Request for demolition in the Bienville sector

The demolition committee of the City of Lévis met on May 21 for a public hearing session to hear the applicants’ request for the demolition of 17, rue Saint-Gilbert as well as the notices of opposition to the project.

The request comes from Christophe Boucher whose father, Martin Boucher, is the current owner of the building. Having originally purchased the building for his mother to live there, Martin Boucher finally had to change his plans when she no longer had the health to live alone in the house.

It is therefore Christophe Boucher and his wife who reside there at the moment. However, they want to build a house that would allow them to expand their family, as the current house “does not suit the needs of a family”.

“It is important to note that 17, rue Saint-Gilbert was originally a chalet and it is still a chalet-style construction to this day. By this nature, it demonstrates several unviable aspects for a family life adapted to 2024. For example, the basement less than six feet high on the rock, the insulation which is made of sawdust and the only storage spaces in the house which are wardrobes in the attic,” underlines Christophe Boucher.

The house was built around 1945, possibly 1944. The City’s heritage assessment for this building is low. Despite its good state of conservation, the age of the house as well as its location on the rock make it difficult, if not impossible, according to Christophe Boucher and the construction contractor who accompanies him, Kevin Pouliot, to enlarge the existing house and renovate it.

“Basically, the foundation of the house is always the point of honor in construction, considering the lack of space, heat loss, the risk of water infiltration, the layout of the basement would have proven essential. It would have been necessary to lift the house, move it very far from the restricted site without forgetting the height difference of the extremely uneven natural terrain to be able to allow the machinery to access the land. There are numerous structural problems and numerous signs of deterioration which lead me to the inevitable conclusion of replacement,” adds Kevin Pouliot.

The applicants, however, wish to integrate materials recovered from the current chalet into their new construction, such as the steel roof.

Questions about the project

The president of the demolition committee, Serge Bonin, asked the applicants the question several times in order to better understand what makes demolition inevitable.

“It’s a house that is obviously viable, so how is it exceptional, a last resort, in the context?”, raises Serge Bonin.

Representing the opposition to the project, Gaston Cadrin, vice-president of the Group of Initiatives and Applied Research in the Environment (GIRAM), spoke during the public hearing session.

“It’s certain that we saw buildings pass by that had much more historical importance, but we were surprised. Here, we have a special case, an old chalet which still appears to be in good condition and viable for living. It is certain that there are deficiencies for someone who wants to raise their family there, but I am here to object to the demolition of a building that still seems solid to us. We also wonder if there could not have been expansion plans,” explains Gaston Cadrin.

The demolition committee of the City of Lévis will study the file and render its decision in the coming weeks.

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