Red River: Opponents fear housing construction

A dozen entrepreneurs who wish to build homes in the Red River corridor, the “jewel of rafting” that Hydro-Quebec plans to privatize, have contacted the owner of the neighboring land that serves as the main access to this property territory.

Tommie Lopes, who owns a 40-acre parcel of land adjacent to Hydro-Quebec’s Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, has been contacted several times by people interested in investing. He fears that those who will get their hands on the Rouge corridor will end up denaturing this unique place in Quebec, in addition to ending the rafting industry that welcomes more than 20,000 participants each year.

“Yes, the development scheme requires the future buyer to make recreational and tourist use,” he says. However, this word can be interpreted in many ways … Also, we know that by pulling the right strings, a zoning, it changes. ”

Hydro-Quebec’s decision to sell the 4.7 square kilometers of the Red River corridor provoked an outcry. Fondation Rivies wrote to Prime Minister Francois Legault denouncing the project.

For singer-songwriter Paul Piche, godfather of the Red River at the Rivières Foundation, the Quebec government must “protect and make accessible” such magisterial places as the Red River corridor.

“Everyone seems well-intentioned on this issue, but no one is heading for the idea of ​​protecting this territory,” says Mr. Piche. It would take the government’s intervention. The rapids, the falls, are absolutely inspiring places. They are cathedrals of water. ”

Protection in question

A source familiar with the matter at Hydro-Quebec regrets that the municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge has co-signed the letter sent to the Premier by the Rivers Foundation when, in the past, it had rather expressed an interest in buying the Red River Corridor provided that the rafting companies no longer have access to it.

“The municipality is asking for protection, but it refused to buy the land when Hydro was ready to sell it at a discount. The municipality wanted the land, but only if there were no more people going rafting. ”

At the microphone of Paul Arcand, yesterday morning, the president of Hydro-Quebec, Eric Martel, said he would study the sale of the Red River corridor in the coming days.

“It’s clear that [preserving the tourism industry] is going to be one of the important factors in the decision,” he said, without going so far as to commit to preserving the leases, which allowed Red River rafting industry to flourish and become a reference in North America.