A historic handover occurred on April 7: the official transfer of ownership of the Quyon Recreation Park by community group Quyon Ensemble (QE) to the Municipality of Pontiac (MoP). The land, worth approximately $322,000, was symbolically sold by QE to the MoP for a dollar. "For the last couple of years we've been in negotiations," Roger Larose, mayor of the MoP, explained. "As a municipality, we've been wanting to have a recreation park in Luskville and one in Quyon. Through negotations, they [QE] were open to sit down and talk about it."
From left, Benedikt Kuhn (MoP Director General), Me. Bernard Marquis (notary and advisor for QE), Heather Desabrais (representing QE), Roger Larose (mayor, MoP), Bev Fortin (representing QE) and Me. Lisa Galliano (notary for the transaction).
Photo courtesy of Dominic Labrie, communications officer, MoP.
According to Dominic Labrie, communications officer for the MoP, QE found they were no longer able to manage the land as well as the events held on it. Although the Quyon community center, better known as the Beach Barn, is not on land owned by QE, the ownership transfer also seemed like an opportunity to ensure the development and improvement of both areas.
"For them, it was important to see the project going forward," said Labrie. "In their minds the projects were linked."
The Quyon Recreational Park, once the site of the Quyon Fair, at the corner of Clarendon and Ferry roads.
"For the MoP, it was important for us to be able to own the land," added Larose. "Right now there is a problem with the docks. With the new [cable] ferry, you can't bring big boats to the docks. The docks have to be moved, but we did not own land to move them to. Now we may be able to move them further onto QE land and fix the problem with the ferry."
Labrie said that a study of and public consultation about the future use of the Quyon Recreational Park will be the next step. This follows a successful public consultation on the Luskville park last year, necessary to seek funding with Loisirs Quebec for investment for the park.
"It's a goal to keep at, [to keep involving] associations [like] Quyon Recreation Association and Quyon Ensemble," noted Labrie. "As a municipality, we can, as a partnership, work to get new events for that park, [such as] the tractor pull. It's important to note that [...] in our mind, the tractor pull will be able to happen this year again."
"We're open to all of that," added Larose. "Together this will help to develop that part of the town, help the town to come back to life."
As yet there is no firm date for the demolition of the Beach Barn this year, but "it is going away for sure" said Larose.
Labrie confirmed that the MoP are still waiting for the final plan from designer and architect Pierre J. Tabet, who was awarded the contract in December 2016. "The demolition and construction is on the same contract, we want to make sure it is done right," said Larose, adding that the community will be advised when the date is set.
"What happened today was a great thing for the whole municipality, not just Quyon," stated Larose. "With QE, everyone is happy. We have a good entente, we want to keep them there for years and help them out and their events, [such as the] Jam Fest. Whatever they want to run, we're happy to help."
The acquisition of the Quyon Recreational Park was instrumental to begin finding funding to improve it, according to MoP recreation and community life coordinator, Meghan Lewis.
"Parks are important to the community," she said. "The MoP have seven but only two have this special purpose as being a recreational park, a gathering place for the community. It's not that we don't want to work on neighbourhood parks, but the [recreational parks] serve a larger purpose and they are so important for community spirit... if we can fix them up, so many activities can go on. New groups such as the Parents de la Municipalité de Pontiac 0-5 ans (PMP 0-5 ans) want to pick this [opportunity] up, perhaps organize a community picnic."
The iconic "Elvis Building": repair or remove? The public consultation on developing of the Quyon Recreational Park will be held soon.
An official ceremony to mark the transfer of ownership of the park from QE to the MoP is being planned for the opening of the 2017 Jam Fest.
"We are working on a sign to thank them," said Larose. "It was nice for QE to be open to give us the land and I think we [both] have the same goal to see this municipality [become] better and I think we'll see some change."