Using motorized vehicles on beaches, campers will damage the ecosystem and cause erosion and the sliding of the beach.
July 23, 2020 15h01
Wild Camping: Gaspé place its beaches under surveillance
Initiative of journalism-local – The Sun
With a problem of wild camping that can worsen, the City of Gaspé sharpens the tone. It will finance the coordination of groups of volunteers to patrol the beaches of the municipality by hammering a single message : obey our beaches.
“It is not true that our beaches will continue to be demolished. We are not going to endure that for a long time,” says the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté. In recent weeks, it has had to intervene many times in what is now called “directory of beaches”.
Since the déconfinement, gaspesian beaches are taken over by campers in the wild, creating a lot of discontent. Littering, disrespect of the premises and use of vehicles on fragile environments are irritating the local residents. The mayor has even called certain areas of the beaches “litter of human”.
The brigade will be formed of volunteers from the community, and should begin its operations over the next few days. “We’ve had messages of people interested and we have our first meeting tonight,” explains the director general of Destination Gaspé, Stéphane Sainte-Croix. The city has granted a budget of$ 10,000 to the organization to pilot this project.
If the form of the interventions is not completely stopped, Mr. Sainte-Croix is envisaged that the brigade made a tour in the evening and in the morning, times when the nomads settle down and leave the beach. “We want to sensitize people in times of the most sensitive, is the arrival and the departure. The target, it is really the awareness. We want to sit down and talk with the world, to explain why one loves and one wants to preserve our beaches, not their type on the fingers,” he adds.
A problem that is growing
In spite of its numerous maneuvers, including the installation of posters prevention, or coordination of an intervention with the ministry of the Environment and the Sûreté du Québec, Mr. Side sees the problem gain momentum, and the growls to be more and more strong in the population. “There are too many people who do not care completely, note Daniel’s Side. People camped out literally in front of the posters of prohibition!”
The mayor of Gaspé, who is also vice-president of the Union of municipalities of Quebec, denounces the cumbersome procedures for the control of the range, for example, through the negotiation of an agreement of management of the beaches, as is the case in only five MRCS in Quebec. “It is not true that we will bear on our shoulders the municipal a folder where you don’t have the leeway to legal action!”, drop the mayor.
It also denounces a lack of resources for the municipalities that must take responsibility for the beaches on their territory, in spite of themselves. “One of the challenges is that there is a lack of resources. Human resources, financial, legal and technical”, he laments. Just like the citizens, the municipal administration feels in a cul-de-sac. “It has its hands tied in a straitjacket of legal. You can’t invent powers that we don’t,” explains Mr. Côté.
Like the population, many actors have spoken out to ask the campers and the various levels of government to address the issue. The mi’kmaq nation of Gespeg, in particular, supports Gaspé in its demands and asked the government to be more proactive in order to protect the beaches.
“On the beaches, the wood failed, so it is important to curb the damages of erosion, is burned without awareness of the consequences. Some migratory birds are disturbed to an excessive extent on their nesting places. There are more major heaps of waste littering the waterways, the beaches, and even the parking lots of highway rest areas,” notes the nation, in a news release.
The member of the parti québecois de Gaspé, Méganne Perry Mélançon, also deplores the situation on the beaches of the peninsula. “Despite that it is allowed by Law to camp on public land, overflows are rated this year and the situation is worrying,” she wrote in a publication on Facebook.
The town of Gaspé has more than 145 miles of coastline on its territory.