Some are questioning how the city could let the former Snowdon Theatre building get to the dilapidated state it’s in today.
Michael Simkin, who ran for borough mayor under Projet Montréal, says the theatre isn’t an isolated case either.
“For me, the whole situation raises a lot of questions about how we maintain municipal properties that belong to taxpayers,” he said.
“The trend seems to be to just let them go, to let them get run down. But there’s a compelling economic argument to not let them get run down, and then have to pay millions of dollars to bring them back to a usable state.”
Simkin would like to see the city’s approach to handling these old buildings change.
“It’s a pattern that was attributed to the old administration, and I think people would like to know what the new administration’s plans are going forward when it comes to cases like these,” he said.
According to Snowdon city councillor Marvin Rotrand, renovations needed to the roof and ceilings of the Snowdon Theatre could cost upwards of $2 million, expenses the borough isn’t ready to undertake.
“My understanding is that it’s the desire of the borough to sell the building because the borough doesn’t have the financial capacity to do the renovations and repairs that are absolutely necessary,” he said.
Rotrand said the borough has looked at all the alternatives, including keeping the building, but that the costs would simply be too much.
“The borough feels it’s a better investment for the taxpayers if the building was sold, particularly to a purchaser who would respect the patrimonial aspects of the building.”
He also mentioned the borough not being closed to the idea of converting the building into housing.
The Flex-Art gymnastics club that was operating inside the building for the last 20 years has now also lost its home.
“In the last conversation I had with the borough director about this a couple of weeks ago, it was indicated that the borough wasn’t going to leave a group out in the cold, and that they would work with them to see what facilities are available,” said Rotrand.
Now that the club is without a permanent home, the only solution may be to look outside of the borough.
“It’s not a borough-only organization. They have kids from many parts of Montreal,” he said.
“We might want to see if there are facilities in another borough that belong to the city. Or, through a third party, we might find some sort of way to contribute to, in essence, keeping the activity of Flex-Art going.”
Flex-Art Gymnastics director, Julie Durocher, could not be reached to comment on how the club has been holding its practices since losing the theatre.
In spite of the borough notice posted on the front door of the Snowdon Centre, inviting the public to contact the Flex-Art Gym club, we have been unable to reach anyone at the club.