Linear park “Le P’tit Train du Nord” : usage and activities

The abandoned rail bed, now replaced by the linear park “Le petit-Train-du-Nord”, has a turbulent past, which has given rise to numerous efforts on our part in order to preserve the safety and tranquility of the homeowners adjacent to the trail.

Historical usage of the linear park

This page is available on the website petitehistoiredulacmercier.ca

PL1 (2)Usage :

L’Association du lac Mercier is much in favour of non-polluting activities on the linear park.

The linear park has allowed all those who participate in « green” activities, to enjoy the beautiful landscape bordering the lake, which is a unique attraction requiring preservation.

The objectives of our interventions are:

-maintain the stability of the surface of the linear park because of the numerous contaminants trapped therein, and minimize actions that could alter the surface,

-preserve the vegetal cover along the edge of the track surface in order to return it to it’s original state,

-limit erosion within the few meters that separate the linear park from the lake.

These objectives lead us to oppose any usage that could interfere with the natural state of the linear park by modifying or enlarging the surface of the track.

We must ensure that all regulations currently in place for the protection of the shoreline, be respected and enforced.

During the Fall of 2013, despite our numerous protests, the city council approved the paving of the Linear Park from St-Jovite sector to the “Place de la Gare” in the village. The project was completed in a few weeks shortly afterwards.

Activities:

-Biking and Strolling:

The trail around lac Mercier is a regional tourist attraction. There are not many similar places so conducive to pedestrian strolling, jogging or family cycling with such a spectacular view of the lake.

People come to lac Mercier because of it’s rural atmosphere.

The surface of the trail in stone dust as well as the numerous rest stops, contribute to the natural appearance of this portion of the Linear Park.

Linear park Le P’tit Train du Nord

-Cross country ski:

Agreement was reached between the city and Mont-Tremblant Cross country ski during January 2011, to ensure grooming of the cross-country ski trails on lac Mercier portion of the Linear Park.

Recommendations have been made such that trail grooming be done at a reasonable time, and that barriers impeding motorized vehicles, be left in place permanently.

Lake access along the linear park and MRC rules:

The beach at Lac Mercier

Lac Mercier offers free access for Mont-Tremblant residents, upon presentation of the « Vivre Mont-Tremblant » card, and at very affordable rates for other visitors and vacationers. It is a privileged place for gathering, recreation and relaxation.

The lake is thus accessible to all for swimming, via its sandy beach located on the outskirts of the old village of Mont-Tremblant.

Shows are offered during major events, such as June 24 and July 1. You can also rent watercraft and paddleboards and treat yourself to a good outdoor picnic on tables set up for the occasion.

The beach is open from June 23 to September 2, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

 

The linear park

The “Le P’tit Train du Nord” linear park is the longest linear park in Canada. This 232 km linear trail connects the cities of Bois-des-Filion (within Thérèse-De Blainville MRC) and Mont-Laurier (within Antoine-Labelle MRC). This highly popular byking segment runs along Lake Mercier over 50% of its perimeter and cyclists, runners, walkers and passers-by can discover all the richness and beauty of Lake Mercier.

A stop at the station in the old village of Mont-Tremblant, and a visit to the merchants and restaurateurs, near the public beach, are worth a look.

Le Village

Occupancy of the linear park: contiguous properties (Access rights)

Many property owners living near the linear park have to cross the bike path to access the lake shore. It is the responsibility of the MRC des Laurentides (the “MRC”) and the Ministry of Transport to define, and grant, according to their respective areas of responsibility, access rights to the lake and occupation permits to the right of way of the Linear Park.

At the beginning of unauthorized access and occupation of the shoreline, abuses with regard to deforestation along the linear park, illegal installations of docks, stairs, platforms, sheds and permanent structures, as well as the mooring of boats in unauthorized places, the MRC had to take action in order to counter these abuses, and ensure protection against a significant loss of plant cover along the shoreline.

As part of the project to modify the development plan of the MRC concerning the linear park adopted in winter 2013, the L’Association du lac Mercier actively intervened to ensure the maintenance of environmental protection, and proposed a compromise so that the rights of access to the lake, and the installation of docks are preserved and supervised for our members who are property owners contiguous to the linear park along the shore of lac Mercier.

Since this intervention, the L’Association du lac Mercier remains actively involved in this dossier, and closely follows the files on behalf of its members. In order to propose guidelines and regulations concerning the occupation and use of the shoreline by residents whose property is contiguous to the linear park, a working committee had been created at the MRC. L’Association du lac Mercier has arranged for a representative of the Association to sit on this committee.

A policy authorizing and managing access rights to the lake was adopted by the MRC council of mayors in April 2014.

The implementation of its occupation policy for the area bordering the linear park provides for:

  1. the granting of new occupation permits to current lease holders and owners of land abutting the linear park; granting and renewing the permits meets the requirements clearly specified in the policy;
  2. the granting of a maximum period to non-compliant non permit-holding occupants to standardize their occupation;
  3. the obligation for new holders of occupancy permits to submit to the rules of use;
  4. the obligation to comply with municipal regulations with regard to the protection of the shoreline.

The policy provides that at the end of the prescribed period, no occupancy new permits will be granted or renewed if the occupant does not comply with the provisions of the policy and municipal by-laws.

In August 2016, several owners bordering the linear park, who had submitted their requests for occupancy permits as specified in the occupancy policy, were still awaiting the grant of such occupancy permits.

During 2018 and 2019, the authorities redoubled their efforts, and several occupation permits were issued by the Ministry of Transport to the residents who made the appropriate application. The review and grant process is still underway.

Occupation of portions of the linear park- non contiguous properties:

Following several interventions and representations by the L’Association du lac Mercier to better frame and circumscribe the rights of access to lac Mercier and the occupation rights of its shoreline for its residents and for owners of non-contiguous properties, all the while taking care to preserve and protect its environment and the sine, the MRC confirmed to the L’Association du lac Mercier, on November 26, 2019, that the Ministry of Transport had informed it of its decision to refuse the issue, or renewal, of the occupancy permits for properties that are not contiguous to lac Mercier.

The owners of these non-contiguous properties who has filed official applications will be informed directly by the Ministry of Transport.

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