A lot of tourist traffic passes through Brownsburg-Chatham during all four seasons, as people drive to and from their skiing, resort, and chalet destinations. Now, the municipality is in the process of becoming a Village-relais, which would officially make it a recognized and reliable place for travelers to stop for a rest and access visitor services.
The Village-relais program in Québec is administered by the Ministère des transports du Québec (MTQ), and the Fédération des Villages-relais du Québec.
Town approached by MTQ
According to Brownsburg-Chatham Mayor Kévin Maurice, the MTQ approached the town about becoming a Village-relais.
“We’re right in the middle of everything,” Maurice observed. “They asked if we’re in.”
To qualify for Village-relais accreditation, a municipality must have a population of less than 10,000 and be connected to recognized provincial highways and tourism routes. Routes 148, 327, 344, and Autoroute 50 pass through Brownsburg-Chatham. The Chemin du terroir tourism route also passes through the town.
Under the program, cooperation is established with local businesses and services to offer visitors a reliable, safe, welcoming place to stop, and possibly extend their visit. The MTQ installs signage along highways, showing the distance to the next Village-relais and the services available there.
Grants available for Village-relais municipalities
Village-relais municipalities are eligible for grants from the MTQ to support initiatives related to the program. Maurice said participation makes sense for Brownsburg-Chatham, because it is in an area where people travel between Montréal, Gatineau-Ottawa, and Mont-Tremblant.
Brownsburg-Chatham is located close to Lachute, but because Lachute’s population exceeds 10,000, it is not eligible to become a Village-relais. Brownsburg-Chatham would become the first Village-relais in the Municipalité régional de comté (MRC) d’Argenteuil. Montebello, which is located in the MRC Papineau to the west, is one of three Villages-relais in the Outaouais region. Once Brownsburg-Chatham is added, it will join Labelle and Lac des écorces as the other two Villages-relais in the Laurentides region.
There are currently 40 Village-relais municipalities across Québec.