By Tracey Arial
During their March 4 council meeting, Verdun representatives passed three motions about renovations and construction along the Verdun waterfront.
They approved a request for financial assistance from MELS for a pool to be built near Monsignor-Richard Secondary School Pavilion. They revived the Studio A and B renovation project in the Guy Gagnon building where the Circus School is located and approved one of seven possible arena renovations submitted by bureaucrats.
“These projects, which have been in the works for years, respond to the concrete needs of the Verdun population,” said Verdun Mayor Jean-François Parenteau. “Now we have to garner the political will to make them happen. We have the opportunity to answer the demands people have been expressing for years by developing a real cultural and sports hub on the Verdun waterfront.”
The first motion requests that bureaucrats request two million dollars from the Ministère de l’Éducation, du loisir et du sport (MELS) for its planned Aquatic Centre. This is the money promised in an announcement by Jean-François Lisée when he visited Verdun on February 28.
Lisée announced $5,024,076.06 in funding for four infrastructure projects:
• Verdun’s Aquatic Centre for $2 million;
• The Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne’s swimming pool for $1.4 million;
• lighting in the Southwest borough’s Ignace-Bourget Park for one million dollars; and
• basketball and tennis courts at école Des Sources for $600,000.
Verdun’s Aquatic Centre includes two pools, similar to those at the Aquadome. The first will have either 6 or 8 lanes 25 metres long. The second will be a recreational pool and water park. Verdun plans to spend $18.6 million on the project, with a third of that from grants.
The second motion mandates the borough’s engineering department to review a plan to renovate the Guy-Gagnon building that was shelved by the former council. The project proposal in its current form would cost Verdun $5.3 million dollars, but might be able to be revamped to cost less and still attain similar goals.
The third motion approved “scenario 3B” to tear down and reconstruct the Denis Savard arena in its entirety. The new building will include the current Art Deco façade once it has been restored. It will also be constructed to meet LEED gold standards. The project is estimated to cost $26.75 million dollars, with $13 million coming from grants.
Several citizens asked questions about the motions on the agenda, with two asking questions about the waterfront projects. Jacqueline Leroux expressed frustration that a pool wouldn’t be constructed on Nun’s Island.
“People on Nun’s Island have lots of interior pools in the condos,” said Mayor Parenteau in response to her question. “Arthur Therrien is central, if people want to swim. We need a bridge between Nun’s Island and the mainland.”
Philippe Boisvert also expressed concern that Verdun was developing the mainland downtown sector. He said that a needs survey conducted in 2008 recommended two public pool pavilions in Verdun, one on Nun’s Island and a second in Crawford Park.
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