(Rouyn-Noranda) The announcement of the displacement of some 200 households living near the Horne Foundry created shock waves in the Notre-Dame district of Rouyn-Noranda, where the company is established.
“We should have been consulted”, says Josée Tousignant, who lives in a semi-detached house located a stone’s throw from the foundry, in the perimeter destined to disappear, and who hopes that the government will reconsider its decision.
“It’s people who aren’t even concerned who decide for us,” laments the woman who has lived in the neighborhood for ten years, whose quality of life and cultural vitality she appreciates.
“It’s the heart of the city, it’s the pulse of the city,” she told La Presse, in the hallway of her home.
“If I’m forced to leave [the neighborhood], I’m going to leave the area,” she says, saying she’s exasperated by the “media storm” surrounding the Horne Foundry.
Josée Tousignant fears the impact of the announced move on long-time residents, including seniors in her neighborhood who will be uprooted, and on neighborhood businesses.
The news goes very badly with Julie St-Amour, co-owner of the bar-bookstore Livresse.
“I have a big lump in my stomach,” she said, wishing the announced plan would change as well.
His business, located on rue Carter, will be spared the demolition, but he will find himself at the limits of the redesigned district.
“We are going to be the last plague victims,” laments the one who has already lost two employees because of the concern surrounding the release of contaminants from the Horne Foundry.
A block away, Marie-Pier Charbonneau heard about the announced relocation all day, at her Studio Bloom hair salon.
“It was talking about that today, and it was well shared,” she says, finishing her workday by styling a child’s hair.
“I don’t think it will be harmful for us,” says the one whose clientele comes mainly from outside the neighborhood, which she also lives in, “but it will change the dynamic.”
On the sidewalk opposite, Sylvie Gervais is just discussing the news of the day with an acquaintance, whom she meets while walking her dog.
“I feel sorry for the people who put their heart into renovating their homes,” she said.
The Rouyn-Noranda citizens’ committee Stopping toxic discharges and emissions (ARET) deplores the announced decision and the repercussions it will have for the social fabric of the people affected.
“Currently, these people have access to a lot of services, many do not have a car”, illustrates its spokesperson Nicole Desgagnés, underlining the proximity of the hospital, the CLSC, the food bank, the city center and wondering if these same services will be accessible in the promised new neighborhood, if housing prices will be accessible there.
The lack of prior consultation of the people concerned by the government also angers the citizens’ committee.
“If we had wanted to be respectful, we would have announced the ministerial authorization and then we would have sat down with the people to plan something,” said Ms. Desgagnés. There, we impose on them, we suddenly arrive, there is a completely crazy sequence in this story. »