Martin C. Barry
Officials with the Town of Rosemère are contemplating their next move following the closing over the past summer of the Tylee Marsh boardwalk, a popular nature attraction along the Rivière des Mille Îles waterfront which has been shut for safety reasons.
According to Rosemère mayor Eric Westram, areas of the boardwalk’s wooden platform have been initially assessed as unstable, although the town’s public works department hasn’t yet determined exactly what the problem is.
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Unsure of problem
“We’re not sure whether it’s the structure itself,” he said in an interview with the North Shore News. “We’re having an engineer check it. It could be that we need to replace it totally. The whole structure is in bad shape.”
According to Westram, the boardwalk is slated to remain closed at least until next summer. He explained what the town plans to do until then. “We’re waiting for the engineer’s report,” he said.
“If he tells us that it’s just a few things to repair here and there, then it will go quick. But if we need to replace it all then we’ll have to go back to the environment minister, because everything we do where there are ponds and marshes we have to have their authorization.”
The boardwalk through the Tylee Marsh was a project completed by the Town of Rosemère around 13 years ago. Located on Grande Côte Rd. behind the Memorial Community Centre, the boardwalk takes strollers out through the dense Tylee Marsh straddling the Mille Îles River.
Has been getting worse
It is a highly unique attraction that draws not only local residents, but also people from all over the Montreal region eager to experience a river marsh up close. “Was it built wrongly?” Westram asked. “We don’t know at this point. Was there something wrong with the pylons? All we know for sure is that it’s been in bad shape for years.”
Although the boardwalk is officially closed off, some people have been spotted jumping over the barrier and going out over the marsh on the structure anyway. Westram pointed out that the Quebec environment ministry’s mandate to protect wetlands and marshes (with rules that have become stricter in recent years) could make efforts to restore the boardwalk more complex.
Safety warnings posted
While the mayor said he was unaware of any incidents, he noted that an initial inspection revealed that parts of the structure have come loose and are moving and that the conclusion was that part or all of the structure might not be stable.
“That’s why we put signs to tell people that it’s dangerous, but some people are still using it,” he added. All the same, Westram said the town is committed to restoring the Tylee Marsh boardwalk no matter what. “We will fix it or rebuild it – that’s for sure,” said Westram. “We’re still waiting to see what needs to be done.”