City of Montreal neglected Mount Stephen Club inspections for 15 months

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WATCH ABOVE: Building inspectors reportedly failed to visit the historic Mount Stephen Club for 15 months during construction. As Global's Kelly Greig reports, there is serious damage to the façade and parts of it may have to be torn down – Mar 23, 2016

MONTREAL –  For 156 years, the Mount Stephen Club has stood proud on Drummond Street in downtown Montreal.

However, according to an access to information request by Projet Montréal, no city official oversaw or visited the construction site between Aug. 2014 and Nov. 2015.

Part of the historic Mount Stephen Club is crumbling and might have to be torn down because, without any supervision from the city, the building was damaged during unauthorized work.

READ MORE: A family’s heartache over the crumbling Mount Stephen Club

The discovery led to a heated exchange at Tuesday night’s city council meeting between opposition leader Luc Ferrandez and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

During construction, three chimneys and several wrought iron railings were removed and windows were covered in cement.

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In an excavation attempt to add an underground parking lot, the ground shifted and the building’s façade cracked, causing serious damage to one of Heritage Montreal’s landmark sites.

“It’s like seeing a good friend in a hospital bed…it’s in intensive care now,” said Heritage Montreal‘s Dinu Bumbaru.

READ MORE: Problems plague Montreal’s historic Mount Stephen Club

There are bylaws on how construction is done on heritage sites, but Bumbaru insisted more care is needed when it comes to awarding contracts.

“Perhaps it’s time to recognize that not any architect can work on any building like this,” he said, adding that, until better measures are in place, old buildings will continue to fall through the cracks.

“Inspections in general are not very high profile in our society,” he said.

“We love new things and politicians like to ribbon cut, but heritage buildings require simple, good care.”

Quebec’s Ministry of Culture and Communication is suing the owners over the unauthorized work.

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