Little fish delays Sherbrooke's big plan to build surfing wave

The channel darter is a small fish that is usually around 4 centimetres long, but despite its small size it's having a big impact on Sherbrooke.

The fish is listed as a threatened species by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and its habitat is where the Saint-Francois and Magog rivers meet in downtown Sherbrooke.

That's the same area where Destination Sherbrooke, the city's tourism organization, had plans to build a surfing wave, and where Sherbrooke wants to rebuild the Grandes-Fourches bridge. 

According to Amélie Boissonneau, the communications coordinator for Destination Sherbrooke, the next step is to do an environmental assessment of the area and the fish's habitat. 

Boissonneau said because the city wants to rebuild the bridge as well, there will be a joint analysis of the projects.

Destination Sherbrooke said it is too early to establish a schedule for the wave project, but hopes to have it ready in 2020. 

The idea to build a surfing wave was the winning suggestion in a contest held by Destination Sherbrooke two years ago to create an attraction to bring tourists to the city.

Surfing can be a big boon to an area — Radio-Canada reported that the two surfing waves on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal attract between 18,000 and 25,000 surfers a year.