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l' isle - verte !!!

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No Ice bridge this year.

Translated from TVA Nouvelles


Because of the winter, which is too mild, the inhabitants of Île Verte, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, will not have access to a marked ice bridge this year. This is a first in over 70 years for islanders.

"There have not been enough cold days in a row this winter, so we will not mark the bridge this year," said Thursday, the mayor of the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs, Louise Newbury.

To access the shore, the 26 permanent residents of the island will therefore depend on a "sometimes capricious" helicopter service offered three or four times a week. "If it sells too much, if there is too much snow or if the visibility is not good, the helicopter will not take off," explained Gérald Dionne, a native of Green Island.

Islanders will therefore be deprived of direct access to several basic services, because on the island, there is no grocery store, convenience store or service station. They usually have to cross the 2 km of frozen river to reach the shore and its basic services.

“The ice bridge is really the only way we can get out and back to the island when we want. It really makes our daily lives easier, "said Mr. Dionne.

Unusual situation

For more than twenty years, Jacques Fraser has been responsible for marking the ice bridge on Île Verte. He never had a winter without an ice bridge. "Normally, in December, we can mark it up and go over it," he said.

The bridge is usually marked with long branches of conifers to indicate to snowmobilers that the river is frozen and safe enough to cross it.

"I was born on the island and there has always been an ice bridge," said Mr. Fraser. Before, there were even three. Now there is only one left and the ice is getting more and more late [in the season]. ”

Is global warming at issue?

To find out if this late frost is linked to global warming, a geography expert from UQAM says that it is important "not to make short cuts".

“We anticipate that in the St. Lawrence River, the winters will be milder and the ice will be less present. This is a general trend, but we could still have very cold winters, ”said UQAM associate professor Ursule Boyer-Villemaire, who specializes in adapting to climate change in the maritime sector.

"Although this situation is new, it could still happen in the future. We shouldn't be surprised, she added. We have to think of alternative means of connecting Green Island to the mainland. ”

- With Charles D'Amboise / QMI Agency

No relief to mark the bridge

The responsibility of marking the ice bridge on Green Island weighs heavily on Jacques Fraser, who has been responsible for this task for two decades. Considered a real "pillar" for his community, the 62-year-old now wants to pass the torch.

"I've been saying for a few years that I don't want to do it anymore. The world tell me: "tag, Jacques, tag! What are you waiting for?" But it's me, afterwards, who doesn't sleep at night. ”

With the marking of the bridge which becomes more and more complicated, Jacques Fraser fears the worst.

“I would not like what happened to Lac-Saint-Jean to happen when the snowmobilers fell into the water. If one day I mark the deck and a snowmobile stalls, I could not bear it, ”he said.

In order to be reliable and safe, the bridge must be probed frequently by humans, who have acquired this rare knowledge over the years. Jacques Fraser has already asked the mayor of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs to be replaced, but, for lack of relief, he must continue to take care of the bridge.

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This may sound really stupid but I'm going to say it any. I'm 69 years old and when I was in the eighth grade in a small school in  clayton ny a gentleman came to our class to tell us about the new generating plant In Oswego ny. He was there to educate us on nuclear power. He told us about bringing the cold water in and how the water going out was going to be super hot going out. I at the time was born and brought up on an island in front of clayton where my dad and mom were farmers.  The river then would freeze by mid January and we could cross late into March.  People used the ice as a highway to get to the mainland.  They drove old cars and trucks and left them on the ice because the police wouldn't bother anyone aslong as you didn't drive on the streets.  Anyway as a islander who for some  reason thought about the ice for crossing I asked the question would this plant ever make the water warm enough so it wouldn't freeze.  His answer was it is possible that the temperature may raise a few degrees but the effects are unknown.  Since then there has been more plants built on lake Ontario and I don't know how many.  Now we have high water and does the possible warmer water and high water effect the ice cover as far away as  RDL. The river today is open and the bays that have always frozen solid are ice free. What ever is happening I don't know but something is happening.  I guess we will have to wait until next year to find out.  

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