---- Councillors focus on residential projects, funding the multi-rink complex, staying active in the community
Gatineau’s municipal council held their first public meeting since returning from their summer break, August 25. Councillors discussed a number of pressing issues and voted on the fate of Tours Lucerne, a contentious residential project in Aylmer.
--Word from the mayor
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin reminded residents to remain vigilant regarding COVID-19, noting that the city is doing everything it can to keep folks safe. Despite recently reopening municipal service counters, he encouraged residents to use municipal services online as much as possible. Pedneaud-Jobin spoke about the city’s solution to modify the financing protocol for La Cité multi-rink complex, noting that it was the best economic decision to make.
An important project for so many people - from hockey players to taxpayers, the mayor said the project is worth approximately $100 million. Pointing to the Robert-Guertin Arena in Hull – which is currently a homeless shelter – Pedneaud-Jobin said the city is close to finding a solution with CISSSO and the Gatineau Olympiques. He added that an announcement should be made soon, noting that the city will do what it can to meet the needs of the local homeless population and the hockey community.
The Mayor also praised the community for remaining as vibrant, active and creative as possible during the summer, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aylmer councillor Audrey Bureau thanked residents who voiced their opinions to the city regarding BRIGIL’s residential project, Tours Lucerne. She highlighted the Aylmer Association of Professionals, Industrialists and Merchants’ (APICA) efforts to bring vibrancy to the sector – notably with its BougeBouge initiative aimed at getting people active while supporting local businesses. Bureau noted that she was selected by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities to represent Gatineau in a climate change leadership program that will go from August until January 2021.
Deschênes councillor Mike Duggan presented a letter from residents thanking councillors for saving the Deschênes Forest during July’s council meeting.
Lucerne councillor Gilles Chagnon invited residents to be more careful on the roads with school almost back in session. Chagnon also promoted activities with BougeBouge in his own district, taking place on September 13 at Parc du Renard, featuring a boot camp and Buti yoga with a live DJ.
Plateau councillor Maude Marquis-Bissonnette said the Plateau Market was dynamic despite the pandemic, noting that it takes place every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm.
--Public question period
Council received around 15 questions from residents on various subjects, with several speaking out against the planned residential project on 62-64 boulevard de Lucerne.
An Aylmerite named David Paige expressed concern that the city is turning too much of Aylmer’s greenspace into future neighbourhoods, noting that the high rate of development is having negative effects on traffic and the environment.
Deschênes councillor Mike Duggan responded that Gatineau’s selection of parks and greenspaces was quite extensive for a modern city, highlighting its efforts to obtain 75 per cent of the Boucher Forest and recently saving the Deschênes Forest, and suggested that residents consult the city’s urban plan on its website for more information. He added that municipal council voted to invest approximately $30 million to improve Gatineau’s cycling infrastructure, earlier in this mandate.
Pedneaud-Jobin emphasized that the city has taken concrete action to fight climate change for the last several years, including approving the construction of a tramway connecting to Ottawa and encouraging residents to compost their waste.
--Aylmer infrastructure projects green-lighted
Among other things, council approved BRIGIL’s residential project called Tours Lucerne, involving the construction of two eight-storey residential buildings on 62-64 boulevard de Lucerne, with 200 units, 103 new trees planted and an indoor parking lot.
Deschênes councillor Mike Duggan, who proposed the project, said he understood residents’ concern with the project. But he couldn’t turn it down because the developer followed every step throughout the legal process. “They did all their homework,” Duggan said. “I don’t have any legal arguments to block it. I can’t just say I don’t like it.”
Council also approved the construction of a multi-family residential building with eight units on 15 rue du Centre, a single-family home on 46 chemin Fraser, and two integrated residential projects in the Plateau district located on 365-516 boulevard de l’Amérique-Française and 25-105 rue de Marguerite Maillé, respectively.
Plateau councillor Maude Marquis Bissonnette said the project would be undertaken by Construction Junic and involves the construction of seven four-floor buildings to accommodate the district’s growing population. Knowing that the project is concerning for many residents, she intends to host a public consultation, with the promoter present. She noted that further details would be unveiled soon.
Council also approved a modification to the financing protocol for the La Cité four-rink complex and future home of the Gatineau Olympiques, thanks to a $21 million investment from Investissement Québec that will see the city pay $310 per hour, instead of $302, for ice time when the new complex opens and at the Branchaud-Brière complex. The city invested approximately $37.8 million into the project.
Next meeting open to public
Municipal council President Daniel Champagne said September’s meeting would be held in person and be accessible to the public.