A wall blocking completely the rue Saint-Paul for over a month raises the anger of the merchants in the sector, so that the owner who installed it defends itself not to have had the choice for reasons of security.
On 12 June, a wall appeared in front of the 196, rue Saint-Paul. To have access to shops or in the garage of their housing, people must borrow the Saint-Paul street in the opposite direction from the rue Rioux.
“I have a lot of difficulty understanding how they can cross a street like this,” plague Rafaël Perreault, Gallery Perreault.
“There is a way not to block off the street completely, leaving a access to a car,” said Mr. Perreault. The promoter could also do like in the beautiful cities and put them in front of a canvas with the cover printed on it. He told us that there is no danger that it falls in the portfolio. Only the pieces may fall.”
Moreover, half of the street is unobstructed for about a third of the front of the building to give access to a garage.
“In the background, it is to put pressure [on the City] to get his license to Airbnb [see text]. He [the sponsor] takes the whole world hostage. This winter, there has been work. A company to drill hit the ground, it knocked, but the building was not [likely] to fall in this time. But, now that there are more jobs, it became dangerous. I ask myself questions,” said Rafael Perreault.
“The building is built on fill. The ground is unstable. Yes, the stones at the top can be detached. There are reports of engineers which confirm that the façade is at the end of life. It is absolutely necessary to have a safety perimeter. I will not touch this area as I will not have an engineer’s report is telling me that they can be removed. That is going to have problems if it was an accident?” replica Nicolas Paradis, who runs the Buildings GParadis, owners of the building.
“And if the scope is wider on a part, it is that there is a crack”, he adds.
The building was constructed in 1860 and was designed by the renowned architect of Quebec’s Charles-Ferdinand Baillairgé.
Wednesday, the sponsor has obtained a$ 150,000 grant from the City of Quebec and the ministry of Culture and Communications for “the installation of shoring lateral support for the facade”.
This amount represents half of the cost of emergency work necessary to safeguard the façade and the removal of the wall on the rue Saint-Paul.
In return, the sponsor must undertake to complete the work by December 31, 2020, according to the official documents.
“I hired sub-contractors. And despite the vacation of the construction, the work will be completed by the 1st of September and the street will be released,” says Mr. Paradis.
The latter insists on the fact that it is only emergency work that do not guarantee the sustainability of the facade.
“For the moment, the strategy, that is, the shoring and re-open the street. The second step is to demolish the building by the street of quai Saint-André, of “pieuter” the facade from the inside, to rebuild the foundations and to rebuild”, he says.
The reaction of the City
David O’brien, chief spokesperson of the City of Quebec, states that the situation of the building is followed for 2018, the year from which permits have been given for the renovation of the façades of the building.
“These works have never been made and since then, the building has suffered some deterioration, notably on the facade of the rue Saint-Paul. In march 2020, we managed eventually to obtain a copy of the engineer’s report on the state of the building owned by the owner. The City has conducted an inspection and has subsequently sent a notice of violation,” he said.
The City has deemed a priority to establish a security perimeter to restrict the passage of pedestrians in front of the building and vehicles on the rue Saint-Paul, putting up shoring the lateral facade in a reasonable time and carry out the necessary work to ensure the integrity of the facade on the rue Saint-Paul.
“The blocking of the street to protect the public has been put in place by the sponsor in collaboration with the City, on the 12th of June, at the expense of the promoter, ensuring that the Service of protection against fire may intervene at any time.”
Mr. O’brien clarified that it is a folder under municipal jurisdiction “where the City has the authority to intervene to secure the premises.”
He added that the City is following this file very closely (…) so as to be able to allow new circulation on the rue Saint-Paul as soon as possible.”
To know if a net could be put in place instead of blocking the street, “it is the responsibility of the building owner to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. In such a case, the developer/owner must appoint a structural engineer to make recommendations as to the measures to be put in place. In the case of 196, St. Paul, the protection by concrete blocks and the proposed solution of a structure for the shoring were the solutions recommended and selected,” said Mr. O’brien.
– With the collaboration of Stéphanie Martin
Traders in the end
The presence of the wall on the rue Saint-Paul is not the only element that bothered the businessmen of the sector. They were against the way they do, and have still not digested the death of the Great Market.
“We arrived one morning and the street was blocked, without warning. It is disgusting, it is the “chnoutte”. It already has the coronavirus and now, my street becomes Beirut. People call us to ask us how to come. But how many do not telephone? Is it that the City wants to lose its shops?” asks Jean-Luc Vogel, co-owner of Frameworks, Marie-Pier.
