Dam’s deadly trap causes concern in Châteauguay

Par Michel Thibault
Dam’s deadly trap causes concern in Châteauguay
Under a peaceful appearance, the water held back by the dam hides a deadly trap (Photo : Michel Thibault)

Chateauguay’s elected officials want to increase security at Valerie Fournel Park, named in memory of an adolescent who lost her life at the nearby dam a few years ago.

Translation Dan Rosenburg

A citizen drew the attention of the municipal council to the danger at council’s assembly on June 15. “We have a lot of new residents who are not aware of this danger and there is very little indication that people should not go on that dam. I would like to remind the City Council that in my lifetime here in Chateauguay I can remember three unfortunate accidents where people lost their lives, observed Gail Catherine Walker in an e-mail read during the public question period. As the level of the river is low and part of the dam is dry, Mrs. Walker says she fears another tragedy. She is asking the City to better inform the public of the danger.

Questioned by Mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier, councillor Marcel Deschamps mentioned having noticed youths on the dam recently. And, according to him, the existing protection is not the best. He suggested that access to the dam be rendered more difficult.

“We cannot build a fence around the river,” he observed.

The Mayor told Mrs. Walker that Deschamps and the Public Works Department would go to the site to see what can possibly be done.

Passage for fish

Under a peaceful appearance, the water held back by the dam hides a deadly trap. A passage for fish has penetrated the dam’s cement. At the level of the breach, it produces an  effect of phenomenal suction. If someone falls nearby, he or she is sucked into the hole and becomes submerged. It is extremely difficult to escape from the breach. For one person who is alone, it is impossible. It can take three or four people to extricate the victim. Up until now, at least three deaths by drowning are deplored at that spot.

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