Screenshot geolagon.com Since last year, a promoter has been trying to obtain the necessary municipal authorizations to build a village of some 300 hotel chalets in a forest sector of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François.
The GeoLAGON project, envisaged in particular in the Charlevoix sector and providing for the construction of hundreds of hotel chalets, “has no social acceptability”, determined on Wednesday the Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx, dismissing the idea of a funding from Quebec. The promoter replies that he has already obtained all the financial support he needs for this project, by betting on the private sector.
“Would you call that project sustainable?” Quebec Solidarity MNA Étienne Grandmont asked Minister Proulx on Wednesday, as part of the study of budget appropriations for the Ministry of Tourism. “I've never met them [the project developers], and until there's social acceptability, which there doesn't seem to be, there won't be any help from the government. of Quebec or the Ministry of Tourism” granted to this project, replied the Minister.
Since last year, promoter Louis Massicotte has been trying to obtain the necessary municipal authorizations to build a village of some 300 hotel chalets in a forest sector of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, where a huge artificial pond would also be temperature would be maintained at 39°C using geothermal energy.
This project, intended primarily for transient customers, has raised several concerns in recent months. In a report produced earlier this month on behalf of the municipality of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve found that solar panels would have to be installed on an area equivalent to four football fields. in order to produce the energy needed to supply this village with electricity.
The report also noted that 206 geothermal wells would have to be drilled to carry out the mentioned geothermal lagoon project, which could damage the water table . The organization also mentioned possible spills of products used to maintain this immense lagoon.
Faced with the concerns raised by GéoLAGON, the MRC de Charlevoix adopted a resolution last February blocking all development in forest areas in the region for 90 days. The promoter behind the project, Louis Massicotte, is however hopeful that he will be able to carry it out. He attaches little importance to the opposition of the Minister of Tourism.
“It is a private project on private land without any subsidy. And we have no grant application planned with the ministry or with the government, “said the promoter, in an interview with Devoir. At the end of the line, he assures that his project wants to be “carbon neutral” by focusing on geothermal energy and solar energy, without disturbing the environment.
“What we understand on our side regarding social acceptability in Charlevoix is more the quantity of units that is questioned, and we understand that. That's why we're reviewing the project,” adds Massicotte. A first phase of the project could thus provide for 186 hotel chalets in the area, rather than 306, he indicates.
Louis Massicotte ultimately wishes to repeat the construction of the neighborhood he plans to build in the area. of Charlevoix in three other regions of the province, for a total of four villages which would total 1200 hotel chalets.The developer announced earlier this week that an unnamed UK financial institution has been open to providing up to $250 million in funding for each of these four villages, to help it make this adventure a reality.
At the beginning of the year, the participation of the French clean energy investor Kyotherm to the tune of 140 million dollars as a partner of GéoLAGON had also been announced. “Our financial model is completely closed now,” says Louis Massicotte, who has not yet obtained the necessary authorizations from the municipality of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François for his project to go ahead.