‘Ridiculous’: Ontario cottage owners want to check on property in Quebec
OTTAWA -- The Mammoliti’s haven’t checked on their cottage in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic
“We’re patient, but this has become a little ridiculous. We need to go have a look and our intention is to be staying there for a duration. This is like our second home, we’re retired,” Sylvie Mammoliti said.
The couple just finished building their lake house in Denholm, Quebec, but the Quebec Government imposed travel restrictions at the Ottawa-Gatineau border and other areas in west Quebec on April 1.
In parts of the Outaouias the checkpoints are coming down, but the ones at the Gatineau-Ottawa border are not.
“They’re definitely picking on the Ontario license plates,” Mammoliti said.
There is so much frustration that over 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Quebec Government to lift the travel restrictions.
The petition claims there is great risk for property owners, “due to their inability to monitor the state and security of their recreational properties and structures.”
“We pay taxes to those cites and counties. I mean we have those properties, nobody is reaching out to us [to say] ‘okay we’ll go check up on your property or we’ll give you a break on your taxes,” Rachelle Downton said.
The Ottawa woman’s family owns a cottage in Otter Lake, Quebec. She said she wants to visit the cottage to take care of her property and for her kids’ mental health.
Downton said there’s an “unfairness and discrepancy between the two cities.”
The cover on one man’s boat has blown off. Albert Hickey said he was stopped at the border before he could enter Quebec. He said he was warned by police that he would get ticketed if he didn’t obey the rules.
There is also concern with insurance policies. Multiple cottage owners told CTV News Ottawa that insurance on a second home in Quebec would be cancelled if vacant for 30 days. Downton is thankful a neighbour could check on her property.
A human advocacy group believes Quebec’s travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic violate Canadians’ Charter Rights, specifically around mobility.
“You can enter Canada, you can leave Canada and if you’re a Canadian or a permanent resident you can live wherever you wish and there can’t be any restrictions,” said Michael Bryant, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Bryant said since the inception of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, this is the first time it’s been tested in such a way.
The City of Gatineau would only tell CTV News Ottawa the checkpoints are within provincial jurisdiction.
In an email statement, the Quebec government said the lifting of certain checkpoints, notably between Ottawa and Gatineau, has yet to be determined.
The five bridges connecting Ottawa-Gatineau are still being patrolled by Quebec police.
Gatineau police confirmed the other crossings, including the Quyon Ferry - which is still operating - are not being monitored. However, police stressed, non-essential travel is still restricted.
Although Gatineau police say they aren’t patrolling the ferry or other bridges, some people say they’ve been turned back by provincial police. "We took the Quyon ferry about 8:30 Tuesday and were stopped by the Sûreté du Québec and told to return or be subject to $1600 fine," one viewer told CTV News in an email.