• John Jantak

Historian vows to destroy archival collection to protest Ste. Anne’s hose tower demolition


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt resident Jean-Marc Richard addresses Ste. Anne’s council members during question period at the Monday evening, September 12 meeting saying he will burn his personal collection of historic photos and memorabilia related to the city if the iconic hose tower atop city hall is demolished.

A Pincourt resident who has been collecting photographs and memorabilia related to Ste. Anne de Bellevue for several decades has vowed to destroy his extensive historic collection after a majority of councillors at the Monday evening council meeting on September 12 voted a second time in as many months to demolish the hose tower that sits atop city hall.

Jean-Marc Richard took to the podium during question period after the votes were cast and openly chastised the four councillors who support the demolition of the tower.

Richard bluntly said that if they don’t appreciate or recognize the historical significance of structure, then he might as well toss the thousands of photographs and artifacts he’s amassed over the past 50 years into the fire because they wouldn’t be of any interest to the city.

Richard, a member of a non-profit organization called The Association for the Preservation and Conservation of the Historic Artifacts of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, said he spent the past 50 years amassing his extensive historic collection.

“I’m very much opposed to the demolition,” Richard told Your Local Journal. “These guys who voted for it, their heart isn’t with Ste. Anne’s. They just want to be a public figure with a name plate. They don’t care about Ste. Anne’s. It’s a very frustrating thing for me. My late father and I studied the history of Ste. Anne’s. We sat down with many aged people at the time and they told us their stories.”

Councillors Francis Juneau, Daniel Boyer, Yvan Labelle and Michel Boudreault, who supported the motion to demolish the tower at the August meeting, voted again for its demolition. Councillors Dana Chevalier, Ryan Young and Mayor Paola Hawa who originally voted to preserve the tower, voted again save it.

Mayor Paola Hawa invoked a right of reconsideration after the initial motion was passed during the August council meeting that called for a second vote to be cast just after the start of the Monday meeting to determine whether the councillors who voted for the demolition last month still support their stance.

The final decision as to whether the city should proceed with the tower should be saved rests with its demolition committee that is comprised of Councillors Boudreault, Juneau and Young who will review the matter at an upcoming meeting that will determine its ultimate fate.

For Hawa, the fate of the tower has already been determined and doesn’t expect it to change when the committee convenes, especially since Boudreault and Juneau have already voted twice to demolish the structure at the two recent council meetings.

A separate motion that was adopted mandated a construction firm to design demolition plans which would see the tower removed before the end of the year.

Councillor Boudreault said in August that he voted for the demolition because the tower is no longer structurally sound and the $30,000 that would have been allocated for its renovation could be better spent elsewhere.

Hawa countered that $30,000 isn’t a significant amount of money especially when it comes to preserving a piece of the city’s heritage. She added that funds are always kept aside to address minor situations that may arise such as the salvaging the hose tower.

“I don’t agree with the demolition,” said Hawa. “I think it sets a bad precedent. It demonstrates a lack of moral leadership. To say it’s a question of money when it isn’t. It’s a matter of priorities.”

Ste. Anne Hospital

A financial agreement has been reached with the city and the province regarding the transfer of Ste. Anne Veterans’ Hospital from federal to provincial jurisdiction, with Quebec agreeing to pay $10.4 million for the period between 2016 and 2019 to offset the annual loss of about $3 million annually.

In addition, the province will also transfer vacant land surrounding the hospital for future residential developments that will allow the city to generate new tax revenue as a form of compensation.

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