Water, water everywhere and not a place to get at it. Brome Lake, as everyone keeps telling us, is the jewel of this town. The water running into it attracted the first settlers. The beautiful lake framed by low mountains and glorious sunsets drew the city people who spent their summers here and decided to stay for good.
As is the case in many areas of North America, the lake is not easy to get at. It is ringed by private property. No one set out to deny people access to the lake; it just happened over the years. There are only a few places where the public can launch boats into the lake and none are exclusive to residents of the town.
As pretty as it is, Douglass Beach is small and the parking lot fills up quickly. It is difficult at times for residents, with parking passes, to gain access to enjoy their lake as it attracts more and more visitors each year.
To complicate matters, three levels of government have a say in the management of our lakes. Briefly put, Ottawa has authority over the use of motor boats; Quebec deals with fishing and other recreational activities; and municipalities have a say in the use of shorelines. TBL should help local citizens get more access to Brome Lake, especially given the increasing popularity of non-motorized craft such as kayaks, canoes, rowing sculls, paddle-boards and kite-sailing. To achieve this, TBL has to make it a political priority, and actively seek ways to make it a reality.
For many years, the town has been urged to buy lakefront property. It is only thanks to earlier generous residents that Douglass Beach became public land. It has become even more necessary now to give TBL residents a doorway to what is considered the jewel of the municipality.
The town is thinking about it, and that is a good thing. Doing something sooner than later would be even better.