Located in the heart of the town, Brome Lake is a magnet that draws both visitors and the future residents of our municipality. But as summer recedes, we face the stark reality that the lake has borne an enormous burden. Hordes of visitors flooded the two public access areas; a record number of motorboats criss-crossed the lake all summer long. Fortunately, there were no heavy rainfalls, so the lake remained clear and was not – at least not yet – affected by algae blooms. However, many waterfront owners have noticed increased erosion of the shorelines. This is a wake-up call that our precious, fragile natural jewel needs protection now more than ever. In this context, it is vital we recall that numerous residents have striven over many decades to restore and preserve the lake’s high quality.
In 1961 the Brome Lake Conservation Association was created, with Peter Kerrigan as its first President. In 1987 the collective mobilization that resulted from Imaginaction made the lake its priority. Major problems have been resolved: the old sewage system of Knowlton village; pollution created by the Duck Farm; local control of the Foster Dam; the frantic urbanization that changed the village landscape during the 1980s.
In 2001 Renaissance Lac Brome (RLB) was launched with a mission to improve the quality of the lake’s water. When the lake was closed in 2006 amid the algae bloom crisis, RLB proposed many additional steps and solutions to restore the aging lake.
For over 15 years, RLB acquired a solid scientific reputation, involved itself in major projects and became the public spokesperson on all issues affecting the quality of our lake’s water. RLB’s initiatives mobilized the population to get behind its goals and support their results.
Starting in 2010, the Town granted major financial assistance to RLB, then increased it in 2018 so that RLB could hire permanent staff. However, Tempo senses that during the last two years RLB’s presence has been less involved, less active and less pertinent. Why?
The pandemic has had impact and affected some activities; personnel was harder to find. Yet, as this past summer has made it clear, there are major issues to be addressed.
Where does RLB stand on the urbanization of the lake’s periphery? More and more often, TBL’s council has approved derogations from its bylaws to allow construction on the lake’s shoreline.
Other issues involve: security for the sewage system; rebuilding Blackwood Dam; water supply for Bromont and the level of the lake; increasing motorboat traffic on the lake, especially larger boats; controlling invasive species, etc.
On the eve of the revision of the land use plan and to regulate major urban development like we see in TBL, it is crucial that RLB be more present and remind us all of what is critical to ensure that our lake remains healthy.
Incidentally, Renaissance is looking for new blood to carry out its mission. There are battles to be fought and victories to be won. The lake always needs Renaissance Lac Brome.