Ghosting Aylmer’s marina pavilion?
The Bulletin has just reported Gatineau’s plan to demolish the Park des Cèdres pavilion building. This is the building that houses the Resto-Bar Marina, whose lease ends in 2018. It is a three-season restaurant with an enormous patio and ample bathrooms. Aylmer has plenty of beautiful spots, and this one is a treasure. The Ayoub family has managed to provide a comfortable spot to watch the sun set behind sailboat masts in the marina and the bustling sailing school. The food is casual, as fits the park.
As darkness falls on hot summer nights, the boardwalk in front of the pavilion lights up with vintage street-lights and when the salsa band turns up the volume at the pavilion’s marina restaurant, there isn’t a still foot to be found. What healthier way to spend a Friday night than salsa dancing at the water’s edge?
The vista of sailboats, their lit-up masts dotting the bay, rounds out this picturesque scene.
Now the city plans to tear this building down and rebuild on the site. This could be good news as the building is in dire need of repair. It could be good news if there weren’t worrisome precedents of endless city delays nearby. Residents would be correct to fear years of rebuilding delay -- once the building comes down. That’s a hot potato no politician wants to have land in her lap.
The smaller beach pavilion just west of the Marina Pavilion has been neglected for over five years. The problems started with public access to potable water outside the beach pavilion and at the park; both were defective – until they were simply stripped down to the basics and, in the case of the beach pavilion, left half-dismantled for two years. As for the playground drinking fountain, it wasn’t repaired but removed! At the beach pavilion, the canteen shop has been shuttered for two summers; it was once a bustling centre of the beach scene, selling cold water and popsicles all summer.
Along the eastern side of the beach pavilion is a set of outdoor showers. They are especially useful for swimmers to rinse off when the city’s own big notice sign next to the boarded-up canteen alerts swimmers to diminished water quality. As the summer heat dries up the river and water quality plummets, those showers also tend to dry up. Over the last five years, they have functioned only at the beginning of the season. The city can’t see them, apparently.
These examples of ignored city services are a warning about what could happen to the Marina Pavilion. Or what had better not happen to that precious Aylmer location. Before the demolition begins, residents want assurances that its rebuilding plans are approved, that the money is ready, as are the contractors. Aylmerites have tolerated a lot from this amalgamated city, but if City Hall expects them to be patient with a long delay in rebuilding at a torn-down Marina Pavilion, they are mistaken.