Don't miss our special E-newsletter #2


To know everything about the diving week, follow our management of the zebra mussel crisis and know the latest recommendations.

Photo: Filippo Ferrario, scientific diver. Searching for zebra mussels on the Mayflower wreck.

Municipal elections : Please vote for Lake Massawippi

Elections tomorrow

The zebra mussel crisis in Lake Massawippi erupted during the middle of the municipal election campaign. All eyes turned to the two mayoral candidates who are seeking a position in North Hatley and Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.

The commitment and determination of the mayors will be crucial in the face of this threat, which must be fought relentlessly. Blue Massawippi has asked questions and obtained answers, but will not take a side. If your vote is for Lake Massawippi, it is up to you to see which candidate will defend it best and be most supportive of our actions.

Two other municipalities, Ayer's Cliff and Hatley, are holding votes tomorrow for council positions.

Thank you for voting!




Q1 Washing station

I strongly believe that the responsibility and consequences around boat washing are far too important to be handled by a private entity. I know for a fact that those hired to perform these duties have been exposed to clients who are angry, impatient, resistant or simply do not see the relevance of boat washing. This cannot and should not be tolerated!

In my opinion, we should have two boat wash stations in North Hatley. One at the Municipal Wharf where Blue Massawippi had its mobile wash station during the reconstruction of our bridge, and another near its current location.

We need to partner with Bleu Massawippi and with the experts who can help us develop a plan for appropriate locations for the washing stations, and the best practices to adopt in this fragile time for our lake and river. Time is of the essence and if we, as stewards of the lake, don't take this seriously and with concrete action now, no one will!


Q2 Regulations, sanctions and patrol

Absolutely! Severe penalties and a permanent patrol are essential at this point.

The goal is not to limit access or penalize; if people respect the rules, there will be no issues. If action is not taken, I fear that the inconvenience people are currently experiencing with respect to limited access will pale in comparison. I am well aware that this will be a long struggle, but we must remain steadfast in our resolve.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Blue Massawippi for their tireless and sometimes thankless work. I can't think of a single argument that would stand in the way of these actions.

Basic research on the effects of the zebra mussel clearly shows that we are at risk of affecting the entire watershed, the ecosystem, the water intake of three municipalities, boating activities, and possibly even property values.

With all these areas threatened, and many more I'm sure, it surely resonates with and affects almost everyone. If action is not taken, I fear the environmental impacts will be more serious than we can even imagine.


Q1 Washing station

Fitting a barrier to the boat ramp is a feasible option, but has its limitations. Also, the source of the problem is much broader. In North Hatley, there are many uncontrolled access points that can be used; so, imagine around the lake. The increase in the number of paddlecraft makes it easier to circumvent the rules. Clever and less conscientious people will quickly find ways to do this. As for the washing station, a complete evaluation of its effectiveness accompanied by recommendations will have to be carried out to guide the necessary future actions.

Because of its location and its identity linked to the lake, North Hatley must exercise a proactive leadership in this situation. We must identify the measures within our reach that must be put in place in the short term to limit the proliferation of the zebra mussel, and those to be deployed in the long term. We must act with urgency without improvising solutions that could undermine the credibility of the entire process.

Q2 Regulations, sanctions and patrol

Deterrent fines are one way to ensure compliance. Its effectiveness will depend on enforcement measures, such as the increased presence of the patrol. In addition to the direct benefits of enforcement, there will be indirect benefits in terms of speed reduction, less wave action near the shoreline and reduced noise levels. However, the resources required will undoubtedly represent a major challenge. Successful efforts will require the implementation of a set of measures that will need to be supported by a sustained communication strategy.

