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Chelsea to spend $100K to find ‘potential swim sites’

February 23rd,2024 | News

Chelsea has commissioned Sauvetage Québec for $100,000 to identify potential public swimming sites along Gatineau River. Low Down file photo

Chelsea plans to spend $100,000 figuring out how to swim in the Gatineau River. 

In the municipality’s triennial capital expenditure plan, released in December 2023, Chelsea earmarked $100,000 for “community access to the river,” according to an explanatory document posted on the municipality’s website. 

When the Low Down asked the municipality what this money would be used for, spokesperson Ghislaine Grenier explained that it is intended “to develop an initial access point for swimming in the area.” 

“The administration has commissioned Sauvetage Québec to conduct an audit of potential swimming sites along the river and applicable regulations for implementation,” she said. 

Grenier added that the development “may not take place in 2024 and could be postponed to 2025, depending on applicable legislative restrictions to ensure the safety of users.” 

Locals have always found ways to swim in the Gatineau River, using private or community-owned docks, but there has been a recent push from council to municipalize docks and open public access points along the river, which has caused tension in some neighbourhoods. 

In Farm Point, where residents have been sharing community docks for decades, there was an outcry when council passed a controversial bylaw to eliminate these docks or take them over to be made public. 

The bylaw was temporarily suspended in May 2023, but that suspension will end in April this year. 

The question of where to create a public swimming location has been around for years: the municipality held a public consultation on the issue back in February 2021. 

There are currently no public access points for to the Gatineau River the municipality is promoting for public use. 

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