How authorities plan to remove more than 100 abandoned cars from a small Quebec island

How authorities plan to remove more than 100 abandoned cars from a small Quebec island

Entry Island in Quebec is only about two kilometres wide and three kilometres long, but its collection of abandoned and disused vehicles represents nearly double the number of residents who live there year-round.

With at least 116 lifeless wrecks scattered across a grassy, ​​windswept landscape, the situation has spiraled out of control, according to Jonathan Lapierre, mayor of the Magdalen Islands, a small archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“It has an impact on the landscape and there is some danger to the environment because of the oils and fuel that can leak from the vehicles,” he said.

Abandoned cars have been tolerated in the past because it is extremely complex to dispose of so many vehicles, the mayor said.

Entry Island’s roughly 60 residents, mostly English-speaking, may not have far to travel, but many still drive to get around, whether to visit the few local businesses, see their neighbors or visit the local church.

Isabelle Larose/Radio-CanadaIsabelle Larose/Radio-Canada

Isabelle Larose/Radio-Canada

There is also a two-car ferry that connects Entry Island to the rest of the archipelago.

But shipping the junk cars by ferry could take years because space on the in-demand boat is limited, the mayor said.

Transporting the cars by barge, however, will not be cheap for the small island community, Lapierre said. The entire operation will cost just over $90,000.

Towed, shipped and transported by truck

The cars will be towed to the dock before being shipped to the quay at Havre-Aubert — the southernmost island in the archipelago — about 12 kilometres away.

From there, the cars will be transported by truck for about forty kilometers to an eco-center in Havre-aux-Maisons to be dismantled. Most of the recovered metals and parts will then be shipped to the continent.

Isabelle Larose/Radio-CanadaIsabelle Larose/Radio-Canada

Isabelle Larose/Radio-Canada

A transport company, the Maritime and Air Transport Cooperative (CTMA), was selected for the work.

“We can load 10 vehicles at a time, or a little more depending on their size, onto the deck of a carrier barge,” explained Vanessa Loignon, spokesperson for the CTMA.

The operation is expected to be completed by Christmas, but it will be the last time public money is invested in cleaning up abandoned vehicles on Entry Island.

The mayor said letters had been sent to all residents, telling them that this was a one-off operation and that once the vehicles were removed, it would be up to those living there to take their scrapped cars themselves, in accordance with local regulations.

“We will not be able to and will not have the means to carry out this operation every two years,” said Mr. Lapierre.