The five-year renovation saga is over as the long-awaited Mordecai Richler gazebo on Mount Royal is finally open to the public.
Critics have called the $600,000 project a perfect example of mismanagement by the City of Montreal.
Mordecai Richler’s widow said she even offered to donate paint to speed up the renovation process.
“I remember having laughed with our mayor Coderre saying, ‘that if they couldn’t afford it, I would buy the paint,'” said Florence Richler.
Montreal officials has yet to confirm completion of the 90-year-old structure; Richler’s family had no idea the historic structure was already open to the public.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Richler’s widow said, while standing in front of a new mural in the Mile End honouring the late writer.
“I think it’s quite wonderful and it exudes Mordecai’s spirit, which is a very difficult thing to do. I’m very proud.”
Many Montrealers are not happy with the time and money it took to renovate the tribute gazebo.
“It shouldn’t take five years to restore a gazebo and it shouldn’t cost $600,000,” said city councillor Alex Norris, who has criticized the mayor and his administration for delays and overspending.
The city has not revealed the total cost of the new gazebo, but officials previously confirmed that the original price tag more than doubled since the project was drafted in 2011.
The last-known price tag for renovating the gazebo was about $500,000 in 2015.
“I think it’s a rip-off,” said Wayne McQuillen.
“I like Mordecai, I don’t think he would be happy with this.”
In 2011, the city named the gazebo after the famous novelist, most famously known for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Barney’s Version, who grew up nearby.