Should we think more about tourism on the Islands?


Mr. Choinière lives in the Islands for six months a year. He said he felt alerted by a text published in the magazine The News entitled Do tourists kill tourism?

House on the cliff in Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

A house along the coast of L'Étang-du-Nord in the Magdalen Islands near the seaport.

Photo: CBC / Philippe Grenier

He decided to challenge the Madelinots through the social network Facebook, on the Info-Madelinot page.

After reading this article, he explained in his speech, I am convinced of the need for an independent, permanent think tank, which every two years, for example, would provide advice on the impact of tourism on the Islands and measures to mitigate the negative effects of its positive development. Much like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does.

(The tourism), this chicken with golden eggs, deserves to be protected, but also the Madelinots themselves and even more the Islands in their entirety.

Normand Choinière, adopted Madelinot

Recalling that the Islands welcome about 85,000 visitors per year and that the population is 12,500 people, this retiree notes that tourism has environmental impacts, particularly on the management of drinking water, which can be reduced, and that of residual materials, which increase in summer.

Imposing ship docked at Cap-aux-Meules.

Cruise ship docked at the Magdalen Islands

Photo: CBC / Philippe Grenier

He also mentions a major impact on housing, on the availability of accommodation. This is all the more critical as the labor (necessary to operate the machine) that comes from outside adds to the presence of visitorshe judges.

We must have a short and long term vision, says Mr. Choinière. It must be detached from economic and political considerations.

However, he stressed that entities such as the city council or the CTMA should have a say because they have important knowledge, without being the people who think on behalf of the community, he says.

We must preserve the beauty of the Islands. There is much to be done in promoting the image quality of the islands.

Normand Choinière, adopted Madelinot
The Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

The Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-François Deschênes

According to Normand Choinière, the Madelinots seem to be in favor of forming a think tank on the future of tourism. Many commented on the publication and some expressed interest in creating such a group.

It already exists, according to the mayor

According to the Mayor of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Jonathan Lapierre, this new entity would double the work that is already done.

There are issues we face, but we must not create a problem that I do not think is quite a problem right now.

Jonathan Lapierre, Mayor of Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Landscape of Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Landscape of Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Photo: CBC

The tourism industry has developed gradually and in an orderly way, respecting our landscapes and our environment. There were several actions that were asked, recalls Jonathan Lapierre.

The mayor recalls in particular that a tourism development policy framework, with similar concerns, was adopted in 2006 and updated in 2018.

Landscape of Havre Aubert Island of the Magdalen Islands

The island of Havre Aubert

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-François Deschênes

More and more people are asking themselves questions, he says. I'm not saying they're not good, but there are already structures in place that work well.

All this is under control. There are already mechanisms in place, but we must stay on the lookout to correct the situation, if necessary. We have every reason to occupy our territory in a healthy way to leave it for future generations.

Jonathan Lapierre, Mayor of Îles-de-la-Madeleine

The Mayor adds that the Municipality has planned a consultation for the beginning of 2020. The population and the different socio-economic partners will be invited to speak on various topics, including the future of tourism.

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