A first act was played in the renovation of the Palace Arvida Theater. Luc Fortin, Minister of Culture and Communications, announced Thursday an agreement in principle to provide $ 1.5 million for the 4.5 million global restoration project $.
A second act is expected in the coming weeks, this time bringing the federal government, who is awaiting a similar announcement from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund of $ 168 million, in addition to the envelope of 1.5 Million that also plans to invest Saguenay.
Minister Fortin, accompanied by Mayor Jean Tremblay, Pierre Mazurette, President of Diffusion Saguenay, and Serge Simard, Member of Parliament for Dubuc, said that the money invested will allow Diffusion Saguenay to move forward to restore An important heritage institution since the Palace has been present in the area since 1927. The broadcasting of silent and English films, the presence of international stars on stage, the assignment of the building as a bar, a cabaret and Venue were addressed by Minister Fortin, Mayor Jean Tremblay and Serge Simard.
The work for the building involves roof repairs, foundations and walls, ventilation, air conditioning and heating as well as lighting and power supply. Improvements to the lodges, the fireplace and the kitchen will also be carried out as well as the construction of a new staircase.
Among the conditions of the signed agreement, Diffusion Saguenay must complete the financial package, a task essentially to convince the federal government to search through its pockets. Minister Fortin was optimistic that within six to eight weeks, a favorable response would be announced, given the community’s commitment to the project. “Quebec and Ottawa have a responsibility that culture shines throughout the territory. We put the gesture. I expect that the federal government will move to get the work done as quickly as possible. For now, I have no indication that the federal government will give an answer, “said Mr. Fortin.
The president of Diffusion Saguenay also hopes that announcements will be made quickly, especially as the maintenance of the building is an annual bill of $ 80,000 without any income for the past two years. Once the check has been obtained, Diffusion Saguenay must tender for the selection of engineers, the production of specifications, etc. before proceeding with a new process for the choice of the contractor.
Mr. Mazurette mentioned that once rehabilitated, the Palace Theater will have the same vocation by admitting to hoping the return within its walls of the Quebec Issime troupe.
On this point, the return is acquired, according to the producer Pierre Doré, for whom the building represents a real institution in the environment. Mr. Doré added that the decision to produce shows at the old Saint-Jacques church was only an alternative since the idea was to make it a pre-production center. ” I tell you. For Quebec Issime, if one still exists, it is because of the presence of the Palace. It is an incredible tourist attraction. ”
Since 2009, $ 2.7 million has been provided in public funds for emergency work, renovations, building acquisitions and management fees from various levels of government, bringing the bill to 7, $ 2 million including the upcoming $ 4.5 million project.
Both Minister Fortin and Mayor Jean Tremblay acknowledged that the restoration of older heritage buildings is expensive, but that senior governments have no choice to preserve them.
Mayor Tremblay concluded that there are more disheartening things in adding that a new construction might cost more.
Sylvain Gaudreault happy
Jonquière’s PQ member, Sylvain Gaudreault, welcomes the announcement by Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications, Luc Fortin. “Last spring I had the opportunity to make Minister Fortin aware of the importance of reopening the Palace Arvida Theater and I was able to insist on his visit in early August. I am therefore pleased to have contributed to the positive outcome of today, “said Sylvain Gaudreault.
The file of the Palace Theater was on the menu of a working meeting held with Minister Luc Fortin which took place in the National Assembly on June 7, 2016. The Minister had seen the importance of the building in the Project of valorising the sector’s heritage during its tour on August 8, 2016.
“This project is unanimous, not only because, in the long term, a heritage building will be renovated, but also because the reopening of the Palace will bring back commercial traffic for our local merchants, which animate the historic downtown of Arvida” , Concluded the member for Jonquière.