120 year old church being demolished in Quebec—The demolition of the Saint-Cœur-de-Marie Church in Quebec City began Thursday morning. Work should continue until the end of October.
Heritage organizations are asking the government of François Legault to intervene quickly to save a church in Quebec from demolition. But it might be too late. The demolition works have begun.
The workers first attacked the dismantling of the octagonal dome at the top of the church steeple. The deconstruction of the tower is expected to reduce the size of the security perimeter that has been partially blocking part of the streets for many weeks.
The demolition of Saint-Coeur-de-Marie Church, located on the prestigious Grande Allée, was due to begin this morning. Real estate developer Louis Lessard acquired the building with the intention of building an 18-storey residential tower.
“The architecture of this church, Roman-Byzantine style, makes it one of the few if not the only one of its kind in Quebec,” says the Fédération Histoire Québec (Quebec History Federation).
This organization, which brings together 266 organizations of history, genealogy and heritage, has just sent a letter to the Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, asking her to use a provision of the Cultural Heritage Act to classify the church and prevent its demolition.
The heritage character of the Grande Allée has already been somewhat mistreated in recent years, argues the Quebec History Federation, including the demolitions of the Chapel of Franciscans and the convent of the Dominicans.
“This is a prestigious artery that is the gateway to Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” the organization said in a letter to the minister. That is why we are asking for the safeguarding of the Saint-Coeur-de-Marie church, because it is an important visual reference point on Grande Allée. “
The Minister of Culture said yesterday that she was not able to save the church. “This saga, which has been perpetuated for many years, has led to the deterioration of the building so that it is now considered a danger to the safety of citizens and that the courts have decided on its future” Nathalie Roy explained in a written statement sent to the medua. The minister, however, said she was “dismayed”.
Real estate developer Louis Lessard bought the church in 2010. He has already proposed nine residential projects, which involved the demolition of the church, all rejected by the City of Quebec. The developer is also suing the City for this purpose.
This winter, the church was the victim of a flood caused by the fault of the City, says Lessard. At the beginning of the month, the city finally concluded that the church was no longer safe. Quebec demanded, however, that the facade be preserved. The contractor refused and asked the courts to decide. Last Friday, the City finally granted the demolition permit, including the facade, approved by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Lessard now feels that he has a clear hand.
“It’s not a heritage building, it’s not a protected church. The government and the city had decided to protect seven churches and it was not part of it.,” says real estate developer Louis Lessard, owner of Saint-Coeur-de-Marie church
Lessard was referring to a September 2016 announcement in which the City pledged $ 15 million for the protection of seven churches. Saint-Coeur-de-Marie was not one of them.
The mayor of Quebec criticized yesterday the diocese of Quebec, which he said sold to the developer without a “development or integration plan.” “The citizens of Quebec can not be responsible for the future of all the churches in the territory,” said Régis Labeaume. It’s financially impossible. “