• James Armstrong

Price hike for new Rigaud town hall project


PHOTO BY ABBIE BENNETT

The possible sale of the former school building located at 73 rue Saint Pierre in Rigaud would offset the increase in cost of the new town hall.

With the sod-turning ceremony for Rigaud’s new town hall scheduled for Tuesday September 13, the news that its construction costs will be $2.2 million more than originally planned has caused concern for some local citizens. The Comité des Citoyens de Rigaud headed by interim president William Bradley is raising the alarm that Rigaud citizens will have to pay higher municipal taxes for the additional costs.

“It’s not over-budget,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. in an interview August 30. “We have increased the size of the town hall and have added an emergency generator, that’s why there’s an increase,” he added. The town hall, originally planned to be 7500 square feet, has grown to 12,100 square feet according to mayor. When the project was proposed in October, 2014, the town hall construction budget was $2.9 million. At the time, the mayor declared that the project would not increase municipal taxes.

When asked if there will be a hike in taxes to pay the difference in construction costs, the mayor replied, “No, because we are working on a project to overcome that discrepancy. We are working on the 73 rue Saint-Pierre file.” He was referring to a building owned by the town that was once considered for repurposing as a town hall. It has been up for sale since that project was abandoned. The mayor did not divulge details but said the sale of properties owned by the town has always been part of the financing plan for the project.

“We have to be out of the current town hall by September, 2017,” said Gruenwald Jr. Exterior space for the Famers’ Market is included in the plan with access to public toilet facilities in the new building.

Council under the town’s urbanisme tactique program approved recent landscaping work done by the town on property belonging to Sainte-Madeleine Church at the corner of rue Saint-Pierre and rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste. “It’s a program for improving the town,” said the mayor. “We are installing public benches and improving that public area.” Although the church does not pay municipal taxes, Gruenwald Jr. said it was a mutually beneficial agreement between the town and the church.

“We get access to the Rigaud River from rue Saint-Pierre through church property plus there is the use of the parking lot behind the church,” he noted.

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