Armoury reconstruction announced

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Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Josée Verner has announced the future plan for Quebec City's Grande Allee Armoury.

"I'm here with a plan for the future role of the Armoury as well as the schedule for its reconstruction," said Verner. "Since 2008, our government has made every effort to preserve this jewel of our military heritage situated in the heart of Quebec City. It's with a sense of accomplishment that I have unveiled a plan that responds to the wishes of the people of my region and to all of those who take this project to heart."

The plan for the Armoury is in line with the preferences and the recommendations expressed by the public during consultations as well as the recommendations of a real property consultant, including providing public access to the site, preserving its historical and commemorative vocation, maintaining the military presence and protecting the architectural heritage.

The building to be reconstructed will showcase the Armoury's military heritage and recall its cultural importance, while being accessible to the public. It will also house federal government offices. Canadian Forces units will continue to participate in ceremonies at the Armoury and space will be set aside to commemorate the military history of the units associated with the site. A multipurpose room will welcome cultural and community activities.

Work will begin soon to prepare the site for the reconstruction and ensure the maintenance and preservation of the building, as well as the safety of the workers who will be on site. Contracts will also be awarded for cleaning and deconstructing the interior of the building and ensuring that heritage elements are preserved. The work will cost an estimated $3.5 million.

In the 2010 federal budget, the Government of Canada announced that it had made a firm decision to rebuild the Grande Allee Armoury.

Reconstruction of the Voltigeurs de Quebec Armoury
The Voltigeurs de Quebec Armoury was built in 1887 and was declared a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada in 1986. This heritage building is considered the historic home of the oldest French-Canadian regiment still in existence - the Voltigeurs.

On April 4, 2008, the Grande-Allee Armoury was severely damaged by fire. Several days later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Josée Verner, Minister responsible for the Quebec City Region, confirmed that the Government of Canada intended to explore all options for the reconstruction of the Armoury, a symbol of Quebec City's proud military history.

To allow for the reconstruction, the government took action in April 2008 to clean up the site and protect what remained of the building. This important work, carried out by the Department of National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada, was completed in October 2009. Several expert technical studies were also undertaken.

Budget 2009 confirmed the earlier commitment by Prime Minister Harper and Minister Verner and allocated $2 million for the development of a plan for the future of the Armoury and options for reconstruction.

On April 4, 2009, Minister Verner announced a public consultation to allow Quebec City residents and interested stakeholders to submit proposals for the Armoury. The consultation took place in May and June of 2009 and included a public meeting as well as a questionnaire that could be completed on-line or sent by mail. A report on the consultation was made public on September 29, 2009.

Overall, it indicated that the public wished to maintain the original appearance and heritage character of the Armoury, the historic and commemorative nature of the site, the accessibility of the building and multi-functional use.

The final report is available at: http://xr.com/armouryreport
In October 2009, the Government hired a real estate firm to prepare a feasibility study on the cost benefits of the submissions received. The firm presented its report to Public Work and Government Services Canada in December 2009. In March, Budget 2010 confirmed that the Government of Canada was firmly committed to the reconstruction of the Armoury.
The plan announced today proposes that reconstruction lead to a multi-functional building. As such, it will include a commemoration to the Armoury's military history, federal government office space, and a multipurpose room available for community and social activities.

Lastly, the Armoury will serve as the administrative and ceremonial home of the Voltigeurs Regiment.

Now that the future functions of the Armoury have been determined, preparations for the reconstruction can begin. Over the course of the next two years (2010-2011), a series of rehabilitation projects and technical analyses will be undertaken that will enable the reconstruction plan to be carried out. This work will cost an estimated $3.5 million.

A comprehensive study on the optimal use of the Armoury's interior space will be done to determine where the building's various functions will be located and identify potential occupants.

Concurrently, work will be done to clean up the interior fire and water damage in the existing structure. This will include rehabilitating the masonry, cleaning the ceiling, solidifying the building's structure and installing temporary heating and cooling systems. This complex work is crucial and must be accomplished before the reconstruction phase is able to begin.

All work will be done in such a way that the heritage designation of this Canadian national historic site is preserved. An invitation to tender will also be launched for the development of the architectural concept and the design drawings of the new Armoury.

Finally, the concept and drawings will be unveiled to the people of Quebec City, followed by an invitation to tender for the plans, cost estimates and reconstruction of the Armoury.