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Buffer zone: Rouyn-Noranda will have to rebuild 69 buildings to rehouse citizens | Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov19,2023

Buffer zone: Rouyn-Noranda will have to rebuild 69 buildings to rehouse citizens | Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

Open in full screen mode< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Houses in the Notre-Dame district are located a few hundred meters from the Horne Foundry site. (Archive photo)

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The City of Rouyn-Noranda will have to rebuild nearly 70 buildings to rehouse the owners and tenants who currently live in the future buffer zone located near the Horne Foundry.

Representatives of the City, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) as well as the company Glencore, owner of the foundry, presented Tuesday evening the broad outlines of the relocation plan made necessary by the development of 'a buffer zone around the factory to keep citizens away from the sector's emissions of polluting products. over the next few years and the City of Rouyn-Noranda has presented several options for available land and sectors to develop within the urban perimeter of Rouyn-Noranda.

We are presenting these results to citizens this evening [Tuesday]. There are places where there are fewer constraints, where construction could be done much more quickly. There are other places where there is more work to be done and more constraints. We come to draw up a portrait, explains Sylviane Legault, community relations coordinator at the City of Rouyn-Noranda.

Among the options presented is the Senator residential project, in the Noranda-West sector, which could allow the construction of 180 housing units.

Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

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There are streets to build, aqueducts and the extension of hydroelectricity to be developed. So, we want to start infrastructure work next summer. To get to the construction of houses, we are considering the summer season of 2026, specifies Sylviane Legault.

In total, there are 69 buildings with 191 units housing which will have to be rebuilt. Ten commercial premises will also have to be relocated.

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Representatives of the City of Rouyn-Noranda, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Glencore presented, Tuesday evening, the broad outlines of the relocation plan linked to the development of a buffer zone near the Horne foundry.

While the City of Rouyn-Noranda was responsible for presenting the possibilities available to tenants and owners for their relocation, the MAMH for its part presented the process of identifying needs and preferences that it has conducted among households to be relocated.

Of the 204 owners and tenants targeted, 152 responded to the questionnaire prepared by the ministry. The majority of respondents indicated that they wanted to stay in the urban sector of Rouyn-Noranda and raised various concerns about the various costs and fiscal impacts linked to their move.

This was the government's commitment when announcing the action plan. Our goal is indeed that citizens do not have to pay out of pocket, maintains Guylaine Marcoux, assistant deputy minister for the coordination of government actions in the context of the Horne Foundry file.

The government has thus indicated that it is working on a set of measures contained in a financial assistance program currently being developed.

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The media were not allowed to attend the meeting with the citizens concerned.

For tenants, the measures will notably include severance compensation [ payment of the number of months remaining in the lease], relocation assistance including, among other things, moving costs, as well as assistance in paying the rent, which should make it possible to make up the difference between the current rent and the new rent.< /p>

The Deputy Minister is, however, unable to say for how long this rental assistance would be available.

This will be part of the discussions we will have with the consultation table that is created, mentions Ms. Marcoux. We will discuss it with them to see the needs and it is obvious that by building social and affordable housing, it will be long term.

Two consultation tables will be set up: one for tenants and one for owners.

For owners, the financial assistance program provides departure compensation, relocation assistance as well as property-related assistance.

The latter will take into consideration the value of the property, the loss of rental income, the capital gain, the costs related to the mortgage and the notary fees.

The Glencore company undertakes to purchase the residences at market value on March 15, 2023, the day before the announcement of the creation of the buffer zone. It is the government of Quebec which will cover all other expenses.

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The Notre-district Lady of Rouyn-Noranda, in which the future buffer zone is located. (File photo)

Asked whether it was up to Quebec taxpayers to pay for these travel expenses, Ms. Marcoux replied: The government is there to take care of people and that is what we are doing in this matter.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Same observation for the Glencore representative, Marie-Élise Viger, environment director – North America and the Philippines, who does not commit to paying additional amounts: We really buy back the market value of the property.< /p>

In the midst of a housing shortage, while rent prices and construction costs are rising sharply, neither the MAMH, nor Glencore, nor the City of Rouyn-Noranda is unable to advance on the total bill for the relocation operation.

We want to consult citizens, we want to validate things with them. This evening, I do not have any sums or figures to give. I only have the upcoming steps and the main directions.

A quote from Guylaine Marcoux, assistant deputy minister for the Horne Foundry file

Without being able to give a figure, Sylviane Legault says that the sums already promised by Quebec will not be enough to complete the entire operation.

We are relaunching the government as we progress with the project. The costs become more concrete. There is openness. We have already informed the government that the $58 million planned for relocation was not expected to be sufficient, notes Sylviane Legault.

Meetings are planned with citizens of the buffer zone for Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Media are not permitted to attend.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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