Given its mission, the Régie du lac must bring together all the key players concerned (the municipalities, Blue Massawippi, experts from the various levels of government) in order to discuss and agree upon a realistic action plan that will have reached a consensus, and that will be applied uniformly throughout the entire territory. Waiting any longer is not an option. Nothing should prevent us from starting discussions immediately and identifying the required means that are within reach. During this process, the financial and workforce availability issues will have to be the subject of a distinct, structured approach aimed at identifying potential solutions. I am committed to ensuring that North Hatley demonstrates its leadership in this endeavor.




Note: Candidate Jacques Demers communicated by email with Blue Massawippi on Wednesday indicating: "My answers in the Tribune article published this week are consistent with my thoughts regarding the questions."

Q1 Boat ramp on Ayer’s Cliff road

"We want to see if we can go further with regards to the issue of boat launches. Today, there are all kinds of more modern things, like magnetic cards, cameras..." However, he believes that the management of the keys has improved in the last three years, adding that citizens can not reproduce it.

"If someone loses it, it is more expensive to redo ... "

Mr. Demers also mentioned to the Tribune that he is already working with Blue Massawippi.

Q2 Regulations, sanctions and patrol

"It would be interesting to have a patrol that’s even more present than we have now, both on the Massawippi and on Lake Magog.”

The Tribune also reports that Mr. Demers believes it is the Regional Park that manages the lake.

Mr. Demers did not comment on the possibility of harsher penalties or on the permanence of the patrol, preferring to focus on a greater presence.


Note: Stéphan Molleur communicated with Blue Massawippi by phone and by confirmation email.

Q1 Boat ramp on Ayer’s Cliff road

Both by email and verbally, Mr. Molleur commits to closing the boat ramp on Ayer's Cliff road. Mr. Molleur believes that there should only be one access on this side of the lake.

This commitment is in accordance with those published in the Tribune on November 2nd.

He underlines that given the proximity of Lake Magog which citizens, through their residency status, have access to as well as to Lake Massawippi, free entry with a key and a sticker is no longer a secure solution.

According to Mr. Molleur, diverting boaters to Massawippi beach should be the adopted approach even if it means negotiating conditions for residents, as is done by other municipalities in the Regional Park.


Q2 Regulations, sanctions and patrol

Mr. Molleur is in favour of a permanent patrol that will enforce regulations every day.

He is willing to discuss the need for more severe penalties with other municipalities. "If that is what it takes so that the lake is respected, we'll do it," he concludes.

Powers of the Regional Park :  A reality check

Candidates, mayors and councillors frequently mention that the Regional Park manages the lake. What is the reality?

There is no doubt that managing the lake would be in its mission. As stated in its statutes: "The Board is responsible for: ...the management of Lake Massawippi with respect to the dam, water management, water quality, management of the lake shoreline with the exception of the enforcement of the Boating Restriction Regulations adopted under the Canada Shipping Act and with the exception of the bylaw concerning nuisances and aiming to prevent zebra mussel infestation.” Here are the facts:

  • Each municipality is autonomous and can withdraw from any project at any time. Massawippi Beach is the most obvious case; North Hatley has withdrawn and Massawippi Park is managing the beach in its absence. But this is not the only case.
  • In reality, the management of the patrol has been entrusted to the Memphremagog MRC and is shared with 2 other lakes including Lake Magog, which has been infested with zebra mussels for a long time.
  • In reality, each municipality manages its shoreline with its own inspector and its own vision.
  • In reality, each municipality manages its boat ramps as it wishes and imposes its own vision concerning the necessity of boat washing.
  • In reality, a water quality management policy does not exist in the Regional Park, nor is there a strategic plan for environmental management, adaptation to climate change or the protection of the territory.

The idea of the Regional Park Board managing the lake is a great one. The harmonization of practices, the cooperation and solidarity of the municipalities, and the hiring of shared personnel for all matters relating to Lake Massawippi is ideal.

The reality is quite different: The Regional Park only has the power that each municipality wants to give it; in pieces, and depending on its moods and interests. So unfortunately for the moment, the Regional Park is only managing the lake in the text of its mission.

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