Quebec The Labeaume administration has decided not to have the Quebec Bridge inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, citing the opposition of CN, the owner of the soon-to-be-centenary book. The train has passed: it will take ten years to resubmit the file.
The City of Québec has twice expressed its intention to have the heritage value of the Québec bridge recognized by UNESCO. Completed in September 1917, it is the longest cantilever bridge in the world. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995. This does not prevent the rust from progressing on the steel structure in the absence of extensive painting work.
The city’s first plea dates back to the end of 2014. The executive committee’s vice-president, Julie Lemieux, initiated the process in full municipal council. “The Québec Bridge is more than a bridge, it is a symbol of success that has the potential to become our icon, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty In New York, “she said, convinced that the metal structure had everything to deserve international recognition.
“If we can feel even more guilty about CN’s friends, we’ll be happy,” added Mayor Régis Labeaume, wishing to force the owner to repaint the bridge after an abortive attempt in the 2000s.
Municipal officials then learned that it was first necessary to make their way on the tentative list of Canadian sites suggested to UNESCO, updated approximately every ten years. Ideally, the agreement of the bridge owner should also be obtained. The project had therefore been left in abeyance.
Last August, the Government of Canada finally issued a call for proposals for “exceptional places” that could aspire to a World Heritage Site. Mayor Labeaume reacted by saying that he would not “hate” attempting the coup for the Quebec bridge. “We’ll try it, I think. We look at that, “he said.
The proponents had until the end of January to submit a file. Parks Canada confirmed to the Sun that it had received 41 proposals “with a good representation of sites across the country”, but did not give names. In Quebec, it is known that Anticosti Island and the Saguenay Fjord are candidates. The winners will be announced later this year.
No green light from CN
Verification made to the mayor’s office, no file has been submitted by the City of Québec. “We would not even be able to do it because we do not have the owner’s OK,” said Paul-Christian Nolin, press officer.
CN told the Sun that it has not been formally consulted on the procedure. His spokesman, Jonathan Abecassis, however admitted that the company was not warm to the idea. “We have always maintained that it would be up to future owners to showcase the heritage and tourism potential of the bridge,” he said.
Mr. Abecassis added that “the Mallette report provides some solutions to a governance structure that is consistent with our position, which remains unchanged”.
The Quebec Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) and its ally, the accounting firm Mallette, suggested in its proposal for a business model and governance model for the Quebec Bridge that two new organizations Nonprofit to look after the structure. One of them would own and maintain it. The other would promote it.
In any case, recognition of UNESCO is desired to facilitate funding and attract tourists. Citing a study carried out in 2007, the Chamber calculates that the status of a World Heritage site and a tourism offer accordingly could increase tourism by 3% in the Québec City region. Ultimately, this would mean an additional $ 40 million in economic spin-offs annually.