Development plan of the Municipalité régionale de comté de La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau (MRCVG) and demands of the APLC

The land use planning and development plan (SAD) (in French only) is a planning tool that determines the development and the uses to be assigned to the different parts of the territory (zoning).

The video helps to better understand what the strategic plan is.

On November 3, 2020, the council of 17 mayors of the MRCVG adopted the latest version of the SAD. This version of the document (Plan 1: The major land uses) is the one that includes the revisions following the public consultations in August 2020. The public lands around our two lakes have been reviewed by the MRC following our requests.


Outcomes, opinions and next steps …


1. Between our two lakes

Outcome: The zoning was previously récréofestière, and it was amended to récréative. The new zoning covers the entire section between the two lakes, given its network of hiking and cross-country skiing trails and its potential for further recreational use. This land will hence be protected from logging and new residential development.

APLC opinion: The APLC SAD committee is very pleased with the change of zoning and confirms that this zoning is in line with the mission and objectives of the APLC.

Next steps: No further action is necessary. We will continue to support the activities of Pôle d’excellence en récréotourisme de l’Outaouais (PERO). It has proven to be a good partner in the management and maintenance of the recreational trails in this section.


2. East of chemin du Petit lac des Cèdres

Outcome: This section retains the récréoforestière zoning. The officials at the MRCVG responsible for the SAD explained to us that this section is already protected, called the "Aire de confinement du cerf de Virginie du lac Richer" (white-tailed deer containment area). Any development or exploitation is thereby prohibited. Indeed, the ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) does manage this forested section. We are told that the ministry’s plans for the cutting and planting of trees, and general forest management, are for the sole purpose of maintaining a healthy habitat for the deer. This is why, according to the officials of the MRCVG, the récréoforestière zoning cannot be changed.

APLC opinion: The APLC considers that the white-tailed deer containment area provides good protection against further development. We agree that, to maintain a healthy environment for white-tailed deer, it is indeed necessary to do some intermittent logging. We raise a question: The white-tailed deer containment area does not extend to the edge of chemin du Petit lac des Cèdres, so could there be future residential development in this portion of Section 2?

Next steps: We are seeking written confirmation that all of the public lands in Section 2, right up to the edge of chemin du Petit lac des Cèdres, are also protected and that residential development will not be allowed.


3. West of Grand lac des Cèdres

Outcome: This section retains the zoning récréoforestière. The officials of the MRCVG inform us that they are not in a position to change the zoning, given that the forest management agreements fall under the auspices of the provincial ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), and these agreements target a portion of the territory in Section 3. It is therefore impossible for them to change the récréoforestière zoning for the entirety of this section.

APLC opinion: Although we understand the administrative constraints associated with a change of zoning, the APLC remains dissatisfied with the outcome, and it plans to continue its efforts to provide better protection to this section of Grand lac des Cèdres. In our opinion, this zoning could open the door to various activities incompatible with our objectives of conservation, water quality and maintenance of biodiversity.

Next steps: Following its discussions with representatives of the MRCVG, the APLC believes that it must change its strategy to guarantee the protection of Section 3. Our next step is to meet with authorities from the MFFP to officially request the withdrawal of this forest management agreement on the western watershed of the lake. The APLC will then work with the ministère de l'Environment et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) to finalize a request for the creation of a new protected area, which would guard Section 3 from any form of development. In our recent communications with them, officials from the MELCC confirmed that this a possibility. The APLC is continuing its efforts to update its request to transform Section 3 into a protected area, which would prohibit all forms of exploitation and development.


History of APLC interventions


  • December: Committee members seek to confirm discussions with SAD officials. They are awaiting a meeting with Mayor Cross to confirm next steps and municipal support for APLC's request to create a new protected area west of Grand lac des Cèdres.
  • November: Adoption on November 3 of the second generation of the revised SAD 
  • August and September: The MRCVG will organize public consultations. The APLC will present its arguments for a land use change around the two lakes. A petition with more than 400 signatures is presented to Messines Mayor and MRCVG authorities. Read all comments from petition supporters! 
  • July: A committee of the APLC studied the SAD and implemented an action plan to request from the MRC a change of use from récréoforestry to conservation. A  Position Statement  was drafted and a letter requesting a hearing was sent to the mayor of Messines.
  • June: The SAD was revised and adopted on June 16, 2020, by the 17 mayors of the MRCVG. The document is now public and available on the MRCVG website under the "News" tab.


  • The board of the APLC presented to the municipal council of Messines, at its meeting of May 3, 2017, a resolution requesting an designation of “strict conservation” to protect the public lands around the two lakes, given the incompatibility of logging operations and any other development with preservation objectives.


  • The APLC funded a botanical inventory west of Grand lac des Cèdres, which revealed a significant presence of Conopholis americana, a plant designated as "vulnerable" in Quebec. This inventory strengthens our argument in favour of the creation of a protected area on public land west of Grand lac des Cèdres. The request was sent to the MELCC on October 25, 2016. This request is still under review.


  • The APLC, with the financial participation of the Municipal Council of Messines, carried out a scientific study on the health of the two lakes. This study concluded that an increase in the total phosphorus load, which has already reached 99% and 90% of the maximum capacity, respectively for Petit lac des Cèdres and Grand lac des Cèdres, would be harmful and that any human development—residential, commercial or forestry—around the two lakes would be detrimental.


  • The MRCVG approved an interim control bylaw aimed at modifying the development plan to include protective measures for the banks, the shorelines and the floodplains. The APLC supports bylaw 2018-325.

Early 2000

  • APLC created recreational trails between Grand lac des Cèdres and Petit lac des Cèdres in order to highlight an exceptional environment for the ecotourism needs of Messines. PERO has since taken over the management of these trails in collaboration with the Municipality of Messines and Rando-Québec.