Magdalen Islands | The $30 tourist fee will ultimately not be mandatory

Magdalen Islands | The $30 tourist fee will ultimately not be mandatory
Magdalen Islands | The $30 tourist fee will ultimately not be mandatory

The municipality of Îles-de-la-Madeleine is “taking a step aside” in the matter of Passe Archipel, this $30 fee that it wanted to impose to help cover the costs associated with mass tourism . In the short term, in 2024, this contribution will be made “on honor” and will not be obligatory.

Posted at 12:17 p.m.

This was announced Tuesday morning by Mayor Antonin Valiquette during a press conference, citing operational challenges linked to federal approvals.

“Let’s be clear: we are not backing down on the notion of contribution. We have been discussing this avenue to protect the archipelago and improve its infrastructure for years. But as we are pioneers in this area, it is normal to adjust in this first year,” he explained.

Mr. Valiquette affirms that “in the manner of a pilot project”, his administration is currently continuing discussions with Transport Canada” on the subject of a potential longer-term imposition. “We will observe the behavior of our visitors during the season to improve the project,” continued the elected official.

In short, “the regulations will be adjusted so that the $30 contribution is made, for the moment, at everyone’s choice,” indicated the municipality. Everything will be done through a mobile application, as was planned from the start. The administration thus says it appeals “to the honor of its visitors who recognize the particular character of the Magdalen Islands and wish to contribute to its sustainability.”

“A climate of fear”

It was last April that Mayor Valiquette announced with great fanfare the implementation of this fee. The matter has been in the air since 2022, with the municipality looking for ways to free up more funds to improve infrastructure for tourists, but also to pay part of the costs incurred by the significant increase in waste in summer, which must be sent to the continent.

This whole debate had caused a lot of division within the municipality itself and in the rest of Quebec, agreed the mayor, who denounced on Tuesday the hateful comments made on the sidelines of this debate, particularly on social networks.

“The disrespectful comments that council members, the municipal team and I have received in recent weeks are unacceptable and will continue to be denounced as they should. We must collectively oppose this type of behavior which aims to undermine democracy by establishing a climate of fear,” said Mr. Valiquette.

His administration will hold an information evening for its citizens next Thursday. A municipal council meeting was also scheduled for Tuesday.

In a press release, the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) Éric Duhaime, who has always opposed the measure, thanked the Madelinots and Quebecers “who stood up to defend our freedom of movement” . “We have just won an important battle today in the Magdalen Islands. […] “It’s a great day for democracy,” he said.

This case is reminiscent of the fact that in Gaspésie, the municipality of Percé had also tried in the past to implement a tourist fee, but the latter was ultimately successfully challenged in court by traders, who were responsible to perceive it. The Quebec government gave cities the opportunity to collect such fees in 2017.

With Gabriel Béland, The Press

Learn more

  • 60,000
    This is roughly the number of visitors the Magdalen Islands receive each year. The year 2022, however, marked a record in this area, with more than 73,000 tourists having landed on the archipelago.




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