Jan 20, 2014 -Montrealers will be able to take a dip at a new east-end beach in 2016.
On Monday, Chantal Rouleau, mayor of Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles, announced the winner of a design competition for the Plage de l'est, at Bellerive St. and 94th Ave. in Pointe-aux-Trembles.
The project is part of the east-end borough's Plan bleu-vert (blue-green plan), adopted in May, to rehabilitate and provide public access to its 24-kilometre waterfront.
"This is a dream come true," said Rouleau, who has championed the project since 2010.
She said the new beach, on the site of the former Beaudoin marina, will "give back access to the river to our fellow citizens."
Access to the beach will be free of charge, she said. It is intended primarily for borough and city residents, but anyone will be able to go, Rouleau added.
The borough rezoned the 1.7-hectare site in June as parkland. The lot was slated for a condo development at one point, but community groups said it should be preserved as a public beach.
Rouleau said tests show the water quality at the future beach ranges from quite good to exceptional, depending on the weather. In rainy weather, water quality tends to be worse because of the risk of contamination when storm drains overflow.
Montreal is surrounded by water but citizens' groups have complained for years that there are few places to swim, even though the river is clean enough.
There are two beaches on the island: the one at Cap St-Jacques nature park and an artificial beach on Île Notre-Dame. The Île Bizard nature park also has a beach.