$750,000 granted for the reconstruction of the St-Gérard Community Centre
The announcement, made by the Honourable Steven MacKinnon, Member of Parliament for Gatineau and Chief Government Whip, on behalf of the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sports and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), was warmly welcomed by the political actors and members of the media present on August 22, during a press conference at the St-Gérard Community Centre.
This centre, which had been the prey of fire in April 2021, was out of service since then following the damages. The $750,000 non-repayable contribution from CED, offered through the Canadian Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), will be used to rebuild the center and enhance the services offered by the community center. In addition to resuming its function as a gathering place for several local organizations (the Scouts, the Pont Magique center, the Club optimiste de Gatineau and certain day camps in the region), the rebuilt St-Gérard Community Centre will provide citizens with facilities that will serve as a new community kitchen. The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, who was not present at the conference, mentioned in a press release that "The reconstruction of the St-Gérard community center is very good news for the Gatineau community.
This center [...] will allow the City to improve its range of activities and provide citizens with culinary facilities in order to improve their health and quality of life.”. "This support demonstrates our government's commitment to supporting the development of communities of all sizes to improve their well-being in all regions," she added. Steven MacKinnon also took a moment to talk about economic recovery, a topic that the MP for Gatineau said is at the heart of federal discussions and remains a priority for the Liberal government after several years of pandemic.
On the municipal side, France Bélisle, Mayor of Gatineau, and Jean Lessard, City Councillor for the Rivière-Blanche district, were present on August 22 and spoke briefly at the announcement. The Mayor, who mentioned being delighted with the news, explained: "The community center and St-Gérard Park are popular gathering points in this part of the Gatineau sector. Today's announcement is received with great enthusiasm. The community center will come back to life. I would like to thank the federal government for this important support through the Canadian Community Revitalization Fund.”. France Bélisle also thanked the Rivière-Blanche district councillor for his work and involvement in this file. Indeed, Jean Lessard was particularly dedicated to finding solutions following the 2021 fire, which allowed the rapid relocation of the organizations and associations using the center.
Photo caption: France Bélisle, Steven MacKinnon and Jean Lessard, accompanied by community members and Béttyna Bélizaire.
Photo credit: Sonia Roy