The Regroupement indépendant pour la relance économique de la région de Sorel-Tracy (RIRÉRST) is a non-profit organization originally established in 1999 to empower economic recovery in the greater Sorel-Tracy area.
Today, RIRÉRST is committed to positioning Sorel-Tracy and the surrounding area as an innovative tourism destination on the mighty St. Lawrence River, one of the world’s largest waterways, in harmony with the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve. RIRÉRST’s mission is to develop, implement and promote an avant-garde destination concept that serves as a catalyst for a comprehensive tourism strategy, a key economic stimulus and a source of pride for the entire community.
The original inspiration for Statera
At the turn of the new millennium, RIRÉST’s original goal was to leverage civic engagement in order to carry out the amalgamation of the communities of Sorel and Tracy. Subsequent efforts focused on a large-scale campaign to boost local pride and foster the development of the project known as the Écomonde du lac Saint-Pierre, spearheaded by Serge Péloquin. In so doing, RIRÉRST tapped into the creative energies of a group of visionaries inspired by the natural riches of the area to create a new world-class tourism destination that represents a wealth of business opportunities and socioeconomic benefits.
Écomonde du lac Saint-Pierre
Fuelled by this passion, RIRÉRST began to acquire the tools necessary to bring the vision to life and ensure its long-term viability. The project became the driving force behind the area’s renewed economic momentum. The movement was galvanized by the support of 117 honorary members and numerous partners.
Over the years, the initiative has evolved in step with budgetary and logistical necessities. The Écomonde project was relocated to a new site and adapted accordingly, all the while maintaining its commitment to “create a new tourism destination, generate socioeconomic benefits and honour the natural heritage of the Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve.”
In March 2010, Sorel-Tracy’s town council unanimously confirmed its support for the Écomonde project and earmarked $1 million for the undertaking. The next steps involved the transfer of ownership of the ferry wharf and its outbuildings, along with $4.9-million in funding from Transport Canada to upgrade the site. In June 2012, RIRÉRST submitted a proposal to build a tourism facility on the wharf. This initiative is now the centrepiece of the town’s tourism vision.
In 2015, RIRÉRST applied for funding under the new tourism thrust of the Quebec government’s Maritime Strategy. In June of the same year, the Ministère du Tourisme announced a $2.9-million grant to develop a tourism product with broad appeal.
RIRÉRST is now in a position to move forward with a large-scale tourism project on the Sorel-Tracy Ferry Wharf. Working closely with XYZ Cultural Technology, the creative agency hand-picked to conceptualize and breathe life into the immersive multimedia experience, RIRÉRST will implement the Statera project under the Écomonde umbrella. Statera, the Latin word for “balance,” will shine the spotlight on industry and nature, the twin drivers behind the prosperity of the greater Sorel-Tracy area.
For clarification purposes, Statera is the name given by RIRÉRST to the future tourism destination to be built on the ferry wharf site, whereas Écomonde du lac Saint-Pierre refers to the entire series of projects being developed on or in the vicinity of the wharf.