The mood at the the l’Acadie Bocce Club in the borough of Ahuntcis-Cartierville borough became more upbeat Monday afternoon, after days of bad news.
As club members sat down to lunch, news came that City of Montreal officials had a proposal they think will save the club.
“Just the idea that they opened their eyes and they want to look into it makes me very happy,” said club member Cecile Fazioli.
Earlier, members held a protest in front of Montreal city hall opposing the borough’s decision to stop paying the lease, by the end of July 2023, for the building which houses the club.
“We’re going to have 500 members that have no place to play bocce,” explained Fazioli, “and it’s not just about playing bocce. It’s the social and physical aspect.”
It’s a godsend, she stressed, for the members who are mostly over 70 years old and have been playing bocce in that location for two decades.
“I’m 91 years old and I’m very strong because of bocce,” said club member Collura Settimo during the protest. “Not because I have pills or any other medicine.”
He as well as other members pointed out that the game is also a way for these Italian Montrealers to remain connected to their culture.
Some of them called it a slap in the face to seniors who moved to Canada decades ago and contributed to the city.
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By mid- afternoon Monday the city made a new proposal: to split the cost of the lease among the three boroughs where club members live.
“We’re asking that each borough, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal North and St. Laurent, each put $60,000 for a period of five years to save the club,” explained Ahuntsic-Cartierville Projet Montreal city councillor Jerome Normand.
The club would contribute $30,000 to make up the $200,000 annual lease.
City of Montreal administration is now waiting to see if the opposition will agree to the proposal.