Winter activities on the lake

There will be lots of snow this winter, according to the Southern Quebec Weather Network, and it should be colder. “It has the potential for breaking some records for one day or seasonal snowfall,” predicts the website.

Great news, if true, for cross country and downhill skiers and for winter sports on the lake. Last year there was a natural skating rink at Douglass Beach, and winter sports enthusiasts, organizers and officials hope the rink will get more use this winter.

“There wasn’t enough snow from the parking lot at Douglass Beach last year to build a snow mound for kids to slide on,” said 
Johanne Morin, executive director of Lac­-Brome Recreation and Community Services.

Along with encouraging winter sports activity on the lake Ms. Morin also says there are plans for a winter carnival in February.

Marc Pelletier, a local activist who organized the successful Amis de Sentiers, has been actively promoting the expansion of winter activity on Brome Lake.

“We have this spectacular natural resource and we have almost no activities organized on the lake,” said Pelletier. “There has been a lot of talk about winter activity on the lake but we haven’t done much about it.”

He suggests a number of winter pastimes, from the more esoteric such as ice­boating and kite
sailing, to things everyone can do from skating to walking. He
also says a fishing derby might attract some interest.

One of the problems with winter activity, and summer activity for that matter, is access to the lake. Much of the access is privately owned. Public access includes the 130 metre Douglass Beach frontage, and the 230 metres of shoreline at Tiffany Beach. There are small public access points at the end of Benoit Street and another in Bondville, that is in theory for local residents only.

Right now the main winter activity on the lake is ice fishing, something that appeals to a small slice of the population. “In 1990, mayor Gilles Decelles threatened to ban ice fishing on the lake. In 2007, mayor Wisdom threatened to ban all motorized vehicles on the ice. Neither threat was put into effect,” wrote Peter Wade in a 2012 report called: Brome Lake How to Enjoy It All Year.

Marc Pelletier says Douglass Beach should be the main access to Brome Lake winter and summer.