Town taking measures to save Tylee Marsh boardwalk
Rosemère town council is applying for funds from Quebec to restore the currently closed Tylee Marsh boardwalk. Photo: Martin C. Barry
Martin C. Barry

Elected officials with the Town of Rosemère have decided to take immediate action to carry out badly-needed renovations on the Tylee Marsh boardwalk.

The popular nature site along the Rivière des Mille Îles waterfront closed over the summer after it was found to be in a potentially dangerous state of disrepair.

Boardwalk needs fixing

During a special sitting of Rosemère town council on Nov. 25, the councillors voted unanimously to submit applications to the provincial government for financial assistance to “support the upgrading and improvement of outdoor trails and activity sites,” as stated in a resolution.

At the same time, council also decided to apply for funding from the government to upgrade Charbonneau Park. The applications are being made to the Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Learning through a financial assistance program that focuses on recreational and sports infrastructure.

Grant applications made

During a public question period, Mayor Eric Westram explained how the town is proceeding to repair the Tylee Marsh boardwalk. “The government has issued some grants and there is a limitation of time to ask for them,” he said.

“As you know, the Tylee boardwalk is in bad shape,” he continued. “So we’re asking for the grant now. When we will know from the engineers whether we need to replace it totally or just repair it, then we’ll apply the grant to whatever work needs to be done.”

Town to pay some cost

According to the town administration, Rosemère stands to receive from the government as much as 60 per cent of the cost to repair the boardwalk – up to $150,000. The rest of the cost would be paid by the town itself.

There has been speculation as to why the boardwalk’s structure appears to be failing, some 13 or so years after it was first built. “To tell you the truth, we’ve got this feeling that the foundation of the boardwalk wasn’t built the right way originally,” said Westram.

Town taking measures to save Tylee Marsh boardwalk
The Tylee Marsh boardwalk has been closed since last summer because of structural problems. Photo: Martin C. Barry

Damaged by weather

He suggested that the seasonal cycle of freeze and thaw took its toll and loosened the boardwalk’s submerged and semi-submerged anchor posts. “I’m not an engineer, but it looks that way, and it looks like the whole thing will have to be replaced,” he said.

As for possible legal claims by the town of negligence committed by the contractor during the original installation, Councillor Philip Panet-Raymond said, “We’ve investigated that and it’s beyond the timelines of being able to go after anyone. There is no way of proving if it was actually their fault.”

Time limit in play

Westram continued, “We’re making a move to get the grant. Because if we don’t go for it we won’t get it. And the actual engineer’s recommendations will soon be coming in because we’ve asked a firm to tell us whether to fix it or replace it.”

The boardwalk through the Tylee Marsh was a project completed by the Town of Rosemère around 13 years ago. Located on Grande Côte Rd. behind the Memorial Community Centre, the boardwalk takes strollers out through the dense Tylee Marsh straddling the Mille Îles River.

Picturesque attraction

The boardwalk is regarded as a very unique attraction that draws not only local residents, but also people from all over the Montreal region eager to experience a riverside marsh up close. Although the boardwalk is officially closed, some people have been jumping over the barrier and going out over it anyway.

The mayor previously pointed out that the Quebec environment ministry’s mandate to protect wetlands and marshes (with rules that have become stricter in recent years) could make efforts to restore the boardwalk more complex.