Response to letter

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Regarding Paul Hinch’s letter (July 17 Journal) about the Chats Falls Park project, I would like to clarify the information in it. It is obvious that this letter relates to the first Chats Falls Park concept which was presented in 2010 to the regional partners. Since then, public consultations, advisory committees and local focus groups have been conducted.

Regarding Paul Hinch’s letter (July 17 Journal) about the Chats Falls Park project, I would like to clarify the information in it. It is obvious that this letter relates to the first Chats Falls Park concept which was presented in 2010 to the regional partners. Since then, public consultations, advisory committees and local focus groups have been conducted.
We now have a revised Chats Falls Park concept which relates to the local concerns and takes into account the reality of the area’s residents, cottagers and local businesses. This revised concept will shortly be posted on the Chats Falls Park project website www.saultdeschats.ca.
The yearly influx of 60,000 visitors stated by Mr. Hinch and presented in the first concept, was based on comparable regional parks in Quebec. This number still has to be validated through a thorough market analysis to be conducted this fall. Keep in mind that 60,000 visitors over 360 days is an average of less than 170 persons a day on 43 km2 of land and water.
The revised concept proposes to use the existing access roads and trails, some of which will be improved for walking and cycling. Only light amenities would be built to reduce the impact on the environment such as rough camping, eco-lodge and eco-cabins. There will be no marinas; only docks for canoes and kayaks. Some of the visitors will require more comfortable amenities and other products and services.
This presents business opportunities for neighbouring communities such as Norway Bay (Bristol) and Quyon (Pontiac). The project will also use local suppliers, thus contributing to the local economy.
The Market study, Management plan and Business plan still to come will indicate the costs / benefits of the project, the capital and operational costs and the security measures in and off-season in the Chats Falls Park.
We aim at making the Park self-sustainable financially. We are still years away from cutting the ribbon to a fully developed Park. We are still at the stage of planning and we are taking the time needed. I agree with Mr. Hinch in that we have to settle for pilot projects at the beginning.
Incidentally, we are working at this moment on a modest project that is an itinerant and interactive exhibition called ‘Chats Falls, a hidden treasure in the Pontiac’. This exhibition was opened to the public this past July in Quyon within the Savour the Pontiac activities underlining the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s coming in the Outaouais. It will after travel to different locations in the Pontiac and the Outaouais Region. Atelier Amberbrook, a Quyon business, conceived and built the display; Log’s End of Bristol provided the material; and the CDE Pontiac Sault-des-Chats Park project team did the content setup.
I invite Mr. Hinch and the people of Bristol and Pontiac to visit this exhibition to get hands-on, fresh information on the Chats Falls Park project and to find out about the richness of its biodiversity, the beauty of its landscape and the stunning heritage it conceals.

Marc Fortin,
CDE Pontiac Director
CAMPBELL’S BAY