New St. Lawrence swimming hole proposed – Montreal

MONTREAL – How does a harbor pool built in the waters of the Old Port strike you?

Like it or not, that’s the idea being pitched by city opposition leader Richard Bergeron. The councillor wants a swimming area bordered by piers and docks to be built and opened in the harbor by next summer.

Bergeron is basing his model on harbor pools that already exist in Copenhagen.

He says the time has come for politicians to open the St. Lawrence river to swimming in the old port.

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But as Global News walked around the harbor, there were plenty of visible signs of water pollution. A slick oily film covers part of the water surface in some areas. And garbage floats in other areas of the port.

Bergeron downplays these signs, arguing recent tests show the level of bacteria in the water is low enough for swimming. But others disagree.

Daniel Green of SVP, an environmental organization that does extensive water quality testing, argues Montreal’s standard for measuring pollution levels is antiquated.

He says results of tests need to be known within hours and not days as is often the case.

“Politicians love to open beaches but hate to close them,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Green argues discharge from ships and storm drain overflows can quickly rise pollution levels in the port.

Many Montrealers like the idea of opening up the harbor for swimming but some say more clean up is required.