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View from O'Brien Beach at the south-east end coast in winter
|Location||Chelsea, Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais Regional County Municipality, Quebec|
Meech Lake (French: Lac Meech) is located within Gatineau Park in the Municipality of Chelsea, Quebec, Canada (about 20 km NW of Gatineau). The lake was named after Reverend Asa Meech, an early settler in this area.
Near the lake, on Meech Creek, are the ruins of a fertilizer plant built by Thomas "Carbide" Willson during the 1900s. In 1981, Willson's former summer home (the Willson House) on Meech Lake was converted into a government conference centre. The house is notable for its use, in 1987, as the site of meetings on the Meech Lake Accord (which proposed the overhauling of Canada's constitution) between the provincial premiers and then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Numerous residents continue to have homes along the lake. Although all Gatineau Park master plans have long proposed that properties around the lake should be acquired when the opportunity arises—as they were for most other lakes in the park—little action has been taken on this front and new constructions continue on the privately owned land around the lake. This situation has led to construction of a house on the lakebed and suspected sedimentation of the lake from residential construction.
As well, the association representing Meech Lake residents has been lobbying the government for several years in an attempt to have Blanchet Beach and the boat launch closed to the public.
In 1988, a study conducted for the NCC confirmed that Meech Lake residents are responsible for most of the human-produced phosphorus flowing into the lake, i.e., 66%, whereas visitors only account for 26%. Phosphorus, in excessive amounts is responsible for the proliferation of blue-green algae, a problem that has afflicted the lake in recent years.
The National Capital Commission (NCC), steward of Gatineau Park, operates beaches on the lake during the summer. Although it is not condoned by the NCC, there is a secluded beach often used by naturists.
- Letter from the Meech Lake Association to NCC Chairman Marcel Beaudry, April 24, 2004.
- Étude de la capacité d’accueil du lac Meech, Dryade ltée, 1988, p.17
- “Blue-green algae and our surface water,” ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs du Québec, http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/eau/algues-bv/algues-plan_en.htm
- “Another crisis afflicts Meech Lake,” The Montreal Gazette, July 26, 2007