Nicolas Paradis, whose company Buildings GParadis is the owner of 196, rue Saint-Paul, claims to have informed himself of the residents and merchants of the street.
However, the five traders and the owners interviewed by The Newspaper were all said to have been taken by surprise.
“This is unacceptable, this wall. Nowhere else in the city of Quebec, there it”, regrets Marcel Bolduc, owner of three commercial condos on the rue Saint-Paul.
Gregor Schwarz is the owner of the premises located just in front of the building in question.
“It was leased to a law office that has left because of the noise. With this situation, I can no longer rent. I paid less than$ 8000 of taxes, here, in 2009, now it is$ 18,000 per year. I asked questions to the City, but I still have not had answers,” he noted.
“Here [St. Paul], it is closed, St. Thomas is closed, the Large Market is gone, we no longer have a crowd. When I arrived in 2003, it was alive here. Now, at 7 in the evening, everything is closed. The city centre is dying,” said Mr Schwarz.
The Gallery Perreault is located at the corner of rue Saint-Paul and Saint-Thomas. This last is also blocked because of construction work on a building.
“It’s been two years that he has the work [on St. Thomas]. Sometimes, three weeks go by without work, sometimes, there are two employees, sometimes there are trucks like today,” laments Roch-André Perreault, owner of the Gallery Perrault.
“It was the COVID, there is not a tourist town, and in addition, we are blocking the street. Yes, there is always a pedestrian access, but is that it makes you want people to come when there are posters of construction everywhere?” despairs Rafaël Perreault, director of the Galerie Perreault.
“What does the mayor Labeaume? It takes the Old-Québec and transports it to its white elephant [the Centre Videotron]. It has killed the traffic of the streets, the heritage of the Old city. He did not like the neighborhood, otherwise, it will not let do similar things,” says Roch-André Perreault, who swallows always the move of the Big Market in particular.
“It will be necessary that the promoter is serious and that he may be able to reopen the street. You can’t block a street in Quebec city, saying “if we had contracts with sub-contractors, we will do.” I agree that it subsidizes the facade, but [there should be] a little bit of pressure on the promoter to that it clears the street,” said Jean Rousseau, advisor to the district, at the extraordinary session of the city council Wednesday.
– With the collaboration of Stéphanie Martin
A future still uncertain for the 196, Saint-Paul
Owner for “five or six years,” Mr. Paradise plans to make the tourist accommodations, like Airbnb, with 58 units in the building located at 196, rue Saint-Paul.
“The project is very expensive and must be integrated in a development plan. And this plan could not be that simple rental which pays less than the tourist accommodation,” says Mr. Paradis.
But in 2017, the City of Quebec has imposed a moratorium on tourist accommodation business which is now illegal in this sector.
“Everything was ready, I was in seven days of having my permit when the moratorium happened. It was terrible and the word is weak. My bank manager does not fund empty buildings. I paid it$ 1.3 M”, pleaded he.
Mr. Paradis returned to the charge with a request for a zoning change and a project of 45 units, always in tourist accommodation. An answer is expected in the fall.
“I do not blackmail, I had a draft of fifteen million and was told, to seven days’ notice, that I could not do it after waiting a year to have the permissions. I supported the empty building. I heated to keep the state of the facade. I have planted stakes in the winter, it cost 70 000$. I have already done a lot of things without knowing if I was going to have my licence, or get help,” says Mr. Paradis, who hesitates when asked whether he will go all the same from the front without the permission to do the tourist accommodation.
“I stop at the step of the shoring. The rest will integrate into my new project. There should not be any problems, but I have not been writing that I was going to have my license.”
“The City is proactive, something she was not before, here, I see the future,” says Mr. Paradise. They have the attitude to set the [problems on] the street Saint-Paul.”
“I’ve bought next to land that was free, and 10 days later, I started a project of rental apartments [non-tourist]. I bought the yellow house, [209, rue Saint-Paul] that report recommended the demolition to keep the building. (…) The work, it is not done without disturbing the world,” he says.
“The request to change the zoning, following its legal course and the steps required under the regulatory amendment process is followed. The City cannot give more information on the progress of this folder, the contents of the request remains confidential until the public part of the process,” said the spokesman of the City of Quebec, David O’brien.
“The demand has no influence on the facade of the building, which must be secured, regardless of the progress of the case,” concluded Mr O’brien.