Letter to the editor 2, April 20, 2017

Ste. Anne Water Tower questions

Dear Editor,

On Monday, April 10, at the monthly meeting of the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Mayor Paola Hawa proposed a resolution to apply for a project grant in respect to the town’s water tower. It’s well known that residents and members of the council have long debated the fate of the tower located in the centre of a residential area and near Highway 20;

I personally did not hear about a citizens' meeting to discuss it.

Mayor Hawa refers to a suggestion by the landscape architect Sevag Pogharian in a proposal for an indoor greenhouse according to the article by journalist John Jantak of Your Local Journal, April 13, page 7. My question – has Mr. Pogharian visited the tower?

What does Mr. Pogharian mean by indoor greenhouse? Are they agricultural gardens, flower gardens, or climbing vines? In any case it will be necessary to keep constant maintenance, frequent watering with an automated system (sprinklers), controlled ventilation and especially a lot of light. If it’s artificial light, that will require powerful electric contribution. The roof must be redone. Will it be a transparent roof? Who will maintain this greenhouse? The city or someone else? And at what cost? Will it be open to visitors and if so, where will they park? I’ve tried contacting Mr. Pogharian but he is not available.

Photo by Michel Belleau

Has all this been discussed in depth? If so, why not publicize the outcome of the discussion? Or is it another dream of the mayor?

Now let's look at the current state of the tower – the upper part is in a state of delamination with a lot of efflorescence, a crystalline deposit, usually white, which is commonly found in construction products containing Portland cement, masonry cement and/or lime. It often gives a faded, spotted or discolored appearance, even if it is only a deposit that is over the color. Efflorescence consists of mineral salts on the surface of the facing caused by the migration of water to the surface through the elements. It’s a normal phenomenon that fades over time and it can take up to five years for the mineral salts to be washed away and removed from the elements and mortar.

Part of the upper band siding is crumbling, the window openings are unprotected, and cracks appear along the main structure.

All this implies that it’s necessary to redo the exterior of the tower without counting waterproofing the interior walls. What will it cost even if we have a grant that covers a large portion of the expenses?

I repeat there is no place for parking without counting all the trouble that it will cause for area property owners.

You will surely ask me what I would do, so I reply that simplicity is in much better taste.

Here's what I would do, assuming the town can get a decent grant:

Redo the tower’s exterior and install new letters with the symbol (three waves) illuminated for the evening and night. Not only would people see the tower from several kilometres away, but it would also serve as a beacon for airplane pilots. The cost would be much less than the suggestion of an indoor greenhouse.

After discussion with a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) representative, there are no grants for the type of project that the city wants to do, so why make a resolution? Did town council contact the people at the FCM?

I leave you to judge.

Michel Belleau


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