For several months now, Aventure Coulonge, located in Mansfield-et-Pontefract, has been offering cabins for rent on the banks of the Coulonge River. CHIP 101.9 met the owners, Simon Legault and his father Jean-Charles Legault, who want to offer accommodation in a natural setting. Currently offering seven chalets, the owners hope that customers will meet demand and hope to construct 100.
“Our experience, is as farmers, we are still very resourceful,” Jean-Charles said (translated). “We build all our infrastructure ourselves. Me and my boy, we are in the field of heavy machinery mechanics. We do almost everything with our hands, so that’s why we built chalets like that. We would like to have a hundred of them within three years. Depending on how the rentals are going at the moment. For the moment, things are going extremely well, everything is rented, but we want to wait a little longer to continue our project. The big problem at the moment, why we stopped at seven, is the supply of equipment at the moment.”
Jean-Charles specified that this increase would be done gradually, given, among other things, the cost of current materials. The 540-hectare property borders the Coulonge River for roughly 1.5 km. In addition to the accommodations, the owners wish to offer services in the future such as mountain bike trails and equipment rentals. For the moment, the objective is to promote the chalets to customers who want to enjoy the great outdoors.
“What we want to give people is a unique experience that they won’t necessarily find in other campsites and also we want to accommodate trailers for the next few years, which are coming,” Simon said (translated). “We will develop our site as we see how it goes. At the moment, we have seven chalets installed on the edge of the river. We have two chalets that can accommodate up to six people and the others are four people. They have a bedroom, a bathroom with a shower and hot water of course, a gas stove with sink, electric fridge, little light, a gallery with a mosquito net tent.”
According to the owners, so far customer feedback has been very positive. According to the statistics of the owners, the majority of the clientele came from the urban area of Gatineau. The entrepreneurs, who come from the agricultural sector in the Mirabel region, are counting on their website, available here, to increase the rental of their accommodation sites.
Elder Legault fined for illegal dumping
Following the interview with the Legaults, CHIP 101.9 discovered that the elder Legault, Jean-Charles, had recently been fined by the Ministry of Environment for illegally dumping construction materials. When asked about the situation, Simon was quick to reassure the public about Aventure Coulonge’s business practices.
“What is really important to understand is that I am coming here to set up a sustainable business that can contribute to the economic development of Mansfield and the Pontiac,” he said (translated). "When it comes to the environment and the various rules that are in place in this municipality, I take nothing lightly. I am in constant communication with the municipality to make sure of the smallest details. I call the inspector on average once a week because I want to make sure that everything is under control and done according to the rules. The forest, the river and everything around us are the basis of the success of our business and it has been one of our priorities since we arrived. My father is not the person who makes the final decisions here. His experience in the business field is useful to me, but I am the main decision maker of Aventure Coulonge.”
When contacted by CHIP 101.9, the Municipality of Mansfield-et-Pontefract also sought to reassure local residents.
“The Municipality of Mansfield-et-Pontefract is aware of the difficulties experienced by one of the shareholders of the Aventure Coulonge site,” they stated (translated). “The previous council and the current municipal council of the Municipality of Mansfield-et-Pontefract has been in constant communication for several months with the owners and they have undertaken to respect all the laws in force in the country, in Quebec and on our municipal territory. The employees of the municipality have made sure to carry out the necessary follow-ups and for the moment, all the environmental rules are respected and the links with the company are constant. As we would do with other companies, citizens can be reassured that we ensure constant supervision of everything concerning the development of this site and the environmental rules in force in our municipality.”
The full (French-language) interview with Simon and Jean-Charles Legault is available here.