from outside the municipality, at the level of the municipal beach (August 2002). The regulation is implemented in 2003; Request to the Municipality to place obstacles (large rocks) to inhibit the launching of boats near the lake outlet
- Presentation to the Municipality (June 2003), of a revised Code of Ethics relating to usage of the lake and request to provide each motorboat owner with a copy of the Code of Ethics.
The Code addressed the following:
-Control of access to the lake for non-Lac Mercier boats, including the obligatory washing of these craft
-Recommendations relating to the operation of motorboats on the lake keeping a safe distance from the shoreline
-Limiting the hours during which waterskiing was permitted, between 10 h. and 19 h.
- The Association participated in a public consultation meeting on August 23, 2003, which addressed our request for regulations and restrictions on the operation of motorboats on Lac Mercier.
-Despite the opinion of the large majority of those present who supported the request of the Association, the Municipal Council modified the regulations that were requested, in order to accommodate the owners of motorboats; Municipal Council did however support a request an amendment to the Federal Regulations relating to the restrictions of motorboat activity, in order that certain restrictions be applied to Lac Mercier (resolution 2003-645 September 2003)
-This demand for regulation was forwarded by the municipality to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs of Quebec (September 17, 2003) and then on to Transport Canada on June 27, 2005
-This request for regulations is still “under study” and new documentation is required (active dossier)
- The Association du Lac Mercier agreed to the concessions to boat operators included in resolution 2003-645 of September 8, 2003
- Requests to the Municipality to implement more effective measures to control access to the lake via the public beach (since 2003)
- Support for the proposals in federal new statute (Law S-8) to control the nuisance originating from personal watercraft (Sea-Doo) in 2004
- Despite the compromises made by the Association, a group of water-skiers proceeded to create an association (ASRT) in 2006, whose main objective is the rescinding of resolution of regulation 2003-645, which was democratically voted by the city council
- There have been numerous attempts at dialogue and compromise with the water ski group since 2006
- Since 2008, there were meetings between representatives of the Municipality and the Association of Water-skiers, in order to develop more harmonious relationships between all users of the lake.
Lake management committee in 2010
In the context of the Municipality’s policy relating to the access and usage of our lakes during 2010, a lake management committee was created, in order to establish rules and environmental codes of conduct, for each lake in the territory.
In order to ensure the permanence of the lake, it’s accessibility, tranquility and the security of the users, the City has taken the following principles into consideration:
-the importance of putting in place measures to protect the quality of the lake such as the obligatory washing of boats prior to launch,
-the requirement that all operators of motorboats be informed about the environmental and courtesy code of conduct,
-the requirement of enforcing better control over boat launches from the municipal boat ramp,
-the capacity of the lake to safely accommodate additional motorized craft by limiting the number of daily launches to five (5).