Surfers stand out for the river

Cover Photo: Nancy Landreville

During my last talk with Logan Landry, I was surprised when he told me that ‘’most surfers lives in Quebec’’. I knew the West Coast of Canada was popular on that aspect, but I never thought of Quebec as a place for surfers, but he was actually right. The surf culture is obviously more present in Quebec during the last few years and it was something intense to see the whole community react about something illogical Montreal decided to do: dumping used water in the Saint Lawrence River.
If it’s not something you are too aware of, let me lead you through an environmental issue that became a political fight.

If Montreal actually dumps used water in the River, it will mean a lot of new issues to deal with. Surfers will, of course, not have access to the unique waves they can surf in Montreal as the high amount of bacteria will be too dangerous for their health. These kind of contamination in the water, which mainly come from residences, industries and merchants, will have an impact on the wildlife, our health and all the different reasons we are using the river for.

Is it something we can support in 2015?


We are not talking about a few millions, the used water Montreal want to dump in the river is approximately 8 billion. The council and the mayor explain that we don’t have the choice to do it because we want to empty a sewer pipe so we can do roadworks, but it became a political debate when other individuals, involved in politics as well, decided to judge the decision (which is fairly normal), but without accepting their own fault. This may be the first time we are hearing about dumping used water in the river, but it happened before. In spring 2003, 10.5 billion was dropped in the river, then directly after, in fall 2003, 7.6 billion. Two years afterwards, 770 million of liter was going straight to our water.

What seemed like a recent news is supposedly a subject the mayor has sent to the Federal Minister of the Environment since 2014, Leona Aglukkaq, but she keeps saying that she wasn’t aware of it and never acknowledge anything that big. While she doesn’t think it’s the only solution, the Environment Minister of Quebec says that it’s the only thing we can do and that his conclusions are based from science itself. If we follow his logic, the dumping should be made between October 15th and November 15th to avoid the impact.

If you are like me and you need to visualize the thing, imagine this: 2600 Olympic pools of toilet waste, waste from hospital and company being dropped in the water to create a dirty river where bacteria will run free and virus won’t be refined.

As soon the mayor announced that news and that the newspaper took it on their charge, we’ve seen that problematic grow bigger and bigger. Until now, the decision is on hold until we are able to make sure it won’t have any effect on us or if we can find a better solution. Until then, surfers fight for what they think deserve to be respected: nature. Our nature, our space, our waves, our river.

45 000 people signed a petition to make their point.
Yesterday, people went in the water to paddle out and share their mindset about the situation.

What do you think about it - does the environment can support that big amount of pollution? Were you at the Paddle Out for the river? 

Crédit: Charles-Olivier Bourque