Pont de Quebec: dividing to better manage

Quebec The recommendation of the firm Mallette to create two companies to maintain and promote the Quebec bridge has aroused varied reactions on Wednesday. If the federal government supports the idea, the provincial is skeptical while the mayors of Quebec and Lévis reserve their comments for Thursday.

Major player, owner, Canadian National (CN), described the report commissioned by the Chambers of Commerce of Quebec and Lévis as a “good basis for discussion.”

In its final report on Wednesday, the firm of accountants Mallette, chaired by Mario Bédard, recommends the creation of a not-for-profit organization (NPO), the Quebec Bridge Corporation. It would become the owner of the bridge and would provide maintenance over a period of 15 to 20 years to paint the estimated $ 400 million in painting financed by the Government of Quebec, the federal government and CN. The report released on Wednesday, however, does not indicate the proportion that each party would pay and initially recommends a cost study.

In the second instance, the Bridge Development Corporation, which could be created quickly, would have a mandate to promote the 100-year heritage and tourism infrastructure. “This organization will no longer talk about painting and will not have a mandate to change bolts , ” illustrated Mario Bédard. This public-private corporation could also include various partners such as museums or Université Laval. It would also develop activities, paying routes for external funding, for example. “It is a heritage bridge that deserves to be valued on a world scale,” said the director of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce, Alain Aubut.

The scenario chosen is therefore not the one evoked in a preliminary report published in Le Journal de Québec on Saturday and which revealed that the bridge would be transferred to the Ministry of Transport. This version was immediately rejected by the mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume.

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On Wednesday, the mayor did not comment on the final draft of the study. “We received the report late yesterday afternoon. We will look at it properly, “said the mayor of Quebec City who will react Thursday at 9:30 am. The mayor of Levis, Gilles Lehouillier, will do the same Thursday morning.

On CN’s side, which has a Superior Court ruling indicating that it is not required to paint the bridge, Wednesday was welcomed “the leadership of the House for its contribution to the discussion” and described the report “Good discussion base” case. “CN reserves its position while waiting for discussions on the sharing of financial responsibilities, while hoping that they are aligned with the marginal railway use recognized by the Mallette report,” the company said in the email reminding That “the bridge is safe”.

Favorable Ottawa

On the side of the Government of Canada, which had ceded the Quebec bridge to CN in 1993, the idea of ​​the creation of a Quebec Bridge Corporation is pleasing. “We support the proposal,” cut short the federal minister and Quebec deputy Jean-Yves Duclos.

“We look forward to continuing the review of this proposal with our partners,” added his colleague, Minister of Infrastructure, Amarjeet Sohi.

But if the federal government is pleased, the same can not be said of the Government of Quebec, where the proposal to create a management society was met with skepticism by the Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale, François Blais.

“I do not see how that’s a solution. If there are one, two, three, four, five, six partners, I do not see how that is a solution, “Blais said. “The federal government has let this infrastructure go to CN. We are committed to addressing the problem. Let them regulate it, let them tell us now how they will do to settle it. ”

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Similar reaction to the Cabinet of the Minister of Transport, Laurent Lessard.

“Our position is quite simple: we do not think of any scenario for the bridge other than the money we announced for painting,” said Laurent Lessard’s press officer Mathieu Gaudreault. The Government of Quebec committed $ 23.5 million and the federal government $ 75 million. “Everyone must take responsibility. There is no comment on the creation of an NPO.

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