Old Aylmer gets a boost
--City launches financial assistance program to enhance built heritage
On April 9, the city of Gatineau adopted a financial assistance program dedicated to highlighting and preserving local heritage infrastructure. Officially titled the Programme d’aide financière pour la mise-en-valeur du patrimoine bâtit, the program is primarily intended to enhance awareness, protection and educating knowledge about local heritage. According to a press release issued by the city on the same date, the program will provide financial assistance to private property owners of buildings with heritage value.
Projects involved in the program should be dedicated to consolidating, preserving or restoring heritage components of buildings. It added that funding would also be admissible for the production of professional studies and analytical reports.
Properties admissible for the program include:
-Buildings with heritage citations from the city under the Loi sur le patrimoine culturel;
-Buildings located in heritage sites, under the same by-law, such as the ones in Aylmer, Kent-Aubry-Wright, and Quartier-du-Moulin;
-Buildings with exceptional, superior, or strong heritage value according to the city’s inventories Inventaire et classement du patrimoine bâtit and its Inventaire et caractérisation du patrimoine bâtit de la région de l’Outaouais;
-Buildings affected by the Règlement relatif aux plans d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale or those included within the Programme particulier d’urbanisme du Centre-ville’s perimeter.
Admissible subsidies and maximal levels of financial assistance from the program are as follows:
-Reimbursement of 60 per cent of eligible expenses up to $25,000, for consolidation, preservation and restoration of characteristic elements of buildings;
-Reimbursement of 75 per cent of eligible expenses up to $30,000, to restore doors, windows, and roofing;
-Reimbursements of 70 per cent of eligible expenses up to $2,000, for building health logs and specific technical studies performed by professionals, and archaeological interventions and reports;
-And reimbursements of 75 per cent of eligible expenses up to $2,000 for heritage restoration consultations.
Stating that the city invests important sums of money to preserve and highlight local heritage infrastructure every year, the press release noted that the new program will be an addition to those funds. The program will also include a contribution of approximately $1.9 million from the Québec government as part of its new Programme de soutien au milieu municipal en patrimoine immobilier. It added that the Ministry of Culture and Communications and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing are funding 60 per cent of the program, with the city taking care of the rest. The program should be in effect until 2023, or until all its funding is spent.
Considering the high costs of maintaining characteristics that make heritage buildings special, the Aylmer Heritage Association’s Coordinator Dominique Dufour called the program a big positive in supporting the organization’s mandate. “We’re regularly solicited by citizens who want to either restore or renovate … this will directly support those property owners of heritage homes that don’t always have the funds for work that respects the history of their home,” Dufour said, emphasizing the importance of preserving Old Aylmer’s charm despite development. “If we really want to respect the materials, colours, and textures and all that, it can bring costs that are pretty high,” he added. “So, to have access to this program for the citizens will be a gold mine.”
Stating that home-owners have been requesting such a program from the city for a long time, Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau said she was happy that an important need in the community will be directly addressed. “I welcome this with a lot of enthusiasm,” Bureau said. Calling the program great news for Gatineau, Commission des arts, de la culture, des lettres, et du patrimoine President and L’Orée-du-Parc district councillor Isabelle N. Miron said it perfectly supports the city’s desire to invest in local culture, history, and identity. “This program allows the city to recognize and further protect built heritage in Gatineau, and to celebrate and value the history of our city,” Miron told the press. More detailed information about the program, including the delimited perimeters where buildings are eligible and how to apply for financial assistance, is available on the city’s website.