Saturday , October 16 2021

After the protest, Quebec city said politics was not involved in the demolition of controversial houses

There was strong public condemnation of the demolition of a house in the city of Chambly, Que., In connection with a civil rebellion against British rule in the 1800s.

The house, built around 1820, was home to René Boileau, a local notary who took part in the 1837-1838 Rebellion.

His father, also named René, was a member of the Lower Canadian parliament for the Canadian party, which later became the Patriot party in 1826.

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Maison Boileau on Chambly, Que., Shown in the photo handout without this number.

Raymond Ostiguy / The Canadian Press

Despite efforts by local residents to save the house, a destructive ball brought down Maison Boileau on Thursday.

Michel Larose, the city's director general, said he made the decision to destroy him because of his poor condition, insisting that it had nothing to do with politics.

"This is primarily a question of safety that has prompted me to act," Mr Larose said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Mr Larose said the municipalities were not required by law to have a resolution from the council to destroy buildings, especially when the structure belongs to the city.

But Louise Chevrier, a local historian and novelist, said on Saturday that regulations were not followed, no notification of demolition was given and the decision was made in secret.

"The house should have been restored, but the city of Chambly did not take all necessary measures to protect it," he said.

Ms. Chevrier is also part of a citizen movement that organizes flames on Saturday night.

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He said the group "believed the house could remain standing for decades."

Maison Boileau was originally abandoned by its owner in 2016 because it was uninhabitable because of fungi and worries that would collapse.

The city paid $ 550,000 to buy the property and hoped to turn the house into a tourist office, but the idea was abandoned.

Mr Larose said engineers estimated in November, 2017, that it would cost $ 1.8 million to rebuild, and today, the bill will exceed $ 2 million.

When the crew arrived on Thursday, several residents and a local politician tried unsuccessfully to stop the demolition.

Christian Picard, a former Quebec Parti candidate in the recent election, was arrested for trying to stop workers from dismantling the house, but was later released.

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He criticized the city administration on Saturday, adding that it was time to change the way Quebec protects its inheritance.

"There is clearly a problem in Quebec and we must change our practices, regulations and laws," Picard said in an interview.

"We must find new ways to protect our heritage."

Today, the 1837-1838 rebellion did not go unattended in Quebec.

While all of Canada celebrates Victoria Day, the Quebeckers mark National Patriot Day on Monday before May 25.

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