March 25, 1968 (27th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Gilles Grégoire


Mr. Gregoire:

-I know that it is during consideration of the estimates of the Department of Transport, that one must deal with those problems.
As regards pleasure craft, Mr. Chairman, I may have a few things to point out to the minister, for I am especially interested in that problem.
Here is the first. I once had the opportunity of travelling by water from Ottawa to Chicoutimi. It is a very nice trip; the St. Lawrence is magnificent and, the Saguenay tremendous: it is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, and I strongly recommend the trip to those who have never sailed up the Saguenay. It is a most tremendous place! The Ottawa river, from Ottawa to Montreal, is also tremendous-except for the St. Lawrence seaway locks, about which I would like to say a few words later on.
But from Montreal to Quebec city, it is all very smooth sailing. It is true that when the wind drives billows on Lake St. Pierre, it is a bit rough, but just the same, a good pilot will take you through.
However, when you get beyond the island of Orleans, sometimes up to Tadoussac, the river is quite agitated and things are a little
March 25, 1968

hard for pleasure craft. At any rate, those who take the risk consider themselves pretty good sailors and feel they have a rather good craft. Indeed, I took the risk myself, Mr. Chairman.
However, there are some things which could be improved. For example, boats leaving Quebec for Chicoutimi, before entering the Saguenay, have to make a detour towards what is known as the "spinning top". I see the hon. member for Saguenay (Mr. Blouin) knows what I am talking about. It is a lighthouse five miles off-shore, at Tadoussac, warning boats to keep away from the coast because of rocks and sandbanks over a distance of about 3 or 4 miles, which force them to make a detour some 5 miles off the coast.
From Quebec and even from Montreal up to around La Malbaie and even further, up to Cap-a-l'Aigle, there are signposts, luminous buoys and lighthouses which show the way very clearly. But approximately ten miles before reaching the mouth of the Saguenay river, ten miles before reaching the "top", there are no longer any buoys, beacons or signals. Now, if it is the least bit foggy and it is necessary to bear off from the shore, then I know of many captains of small pleasure-boats who, like myself, had to look for a long time-if the visibility is not more than three or four miles-for that famous "top", even though it stands out very high over the water. It can become dangerous, and the boat can be driven off its course, precisely because one has to steer clear of the shore.
Could the minister take this matter under consideration and have the required study conducted in order to add two or three light buoys perhaps which would show us the way to that large beacon located at the entrance of the Saguenay river? I can tell him that many skippers or owners of pleasure craft find it difficult in foggy or rainy weather or in a storm to find that famous light house which is linked to the bottom of the sea, strongly anchored and in fact, which stays there permanently.
The minister might consider that request to add two or three light buoys to help the pleasure craft which want to reach the Saguenay.
Still about pleasure craft, I know that sailing them has become one of the most popular sports or hobbies, and is attracting more and more people. We have become aware lately-I spoke earlier of the journey between Ottawa and Montreal or Quebec city-that there is something which is lagging and
which renders the pleasure navigation very unpleasant. When we leave the Ottawa river come into Lake St. Louis to enter the St. Lawrence, we have to cross two locks in the St. Lawrence seaway.
I did that journey many times. The lock staff is very nice and give assistance to pleasure boats. Of course, when there are 75, 80 or 100 pleasure boats in a lock, and 15 million gallons of water are turned out of the lock to enable the boats to get at a lower or higher level, the water eddies heavily. But, the personnel at the lock-gate is very kind and co-operate fully with those pleasure-boats. It happens however that the pleasure-boats are not the only ones to use the seaway. There are also-and it was mainly for them that it was built-ships from the Great Lakes, from Toronto going to Montreal, to Quebec, to the open sea or still further. It is obvious that those ships, without having priority, will go through before a simple pleasure-boat, as the personnel at the lock-gates will wait until there are many pleasure-boats to let them go through. That means that going through those two lock-gates may take sometimes six or eight hours. On the other hand when a whole party of pleasure-boats comes in at the same time, then they have precedence if their coming was made known beforehand, and the crossing will be a matter of a couple of hours.
But, there would be a way to cope with that. Before the building of the St. Lawrence seaway, there was the Lachine canal that enabled boats to go from Lake St. Louis to the St. Lawrence river. The Lachine canal is still there. It may not be able to absorb the shipping from the great lakes, but it could be used for the pleasure boats. It would be an attraction for the city of Montreal to see all those small pleasure boats use the Lachine canal to pass from the Ottawa river to the St. Lawrence river.
[DOT] (9:30 p.m.)
I wonder if the minister could not take this problem into consideration. I am not asking him to give me an answer tonight because he probably does not have all the data at hand, but he could have an investigation made which might prove advisable to keep the Lachine canal in use for the pleasure boats which will become increasingly numerous. It is a holiday activity which will develop as rapidly as all the others. Might it not be timely to make the necessary survey before the Lachine canal is completely blocked and we then have to get it back in working order

March 25, 1968
for the owners of pleasure boats who might want to use it?
I therefore hope that the hon. minister will be willing to take this into consideration, because it might prove useful to a large part of the population. Some come from Ontario, from the great lakes, there are some from Quebec that go to Ontario and it would encourage the movement of small boats.
I therefore ask the hon. minister to take the matter into consideration, to have a study made of it and perhaps, when his next estimates come up, he can give me an answer on the problem I have just brought up.

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