Is not all round

Tout ne tourne pas rond

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The Big Wheel has been installed in the middle of the Parc du Bassin-Bonsecours in Montreal.

The ferris Wheel, built in 2017 in the framework of the celebrations of the 375th anniversary of Montreal, continued to be installed in the middle of the Parc du Bassin-Bonsecours, without obtaining the prior permission of the State in matters of heritage preservation. The park where the carousel pan is erected on the directory of cultural heritage, in particular because it contains archaeological remains and that it has obtained, during its inauguration in 1992, mentions that emphasized the quality of its design. Gold sponsors of the Big Wheel are accused of not having taken account of pursuant to the requirements of the government.

By settling in this park without any permission from the State, the private developers of the Wheel have violated the rules of the Law on cultural heritage, while altering the site, writes the ministry of Culture and Communications. As a result, confirms the department the Duty, he was assigned to the directorate of criminal and penal prosecutions the care of sue.

It was impossible for the Duty to speak directly to one of the shareholders of the tourist attraction that is private that has, for the past two years, changed the landscape of the Old Port. The spokesperson delegated by the company, Alexandre Dumas of the firm, National public relations, confirms, however, that a lawsuit of more than $ 100,000 has been instituted by the department.

“The work surrounding the erection of the Great Wheel have not been made in accordance with the provisions of the Law on cultural heritage,” confirms the ministry in response to questions of Duty. In 2017, in the light of this, then that work was already underway, the ministry has been placed before the accomplished fact. “The ministry has intervened with the company responsible for the work and was able to authorize only that portion of the project that had not yet been realized, is the landscaping and some of the dependencies of the Great Wheel. “

All the rest, starting with the Great Wheel itself, is not consistent according to the ministry, which stresses that the achievement of the set is is made without any prior authorizations. The anchors of the structure could, among other things, have caused harm to the artifacts of the old silos preserved hitherto in the development of the park.

If the Big Wheel has been presented as a legacy of the celebrations of the 375th anniversary of the city, the ministry of Culture recalls that the space colonized for the erection of this structure is in itself ” a legacy of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montreal “. The structure has been erected ” at the heart of the Parc du Bassin-Bonsecours, a park built partly on the remains of a pier built in 1922, connected to the silo no. 2, as well as in the grip of the basins that have been partially removed “.

Because of the lawsuit, “the department will not issue any further comment on this issue,” said the Duty his spokesperson.

The responsibility of the City ?

The clearing part of the basin Bonsecours in 1991-1992 has provided access to the edges of the quays and create an island that incorporates the remains of the central pier once linked to a huge silo. What is the responsibility of the City of Montreal in the preservation of this legacy ? By authorizing, on his side, the erection of this structure of carnival, the city had the duty to consider, on the way, the preservation of this park and its artifacts ?

The City of Montreal, it repeats the Duty as ” the Great Wheel is a “recreational equipment” in accordance with the zoning in this area “. Audrey Gauthier, publicist for the City, said, ” the five outbuildings adjoining, by contrast, is the subject of a review process of a project including presentations to the members of the planning advisory Committee for the district and have been authorized by a building permit issued by the borough in July 2017 “. These are the same dependencies that have ” been the subject of an authorisation issued by the ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec in June of 2017 “.

The City of Montreal did not consider that the intrinsic value of the park and archaeological property is that it has had to encourage him to be more careful before granting permissions. It refers, in this regard, the ministry of Culture. “The issues related to archaeological properties in a heritage site under the ministry of Culture and des Communications du Québec (MCC) “.

Links with the mafia ?

The Big Wheel wants to be able to offer alcohol in its restaurants. However, according to documents of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal was opposed to the licensing of the result of a survey where “no cooperation has been offered, and which reveals the direct involvement of a close relative of the traditional organized crime Italian in the project, its heavy criminal past, as well as links between the latter and the activities related to this tourist attraction. The lawyer Joyce Tremblay, a spokesperson for the authority, confirms the Duty that a notice of meeting has been sent to Mr. Jeff Jorgensen, representative of the Great Wheel of Montreal.

“The prosecutors of the Great Wheel have argued that it has nothing to do in there,” says Alexandre Dumas, in the name of the owners. “We have an agreement with one of our forty suppliers. And we are satisfied, ” he says, speaking of the individual singled out by the police.