Update, (August 5): It appears that citizens and event organizers have come to an 'agreement' on the future of the "poker run" following a heated discussion during the municipal council meeting on August 1; not withstanding the absence of the Maire and lack of municipal leadership. The longest serving municipal councilor, Michel David, pleaded ignorance of Transport Canada's permit requirement(s) even though both he & Maire were on municipal council when town adopted the speed limit laws for the lake. Too funny!
*****M. Jacques P. Dupuis
Ministère de la Sécurité publique
2525, boulevard Laurier, 5e étage
Tour des Laurentides
Québec (Québec) G1V 2L2
RE: “poker run”
The annual “poker run” was held on Saturday July 19, 2008. It looks like a fun event.
Although I am not against the concept of a “poker run”, I do have several concerns:
Planning: Having between 40 and 50 boats, with about twenty 30 to 40-foot “cigarette” boats, from outside the municipality of Lac-Simon visit the lake for a July construction holiday weekend is not good planning on the part of neither the event organizers, nor the municipality. I would argue that there is a limit for any lake in terms of quantity, size, and speed of boats. Moreover, this should not be held in July.
Boat returning to finish line.
Safety: The municipal council and the Maire of Lac-Simon, Serge Thivierge, must have as their priority - safety. Most of the 1550 homeowners refrain from venturing onto the lake during the event. Boats at speeds of upwards 100km/hr is a clear and present danger. These 30 to 40-foot “cigarette” boats are made for the "ocean", not inland lakes.Boat returning to finish line.
Boats returning to finish line.
Boat, with large wake, driving past marina, at faster than necessary speeds?
Children Safety: Children were forced out of the water at the start when 40 to 50 boats left the bridge going north towards Duhamel. The 2 to 3-foot wakes were a clear and present danger to small children playing in the water.
Blocking Bridge traffic: The start area was at the bridge. Boats that were lined up for the start were blocking access to the bridge. Boats coming from Lac-Barriere were forced to weave their way through the maze of stationary “poker run” boats. (see bridge photo) Boat traffic under the bridge must never be blocked.
Helicopter: A helicopter was filming the event. (see video - coming soon) Helicopters hovering 10 feet over the water and boaters, mere meters away from beaches with children, the tree line and homes is a clear and present danger. Was the municipal aware of the helicopter beforehand? Was a municipal permit issued? What are the Transport Canada laws of flying a helicopter at that altitude for such a superfluous event?
Helicopter appearing from Baie Blais, then filming the 50 boats the length of the 10 km long section of the lake, at about 20 feet above water along the shoreline.
Police: There should be a police presence that follows the event in its present state. The regular QPP boat that was on the lake the day after, on Sunday July 20, 2008 must be on the lake during the event. The 2 “seadoos” that were on the lake Saturday July 19 are no match for the over twenty 30 to 40-foot boats that speed up to 100km/hr. Did the municipality request a regular QPP boat during the “poker run”?
Municipal exemptions: I would argue that a majority of citizens of Lac-Simon (80-90%) are against the exemptions the municipality of Lac-Simon gave for this specific event:
- 30-foot maximum is waived
- $100.00 entry fee for boats between 22 & the maximum allowed 30 is reduced to $15.00.
- Boats longer than 30-feet are allowed for the weekend, some entering Friday night; others not leaving till to Monday evening.
Citizen happiness: I would argue that at least 80-90% of the lakefront homeowners are against the “poker run”.
Economic benefits: I would argue that there is little economic benefit for the businesses of the municipalities of Cheneville or Lac-Simon.
Municipal vision: I would argue that the MRC Papineau and Municipality vision of creating a “kayaking” route along the Petite Nation and Lac-Simon is inconsistent with the “poker run”. 40-foot boats at 100km/hr with 2 to 3-foot wakes are a clear and present danger to kayakers, and other small craft. They are inconsistent.
Environment: The shoreline is being damaged with increased erosion by the huge waves, especially at the start when 50 boats leave the bridge/marina going north all at the same time.
Water pollution: Homeowners have complained that the water line of their boats are filthy the day after the "poker run"; probably because of the excessive high octane gasoline of some of the larger boats.
Noise Pollution: Because some boats do not have mufflers or switch them off, just one boat interrupts a conversation on a deck and leads to window closure. The noise is revolting.
*****Thus, I request that the municipality of Lac-Simon:
- legislate a 70 km/hr maximum speed limit for Lac-Simon; Advise Transport Canada of the new law; Have the police enforce such a speed limit;
- stop giving fee access exemptions. All boats entering the waters of Lac-Simon must have there boat cleaned ($15.00) and pay the entrance fee (under 22 feet = $25.00; between 22 & 30 feet = $100.00) as the municipal bylaws require;
- enforce a complete 100% ban on boats greater than 30 feet from entering of Lac-Simon.
- legislate that exhaust mufflers be mandatory on all boats.
A poker run could continue, just respect the aforementioned parameters.
Thanking you in advance.
CC: Sûreté du Québec
Norm MacMillan, Député de Papineau
Ghislain Ménard, Directeur Général de MRC Papineau
Association des Propriétaires du Lac Simon