• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s hose tower will be demolished next week


Mayor Paola Hawa said that preparatory work to demolish the hose tower atop Ste. Anne de Bellevue city hall began mid-November and the demolition will be completed by next week.

Preliminary work to demolish the hose tower atop Ste. Anne de Bellevue city hall began yesterday after a majority of council voted one last time to proceed with its demolition. The final vote was taken during a special sitting of council on November 9 that was attended by all six councillors and Mayor Paola Hawa at the Harpell Centre.

As they have during several council meetings and public information sessions since August, Councillors Francis Juneau, Daniel Boyer, Yvan Labelle and Michel Boudreault supported the demolition and Councillors Dana Chevalier, Ryan Young and Mayor Paola Hawa opposed it.

An online Facebook and Go Fund Me campaign started by Hawa over one month ago only raised about $5,000 of the required $14,000 to restore the hose tower. All the money that was pledged has been returned to the donors except for about $150. “This person lives in the United States and we’re trying to figure out how to return it,” said Hawa.

“The only thing you can do is become resigned to it and it is what it is. It’s unfortunate but you have to accept it and just move on,” said Hawa when asked how she felt about the demolition which will be completed next week.

The final vote didn’t surprise Hawa but it sparked controversy amongst residents. Some said the tower should be preserved because of its historic heritage while others opposed it saying the crumbling structure no longer serves any useful purpose and it isn’t worth the cost to maintain it.

One resident chastised council during question period at the Monday evening council meeting because residents were only given 24 hours advance notice about the special session that determined the final fate of the tower when it was posted on the town’s website the day before.

The resident said it isn’t enough time to advise the community and people don’t check the city’s website each day. He suggested that the city consider giving more of an advance notice about special sessions by advising citizens ahead of time via email.

Council meeting venue

A decision to hold all 2017 council meetings exclusively at the Harpell Centre drew flack from some residents who live the city’s northern sector. For the past three years after Hawa became mayor, meetings have alternated between the Harpell Centre in the south and the Peter Williamson Chalet in the north.

The decision was welcomed by northern sector residents at the time, some of whom felt alienated from municipal affairs because of the geographic layout of the two distinct districts which are cut in half by two major highways. Hawa said the alternating venues would also help to promote transparency.

A resolution to proceed with the change was adopted by a council majority except for District 5 councillor Yvan Labelle who voted against it. Labelle along with Michel Boudreault are two councillors who serve their respective northern districts.

District 2 Councillor Ryan Young said one of the reasons for the change was because some residents in the south don’t have adequate transportation options, which makes it difficult for them to attend council meetings in the north. Hawa added that other municipalities hold their monthly council meetings at the same place and it would be best for Ste. Anne’s to do so likewise.

Preferred parking stickers intended to free up street parking for residents in the south also drew criticism from some north sector residents who told council that the new initiative will discourage many residents from travelling to the village to do their shopping.

Even though Hawa explained the stickers are intended to help village residents secure parking spots in front of their homes, one northern resident said he’d rather travel to neighbouring Kirkland to shop instead of driving around trying to find a parking spot in Ste. Anne's.

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