Still no protection for the Magpie

News 19 December, 2017
  • Photo courtesy
    The Magpie river, located on the North Shore.

    Charles Lecavalier

    Tuesday, 19 December 2017 00:00

    Tuesday, 19 December 2017 00:00

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    The ministry of natural Resources (DNR) wants to preserve the hydroelectric potential of a river to the detriment of a protected area even if Philippe Couillard has stated that the era of big dams was over.

    In an exchange of e-mail obtained by The Newspaper, the ministry of the Environment reveals that the proposed protected area of the watershed of the river Magpie, located on the North Shore, has received a “negative opinion [which] refers to a potential energy” from the NORM.

    This email has been sent to the Society for parks and wilderness (CPAWS Quebec) following a request for information.

    “Systematically obstructed “

    To Alain Branchaud, executive director of CPAWS Quebec, it is altogether a work of “obstruction systematic protected areas” by the department of natural Resources. The Quebec preserves currently stay 9.38 % of its territory, while its target is 17 % by 2020.

    Mr. Branchaud deplores this situation, because it has received assurance from the prime minister Philippe Couillard in August 2017 that the creation of protected areas would be accelerated. Mr. Couillard wanted to reassure the SNAP following a Newspaper article that revealed that Canada is failing its commitment to the protection of the territory, in particular because of Quebec.

    The Magpie river is part of the 10 best whitewater rivers for rafting according to National Geographic. It is located on the North Shore. The ministry of Environment is currently considering a project for a protected area, of which we see the plot above.

    “Respect its commitments “

    In this letter, Mr. Couillard noted that “the government will make every effort to meet its commitments and that all departments concerned had received clear instructions in this direction”.

    In September, the prime minister also said in New York the end of the era of big dams. A few days earlier, the chief of public affairs of Hydro-Québec Serge Abergel said during an event illuminates in front of the headquarters of the company State that the Magpie “is no longer in our strategic plan,” and that the river there, Hydro-Québec, “do not touch”.

    Why, then, the MNR is heading there to protect the hydroelectric potential of this river turbulent prized by rafters, kayakers and canoeists? The MNR, it is argued that “the opinion on the potential [hydro] has not changed”, but that there was no plan of development “currently” on the Magpie. “The river, there is always a potential. If there was protection or not, does not mean that there is a potential. But it’s not part of our plans,” said the spokesman Nicolas Bégin.

    — With the collaboration of Alexandre Robillard