Plans are not yet finalized, but TBL has definite projects on the table: modernizing the library and giving it a new operating fund; rebuilding Blackwood Dam and dredging Mill Pond; creating a park integrated with a new public square in the pond’s vicinity; possibly moving the public market to another site. TBL’s “Coeur Villageois” is taking shape. This major facelift of the town’s core was presented at a special municipal meeting on January 23rd; it will require an injection of $10.5M of municipal, provincial, federal and private funds by 2023.

Start with the Pond, the rest will follow. According to Jean-François Vachon, an urban planner from LGP Real Estate Strategies, “The message from the 30 or so residents and merchants we interviewed about the future of the town core was clear: ‘Start with the pond and the rest will follow.’They thought it was essential to totally rethink the design of Coldbrook Park: develop it into a beautiful public space, demolish the two existing (blue and grey) buildings, connect the library to the pond – ‘from the brook to the book!’ – close Lakeside hill for certain events, and eventually move the public market.” He admitted the last point is still under discussion. TBL’s 2020 budget already has a $3M provision to rebuild Blackwood Dam and dredge Mill Pond, subject to obtaining permits from Quebec’s environmental department.

The Library, cornerstone of the project. Costs to renovate and operate the Pettes library will require $6M of the entire project’s budget, including $1M of municipal funding. The balance must come from other levels of government and private funding. “Our goal was to unite heritage, functionality and modernism,” explained Stéphan Chevalier, (architect and co-founder of Chevalier Morales, winner of many prizes for architecture) when he presented their vision for the new building. “Libraries are reinventing themselves. Seventy percent of users of new libraries are there not just to read, but to enjoy life, hang out, meet others and share ideas.” Hence the inclusion of a multifunctional room, an area for adolescents and other new ideas But without a doubt the huge glassed-in room in the rear of the building, boasting a terraced roof and adjoining the park, will be the most innovative architectural element in the project.

Translation: Tam Davis