Gatineau asking Quebec to help foot bill for LRT to Aylmer

Gatineau city councillors will ask the province to share some of the cost of building a light rail and rapid bus link between Aylmer and downtown, one of a few developments at a Tuesday night meeting.

Councillors also vote to demolish 116-year-old presbytery in Old Hull despite pleas to save historic buidling

Gatineau city councillors held a special meeting in Buckingham Tuesday evening, part of their twice-annual 'mobile council.' (Michel Aspirot/CBC)

Gatineau city councillors will ask Quebec to share some of the cost of building a light rail and rapid bus link between Aylmer and the city's downtown.

Councillors also voted at a Tuesday night meeting to officially fund two high-profile downtown projects and demolish a Hull presbytery despite opposition over its historic value.

Aylmer LRT

Councillors unanimously voted to ask the provincial government to help pay for the estimated $700- to $900-million cost of building a light rail link to the city's west end.

Hull-Aylmer MP Greg Fergus, who has been championing the idea of running light rail from the Canadian Museum of History to Aylmer, said the city had taken a definitive step toward a unique opportunity for a modern, efficient transit system.

Deschênes Coun. Mike Duggan cautioned against taking away road lanes to make way for rail, warning that would increase traffic rather than reduce it.

Hull presbytery

The fate of the former Très-Saint-Rédempteur presbytery in Old Hull has been sealed, and it's not what a group of local residents wanted.

A group of residents had been pushing for councillors to save the 116-year-old building after its owners got a demolition permit to expand a seniors' complex.

They argued it was one of the last surviving buildings from that era of the neighbourhood's past.

However councillors voted to demolish the former home of the first Bishop of Gatineau because it's in such bad shape.

"The foundations are giving way," said Manoir-des-Trembles-Val-Tétreau Coun. Jocelyn Blondin.

"The structure has to be redone."

Manoir-des-Trembles-Val-Tétreau Coun. Jocelyn Blondin speaks at a Gatineau council meeting in Buckingham Tuesday night. (Michel Aspirot/CBC)

Greenery and groceries

The city will give $83,000 to help get a grocery co-op started in Hull, long seen as a so-called "food desert" with only smaller grocery stories and depanneurs.

There hasn't been a supermarket in Hull since 1999.

"If you want to bring people downtown, notably families, it takes a grocery store," said Hull-Wright Coun. Cédric Tessier.

The city will partner with the co-op, but the store's location hasn't been determined.

Councillors also approved $2 million to bring the Mosaïculture horticulture show back to Jacques-Cartier Park this summer.

This, too, was unanimously approved, though Masson-Angers Coun. Marc Carrière​ warned it was a risky move, especially because the federal government isn't funding the event this time.