Towers loom over Gatineau museum quarter heritage debate

As Gatineau city councillors consider a heritage designation for the neighbourhood around the Museum of Canadian History Tuesday, two towers will be looming over the debate.

35- and 55-storey towers, as well as local heritage, will be the talk of Tuesday's council meeting

The proposed towers would be right across the street from the Canadian Museum of History, within the proposed heritage area. (Brigil)

As Gatineau city councillors consider a heritage designation for the neighbourhood around the Museum of Canadian History Tuesday, two towers will be looming over the debate.

Councillors will hear a report about establishing a designation and could choose to debate moving ahead with one.

Development company Brigil is planning its Place des peuples project in the area featuring two large towers, one of them 35 storeys and the other 55 storeys.

Yves Ducharme, Brigil's lobbyist and director of commercial development, said they are willing to work with the city and residents to build something that will respect the character of the area.

But they're warning against a heritage designation.

"If we lock up the possibility of building such a building it will be a terrible mistake," he said. "That would be a terrible mistake that will be with us for many generations."

Yves Ducharme, a director and lobbyist for Brigil, said the heritage designation would be a mistake. (CBC)

'Preserve the built heritage'

The proposed designation would encompass an area bounded by rue Victoria to the south, boulevard Maisonneuve to the west, boulevard des Allumettières to the north and rue Victoria to the south.

Neighbourhood resident Lisa Constantine, who is part of the group pushing for the designation, said they want to protect their community.

"The heritage designation will allow us to continue to live in this neighbourhood with a certain quality of life," she said.

Resident Lisa Constantine said her group wants a heritage designation to protect homes and quality of life in the area. (CBC)

The group isn't opposed to all local development, and Constantine pointed out there have been projects that reflect the character of the area.

If council doesn't go ahead with the designation they hope to find other ways to protect the community, she said.

"We will continue to lobby for a certain amount of protection for our neighbourhood to preserve the built heritage," she said.