----- Library: another marina pavilion?
In last week's edition of the Bulletin we learned that the city will assemble a new citizens committee for the replacement project of Place des Pionniers. Several of us having been members of the previous iteration of the citizens committee for this same project, our experience was the following: We provided evidence to the city in the form of written reports requisitioned by Gatineau's previous administration and tendered by one of the largest engineering firms in the province (Genivar/WSP) that the current building can be brought up to code in less than a year for at most $8M, and that a new 5 storey building could be constructed for at most $30M. These costs are adjusted for inflation.
We also submitted a petition signed by over 500 taxpayers asking for a better deal, and showed that a partial demolition could avoid many of the inconveniences compared to the five year project currently scheduled by the city. This would be greatly preferable according to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification system, which seeks to avoid complete demolitions where possible. However, no changes what-so-ever were made to any aspects of the city’s pre-existing plans to spend $44M on a complex with only three storeys. The only change we have seen is that the price of the project was recently raised to $50M without any improvements. We have never been shown evidence for why the reports we submitted could be erroneous, and the citizens committee met only once, in early 2019. We have since continued to present our ideas to representatives of the city, but to no avail.
It is still not too late for the city to choose renovation or a partial demolition according to Genivar’s recommendations.
If the city creates a new citizens' committee we ask that any evidence said committee provides be taken into account, and that the members have at least some influence over the project beyond simple aesthetics. Anything else will cause nothing but further frustration. Following the community’s reaction to the new marina pavilion, the need to improve Gatineau’s handling of public projects is clear.