The centre of a city to reclaim

News 22 January, 2018
  • Photo by Pascal huot
    The railway still dominates the landscape of the former disaster zone.

    Dominique Lelièvre

    Monday, 22 January 2018 00:00

    Monday, 22 January 2018 00:00

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    LAC-MÉGANTIC | Four and a half years after the tragedy, the land is still dominated by the former disaster zone in Lac-Mégantic. If some think that the neighborhood has lost its soul, others are optimistic at the beginning of a year which promises to be prosperous in projects.

    Dragan Popara had just bought a few months earlier a restaurant at the edge of the lake when the train murderer has disfigured the city centre of the municipality, in 2013. The man from Bosnia was believed that his dream would crumble, him who had put all his savings in this project.

    Photo courtesy

    Dragan Popara


    Its establishment, the lime, was eventually rebuilt on the rue Papineau, place designated by the City to revive the city centre. But since business is slow, said M. Popara.

    “I was a first time victim when the train roared down, and a second time before moving here,” he breathed, the traffic on the site that do not meet its expectations so far.

    In spite of everything, the Méganticois adoption does not lower the arm. “I’m optimistic, but it will take time to get back to our old life. Still 4 or 5 years after me. “

    Citizens shared

    The population remains divided as to the new reality of its city center. Citizens say that the neighborhood life is not there, but others report that it serves no purpose to cling to the past.

    “It’s ugly, there is no economic recovery. It’s not going well at all. […] It was much more alive than this before, there were people everywhere on the street, ” assessed Yves Edwards when interviewed by The Newspaper, rue Papineau. He believes that the City has taken the wrong road at the edge of the buildings spared by the explosion.

    Another shopping, Jacinthe Lacombe, saw the glass half full. “It’s going better and better. The people we have shunned a little bit because it was the new centre of the city […], but more and more, people begin to come and see us “, certified the owner of Color Happiness.

    To better days

    For his part, mayor Julie Morin recalls that in 2013, there was an emergency relocation of the traders to prevent the exodus and to restore services to the population. Those who wished were able to resume business.

    “The challenge that we have, now, is to fill our downtown with new projects, new [institutions], and that, it is longer,” she said. The next year should see several projects break ground.

    The construction of a building with social housing, childcare and amusement park, in particular, should begin this spring. If all goes well, a building “iconic” will see the light of day in a year near the marina, and a park will be erected this summer.