The Port-Cartier municipal wharf has been unusable since the violent storm of December 23 and the access road has been heavily damaged by the powerful waves.
A lamppost was bent in half when thrown against a bollard used for mooring ships.
An imposing pipe, formerly used for a pulp mill, has been moved several meters.
The rock wall that protects access to the municipal wharf was affected. The path that runs along it has been deeply undermined by the waters for several tens of meters. No vehicle can now drive there.
Significant sums will have to be invested to repair the damage.
“For that, we are going to need help from the Quebec government. We will check. Our people go to work tomorrow. This will be one of our priorities,” said the mayor of Port-Cartier during a site visit on Tuesday morning.
The Port-Cartier municipal wharf is little used in winter, but is occasionally used as a loading place for scrap metal and forest residues. Many also saw it hosting wind turbine components in 2024.
“We need to repair this wharf. We hope that the components of the wind project will go through the quay of the City,” said Alain Thibault.
Another source of concern caused by the storm is Rochelois Beach. The water almost reached street level and nearby residences. Fortunately, no damage was caused, but the storm rekindled a sense of urgency for the protection of municipal infrastructure and residences.
“Yes people are worried. They fear for the next storm. The sand on the beach has diminished”, noted Alain Thibault.
The profile of the dune in front of the street and the residences has been slightly modified. Will the next storm have more consequences? Mayor Alain Thibault does not want to wait any longer.
“On the night of December 23 to 24, I did not sleep all night. Me, I thought of the citizens who live nearby and I was afraid to learn the next morning that there were people who had passed there. I was worried. That puts the eyes back in front of the holes.”
In recent years, the mayor has strongly opposed the refilling of the beach with gravel to protect residences and infrastructure. But since this is the only solution with which Port-Cartier could obtain financial assistance from Quebec, he changes his tune.
“Yes, I defended the beach, but on the other hand, at some point, you have to be realistic”
Recharging the beach, however, is far from unanimous among the citizens who frequent it.
“At some point, we will have to act, indicated Tommy Lucas, a citizen of Port-Cartier met on the beach by TVA Nouvelles. But we need decent solutions, not put small round rock that rolls and that will collect in the sea and we will walk on it.
No one doubts the urgency of acting, but the preferred solutions to deal with the storms have not finished sparking debate.