City ups stake in biotech museum

By Robert Frank

Laval intends to make a multimillion-dollar investment in the Armand Frappier Museum, which attracts more than 50,000 visitors a year to the city.

“We’re looking at that option, because we want to make it more appealing,” executive committee vice-chairman David De Cotis told The Suburban.

“The city will be investing in the construction of a new facility adjacent to the Cosmodome,” he confirmed in an interview, “due to the fact that the provincial government, which said that it would invest, has not yet come through with funding of its own.”

De Cotis declined to specify the size of the pending subsidy, which was not included in the city’s 2015 budget, and will therefore have to be presented to city council for ratification.

However, three days after the provincial election a year ago, museum CEO Guylaine Archambault told reporters that she wanted the province to kick in $3.6 million of the $5 million cost of the new premises, which she said was slated to open in December 2015.

At the time, Mayor Marc Demers committed the city to contribute $1 million toward the project. Taking over the province’s share implies that the city will up its stake to cover most of the remainder of the $5 million total.

Demers also committed the city to an ongoing $210,000 annual subsidy, and drug giant Merck said that it will give $250,000 a year to support the museum’s youth programs for five years.

“The city is taking an important stand to make an important investment and see that museum has the necessary finances to ensure that this great institution remains in Laval for many years to come,” he said.

Although during the 2014 election campaign, none of the political parties committed to spend on the project, the city hasn’t given up hope that the provincial government will eventually come through with funding.

“[Chomedey MNA] Guy Ouellette said last year that he would work very hard so that those funds would be available,” De Cotis said. “There are six [provincial] elected officials from Laval from the same party who should be working hand-in-hand to make sure that the funds are available.”

Architect’s concept of new BioCentre (green) that the Armand Frappier Museum wants to build adjacent to Cosmodome.
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