Getty Images/iStockphoto The City of Quebec is tightening the criteria to which Requests to demolish heritage buildings will need to respond before getting a green light.
The City of Quebec promises that it is over, the demolition of heritage buildings done on the sly. Under a new regulation, anyone who wants to demolish a cited building will now have to publicly announce their intentions and the population will obtain the power to contest their request.
Will no longer demolish anyone in the national capital. The City is proposing a regulation that confines demolition to cases of last resort by multiplying the pitfalls between the peak of the demolishers and the heritage facades, often centuries old, of the capital.
“Roughly speaking, summarized Mélissa Coulombe-Leduc, the advisor responsible for heritage at the City of Quebec, on Monday, it will be prohibited to demolish a heritage building unless the applicants can demonstrate the necessity or the advantages of demolition.
The City is notably tightening the criteria that demolition requests must meet before obtaining a green light. Anyone who wants to demolish a cited building will now have to submit to the authorities the presentation of the project that will replace it. The approval of the latter will become mandatory to obtain permission to demolish.
The demolition request must also be accompanied by a professional expertise on the condition of the building. The City will favor restoration wherever possible before authorizing demolition.
Each demolition request must also be made known in two places, either on the City's web portal and on a sign hung to the building in question. Following these publications, the population will have a period of 10 days to oppose the request.
The Commission d’urbanisme et de conservation de Québec (CUCQ), in place for nearly a century, retains responsibility for studying requests on a case-by-case basis. However, the new regulations will impose more transparency on it. It will, for example, have to organize public information sessions to explain and justify its decisions.
In demolition requests concerning buildings classified as heritage, the CUCQ must also organize public hearings to hear the population. If the commission gives the green light to demolition, anyone will have the right to ask the municipal council to review the decision within 30 days.
For Councilor Mélissa Coulombe- Leduc, this new by-law will prevent people from finding themselves, unwittingly, in front of the ruins of a heritage building that was part of the identity of their neighborhood.
Currently, the City of Quebec has some 20,000 buildings subject to the jurisdiction of the CUCQ. This list, the City predicts, should be extended from next November.
This new regulation relating to the demolition of buildings adds to the arsenal deployed by the capital to preserve its built heritage. Another regulation, this one on the occupancy and maintenance of buildings, has since last December required owners to maintain their building in good condition to prevent it from deteriorating. The idea, underlines the councilor of the Cap-aux-Diamants district, is to prevent the deterioration of the built heritage before demolition becomes inevitable.
Contravening the provisions of these two regulations is a good idea for the wallet. The maximum penalties provided are $250,000. A legal person who demolishes a heritage building without prior authorization will henceforth be liable to a fine of more than one million dollars.
The by-law relating to the demolition of buildings must come into effect as of April 2023.