• John Jantak

St. Anne’s begins $460,000 water tower facelift


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Work is set to being to restore the exterior facade of the iconic water tower near eastbound Highway 20 in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

The iconic water tower in Ste. Anne de Bellevue that straddles the eastbound side of Highway 20 will undergo exterior renovations over the next three months to repair portions of crumbling concrete, apply a fresh coat of paint, and highlight the city’s name and logo on the structure.

Director General Martin Bonhomme presented details of the restoration work during a public information session that was attended by about 25 residents at the Harpell Centre on Monday evening, July 9.

Phases of repair

The work will be conducted in various phases and is scheduled to be completed by early October. Crumbling exterior concrete will be removed and damaged sections repaired. The tower will then be sandblasted and repainted for a total cost of about $460,000.

The restoration work will take place on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sound levels at the work site will not exceed 90 decibels, which is the sound of a vacuum cleaner, said Bonhomme. He added that the average ambient sound level from daily traffic on Highway 20 is about 70 decibels, not a significant difference. The contractor will also minimize the inconvenience caused by dust.

Cheaper than demolition

Mayor Paola Hawa said the cost of the renovation work is less than half of what it would have cost to demolish to tower which was pegged at almost $1 million.

“There were concerns raised yesterday about dust. You could imagine what it would have been like if the tower was demolished. It would have to be taken down piece-by-piece. You can’t just implode it,” Hawa told The Journal.

The city has dropped its plans to find another vocation for the tower. “We’ve given up on that. Our options are so limited with what we can do with it,” said Hawa. “People think it’s large inside. It’s not large at all, maybe the size of a bathroom. There’s not much space there. You can’t do anything useful with it.

“Even if we tried to turn it into an observation tower, there’s no place to park around there. We’re just going to use it as a beacon to let everybody on Highway 20 know they’ve reached Ste. Anne’s,” Hawa added.

Iconic symbol

The tower is still considered by many residents an iconic symbol that identifies Ste. Anne. “People are very attached to it. There’s been a lot of talk about what we should do with it. Do we demolish it? Do we repaint it? It is admittedly expensive to repaint, but we have to do that. It hasn’t been touched in 30 years. We have to do something with it,” said Hawa.

“The majority of feedback we got was to leave it, paint it and keep it pretty. So this is what we’re doing. We just want to make sure that whatever we do to it, we won’t have anything more to do for at least the next 20 years,” said Hawa. “We just want to keep it simple and pretty it up. It’ll have our city name and logo and it will stand the test of time.”

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