Relaunch of the cultural complex project in Longueuil

The new mayoress of Longueuil, Catherine Fournier, is relaunching the project to build a major cultural complex to bring together various institutions, including the Théâtre de la Ville, in the same place. For the first time, the administration plans to establish the building outside the city center, on land a few meters from the St. Lawrence River.

« The objective is to have a major performance hall », declared at the outset to the To have to Catherine Fournier. The mayor added in the same breath that “the project has evolved over time”.

Longueuil has been considering the project for a major cultural complex for nearly 15 years. Initially, like Place des Arts, it was to bring together three institutions on the same site: the Théâtre de la Ville, the Théâtre Motus and the Orchester symphonique de Longueuil. “Version 2.0 is currently mainly driven by the Théâtre de la Ville, which is the largest cultural organization in our territory,” she says.

Hurry up

She explains: “Given that the project has been in a kind of stagnation for more than 10 years, it is certain that the other organizations have taken their own path. So it is not said that this will be the official home of these bodies. » Discussions are underway with cultural societies.

But time is running out. The « only room of importance in Longueuil » is the Pratt & Whitney room at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, which has approximately 900 seats, recalls the mayor. As the Théâtre de la Ville had to move because of the complex, the cégep developed its own projects to occupy the site, “notably a brand new health pavilion. Also, there is a significant increase in the student population, so the CEGEP needs space,” she explains.

Avoid additional costs

And indeed, the case dragged on. Over the years, delays in discussions between Longueuil and Quebec not only delayed the project, but also resulted in considerable additional costs. “In 2013, the cost of the project was 45 to 50 million dollars. What we learned is that in July 2021, a new technical plan was submitted to the government and that the costs were around 170 million, ”sums up Fournier.

Result: the previous Longueuil administration finally decided to put the project on hold in 2021. And in March 2022, it was the Quebec government’s turn to remove it from the list of infrastructures it finances by removing it from the Plan. Quebec Infrastructure (PQI).

The costs of a new project have not yet been assessed. “But it is certain that we do not intend to make a complex of 170 million dollars”, assures Mme Fournier. To reduce costs, Longueuil is seriously considering moving the project out of downtown.

Until now, the city had never considered moving away from the current Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke metro station. The administration is targeting land that belongs to it near the river, at the intersection of rue Saint-Charles Est and boulevard Roland-Therrien; near route 132.

“Moving further east can reduce technical constraints, but also have a more interesting market opening for the east of Longueuil and the South Shore, where cultural activities are located,” notes she.

If the cultural vocation must prevail over the others, Mme Fournier wants to analyze the possibility « of giving a multifunctional dimension » to the complex: « In Longueuil, there is no large-scale meeting space, either, to host conventions, even though we are the fifth largest city in Quebec. »

Longueuil hopes to be able to submit the project to the Government of Quebec from the « beginning of the year 2023 ».

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