It is a small bit of ordinary street; A coast that had cost $ 300,000 to build. Banal until we learn that the 200-meter stretch was closed to traffic soon after its construction, almost 10 years ago. And that it is at the heart of a multi-million dollar pursuit.
Here we are at the town hall of Beaupre, east of Quebec, in discussion with the mayor of the place, Pierre Renaud. At his side, the general manager and treasurer, Roch Lemieux.
Above our heads, on the grounds overlooking the town hall, are the cozy houses which were accessible by the coast of the cliff. An exceptional site: in front, the view of the river; Behind, the view of the slopes of Mont Sainte-Anne.
Except that the coastline leading to these homes has been blocked since 2008 – concrete blocks at attention keep the Ministry of Transport’s instructions in place. And since 2008, invoices are accumulating for the City, without a permanent solution for the residents.
In fact, the belligerents have just agreed on the remedy to be administered: it will be necessary to completely redo the coast of Falaise since it collapses inexorably, a project of more than $ 3 million. “The coast continues to work,” says Pierre Renaud.
But the insurers of the engineering firm who designed the original plans and those of the firm of experts who analyzed the soil before the site do not take the blame. While the lawyers appointed by Beaupre make them responsible and require the reimbursement of all expenses incurred: appraisals, legal fees, “temporary” fixing of another access road and its maintenance … This will increase the bill. “There will be a lot of expenses claimed,” observes Roch Lemieux.
So, when is the long awaited work? Pierre Renaud burst out laughing. “It started before I was in office […] long before I was mayor,” he says. “We thought it would take four or five years. We’re close to 10 years later … I have no idea. ”
Only one certainty for the municipality: “The coast of the cliff should never have been built”, reads in documents of the municipal council that we consulted. Expertises carried out over three years would have confirmed it. Also, solving the problem will result in “prohibitive and unreasonable costs”. That puts a heavy burden on a city with an annual budget of about $ 10.5 million.
Meanwhile, Mayor Renaud continues, the residents of this plateau overlooking Beaupré use the temporary lane set up in 2008, a “makeshift” way that prevents them from passing through the commercial heart of the city. Collateral victims, traders scoop, he argues.
“They left us in the blue”
“It harms our real estate value and it’s not safe to know that [the land] slips.”
At the top of the Falaise coast, at Beaupre, there are several mansions of a certain size. Their residents have had to make a small detour since 2008 to get home, since the Ministry of Transport condemned the said coast because it sinks. That’s where we met Saxton Kelso and his spouse.
Strong in mouth, he took the opportunity to criticize the lack of corrective despite the years that pass. “They left us in the blue. […] They do not tell us anything. “He hopes above all that the highlands, including his own, are stable and do not risk the same fate as the coast in perdition. “I always stayed with a doubt.”
Saxton Kelso would like the coast to be quickly rebuilt, notably to provide more security to the neighborhood accessed by a single “temporary” road originally built to serve the municipal snow deposit. But he feared the explosion of costs. “They are returned to three million points some …” And he would like to know the fault to which this legal bending for 200 meters of road. “There’s somebody somewhere who has not done his job. […] They had to know that the ground was moving. ”
Many road worksites
There will be a lot of roadworks in Beaupre this year. Three times more than usual. Fourteen streets will be opened during the summer.
“That’s because the piping is being re-done. We must rebuild the underground infrastructures, “explains the general manager and treasurer, Roch Lemieux. “For the City, it’s a big amount, it’s major.”
In a typical year, adds Mayor Pierre Renaud, the municipality invests between $ 1.5 million and $ 2 million on its roads.
However, generous federal and provincial programs have stimulated ambitions. Approximately $ 5.5 million worth of projects are being considered, of which 83% will be spent by the higher levels. These projects stem from the March 1 announcement of some $ 158 million in grants for water and sewer systems in the Greater Quebec City area.