5. Presentation

5.4 Use Areas

Darvard Island and the west bank of the Richelieu should remain natural zones reserved for “free” or “informal” activities— that is, recreational and non-organized activities that do not require any sport -or competition- related framework or any major infrastructure. Recreational activities on the island should not interfere with the preservation of the red pine stand or with interpretation activities.

Recreational activities will be concentrated near the existing lock (walking, relaxing, boat watching, etc.) or around the island (picnics, hiking along the existing network of paths, etc.). Open areas on the west bank will also be used for picnicking.

The riverbanks could be made accessible to sports fishing at selected periods compatible with species preservation. However, for reasons of safety and incompatibility, fishing will be banned near the lock, dam and fish ladder.

The dam will serve as a link between the west bank of the Richelieu and Darvard Island. Parks Canada’s decision to limit usage to pedestrians and maintenance vehicles is motivated by the need to preserve the character of the island and to maintain an area of free activity on the island and the west bank.23 Considering the crowding that occurs on the east and west banks and on Darvard Island, we have been prompted to forbid cycling on the Saint-Ours Canal property; cyclists will now have to walk in these areas. Bike racks will be available on both banks and on Darvard Island.

Finally, the need for maintenance vehicles on the island will be reduced by using the eastern tip of the dam as a workshop and storage area. Moving the existing workshop and rehabilitating the adjacent parking lot will also facilitate presentation of the remains of the old canal operations buildings.

23 In winter, the dam could be used by snowmobiles, subject to an environmental impact assessment and an agreement with the principal stakeholders.

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