• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s council majority votes again to demolish the city hall hose tower


A majority of Ste. Anne de Bellevue council voted a third consecutive time at the Tuesday evening meeting to proceed with the demolition of the historic hose tower that sits atop city hall.

The hose tower atop Ste. Anne de Bellevue city hall is another step closer to demolition after council voted four-to-three for a third time in favour of adopting a resolution at the Tuesday evening meeting on October 11 to proceed with a call for tenders to demolish the 80-year-old structure.

It was the third consecutive vote that saw councillors Francis Juneau, Daniel Boyer, Yvan Labelle and Michel Boudreault support the demolition, with Mayor Paola Hawa and Councillors Dana Chevalier and Ryan Young opposing it when the same resolution was first presented at the August council meeting.

Hawa invoked a ‘right of reconsideration’ during the meeting to give council another 30 days to reconsider its stance, but the outcome at the September council meeting was the same. The matter then went before the city’s demolition committee for a second time during a public meeting last Thursday that saw committee members Juneau and Boudreault vote again for the demolition and Young against it.

At issue is whether it would be more cost-efficient to demolish the tower or carry out the necessary repairs in order to preserve it as a permanent part of Ste. Anne’s heritage. The four councillors who support the demolition are opposed to the estimated $30,000 total restoration cost, although Hawa says it’s only $14,000 which makes it affordable.

Juneau doesn’t dispute the $14,000 price tag but said after the meeting that the figure doesn’t include the cost of the annual inspections that would have to be done for the next 10 years to ensure the structural integrity of the tower remains intact which would bring the overall total cost of the restoration back to its original estimate.

He added that while the restoration work itself would be guaranteed for 10 years, the city would have to absorb additional costs if other unanticipated and unrelated problems occur. “There’s no guarantee that we won’t have to do something else,” said Juneau who noted that an engineering report indicated there are water seepage problems with the cement.

“We’ll probably have to put in more money into it within the next few years but we don’t know what that amount would be,” Juneau told Your Local Journal.

Hawa said the cost of the annual inspection for the tower would be no different than other infrastructure inspection costs that the city incurs each year to maintain its bridges, streets, and parks.

“Do we take this into consideration when we go and check our overpasses or maintain the tennis court or a park when we put the sums aside for basic infrastructure? I just find it a little bit odd as a calculation to include the inspection fee to the overall restoration cost. Whether or not the maintenance cost is included, it’s a regular cost,” said Hawa.

Hawa is so adamant about saving the tower that she started an online fundraising initiative on the gofundme.com website two weeks ago that has so far raised about $1,200. She added that with additional money donated by people who have made direct deposits, e-transfers and promissory notes into a personal bank account that Hawa set up, the total amount collected to date is about $5,000.

If the $14,000 goal is not reached by a tentative October 30th deadline, all money collected will be returned to the respective donors and the demolition will proceed. When asked whether she was optimistic about achieving her goal, Hawa replied, “I always keep hope. Until proven otherwise, I keep hope.”

To access the GoFundMe campaign, go to http://tinyurl.com/htu68ej

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