No sidewalks heated on the rue Sainte-Catherine?

Photo: Daoust Lestage
The redevelopment project of the Sainte-Catherine street West presented by the administration of Denis Coderre in may 2015 called for the construction of sidewalks heated.

The work of the Sainte-Catherine street West will begin next week, but the artery iconic will likely be no sidewalks heated as envisaged in the original project. The experience of the place Vauquelin, where the system pavers heating does not work, has prompted the administration of Valérie Plante to question the use of this technology for the rue Sainte-Catherine.


When she was elected as mayor of Montreal last November, Valérie Plante had made a commitment to review several projects of his predecessor. The project of the Sainte-Catherine street West was part of it.


“We are not putting the project into the garbage. Absolutely not. […] And we do not want to delay the work. They are needed. We look forward to creating this new Sainte-Catherine street, which is so expected, ” explained the Duty of the mayor Wednesday. “But there are choices that have been made by the previous administration. It was decided to question and search a little more before you give the go. “


Montreal will, as of January 8, next, the rehabilitation of the sewer main located under the artery, between the boulevard Robert-Bourassa and rue De Bleury, in the first phase of the work. Phase 1 of the project, the cost of which is estimated at 131 million, will focus on the segment located between Mansfield and De Bleury street, including the redevelopment of the square Phillips.


By the end of 2021, it is across the street West Sainte-Catherine street, between Bleury and Atwater, which will be refitted with larger sidewalks.


The place Vauquelin


The directors Plant is ready, however, to jettison the sidewalks heated, the costs of which are estimated to be 26 million. The mayor commented on the difficulties encountered with the slabs heated installed in place Vauquelin in the context of the work of $ 14.7 million for the reconstruction of the site. Doing away with the ice and snow, this system was supposed to reduce the breakage of the slabs attributable to the machinery of snow removal.


This system is still not functional. During the passage of Duty to the place Vauquelin Wednesday noon, a vehicle for the removal of snow and began, moreover, to clear the site.


“I look out my window and I see the results inconclusive, admits Valerie Plant. It is in the process of assessing the issue of sidewalks heated [on the Sainte-Catherine street] : sidewalks heating are they the best way to invest money in Montreal, where in an improvement in the experience of the street, urban furniture or in the way of conceiving the street ? Every dollar is so important that we want to ensure that it is the best choice. “


If the City waives the sidewalks heated, it will pay particular attention to snow removal, said Robert Beaudry, head of the economic development committee to the executive committee.


The City has confirmed that the slabs in the heating of the place Vauquelin did not work. The failure of the fountain in July of last year has required the replacement of the electrical system feeding the slabs.


Then, at the beginning of the month of December, the City found that it would install a system of pumping steam on the heat exchanger.


Once this system is in place, it is believed that the slabs may be heated, at the latest in mid-February 2018. Slabs heating cost of less than a million dollars on a total budget of 14.7 million, has been provided.


Tax credits ?


Administration Plant did not want to indicate what other changes to the project of the rue Sainte-Catherine could be done or if it had to construct bike lanes. “We want the Sainte-Catherine street is a destination street. This means that it is necessary to have easy access to it and want to stay there, ” said Ms. Plant.


The City plans to establish a system of compensation fees for merchants likely to suffer negative impacts of projects, not only those of the rue Sainte-Catherine, but also those of other commercial streets in Montreal. “It is sure that we will take advantage of the opportunity that gives us the status of a metropolis to support our traders in every way possible,” underlined Valérie Plant.


General manager of Destination Centre-Ville, André Poulin deplores the climate of uncertainty created around this site


“The problem is that it’s been three years since we bugged the whole world with something that we do not know. It has created apprehension and uncertainty. There will be no major obstacles in the coming months and we do not know the programming of the work after the month of June, ” he recalled.


“The shops have not renewed their lease because they feared all sorts of things. But I have good hope that it will be less serious than all the melodrama that we did around it. “


On the side of the City, it is noted that the impediments to the circulation may be more important starting in January 2018.