The development of the Magog region’s tourism industry is one of the priorities of Orford MP Gilles Bélanger. Even before being elected, he had developed a plan to increase the influence of Mount Orford and Owl’s Head stations. And he now believes he can implement his vision with new European investors.
The investors in question are about to acquire land with a total area of approximately 80 hectares at exit 115 of Highway 10, near Mont Orford Station and the Mont Orford National Park. If everything goes as planned, they would become owners of land currently owned by businessman André L’Espérance and Auberge du Mont-Orford.
Gilles Bélanger considers that a “project of $ 200 to $ 250 million” could emerge at exit 115. It is not clear, however, what are the exact plans of the new investors, who would nonetheless have shown interest in the vision of the MP. Orford.
Mr. Bélanger prefers not to come forward when asked how many additional housing units could be built at this location. He points out, however, that the real estate project he dreams of would be well integrated into the wooded and hilly environment of the sector.
“My goal is to bring a nature-adventure project to this place. I do not want Bromont to be copied, but to be complementary. It is certain that such a project would attract people from Montreal, especially since the construction of the new Champlain Bridge will soon be over. Strangers too would come. ”
To achieve the expected result, Gilles Bélanger also wants to find a well-established company that would be able to develop an attractive and “eco-responsible” hosting product in collaboration with new investors. He also reveals having had discussions with the European company Your Nature, which would be interested in the sector. “Its leaders have an interest in coming to Estrie,” he says.
In recent years, Mr. Bélanger has worked to boost the information and communications technology sector in Magog. His efforts worked well and, in parallel with them, he formed a group to purchase and re-launch Owl’s Head. The planned acquisition materialized, but he left the group of acquirers to get into provincial politics.
When he had publicly expressed his interest in Owl’s Head, the former businessman had quickly linked the destiny of this mountain, located in Potton, those of Mount Orford and Lake Memphremagog.
“I spoke at the start of Memphremagog Summits. The idea was to develop around the two mountains and the lake that separates them. I did my part for the development of Owl’s Head and I know it will be done. Now it’s up to me to get Orford to continue to grow, “says Gilles Bélanger.
In addition to exit 115, the member for Orford said that Vertendre’s lands in Eastman would also be a good place to build a large-scale real estate project around Mont-Orford National Park.
“Just like in the case of exit 115, it would be possible to create an accommodation chair to connect Vertendre to the ski resort. People would not have to take their car to go skiing and would go to the mountains by simply boarding a lift that would be paid by private investors. This is the kind of thing that is very popular with skiers, “he says.
Acting as President of the Mont-Orford Ski and Golf Corporation, Jacques Demers is not closed to the idea. He recognizes that the addition of air links between Mont Orford station and real estate projects located nearby is a legal possibility.
“The law adopted by the Quebec government allows for discussions around this issue. But it’s not an automatic right. Nothing is guaranteed, in other words. And then we, in the mountains, would we want such links? He asks without answering the question.
Although he shows a moderate enthusiasm for this type of link, Jacques Demers shows more interest in Gilles Bélanger’s project to set up a shuttle that would transport skiers to the mountains from from different places, hotels, condominiums or others.
“Probably we would need that,” he admits.