Residents of Shawinigan that must deal with the ruins of a building that burned for nearly a year, scarcely disguise their anger.
On September 10, 2019, a violent fire completely destroyed an apartment building in the rue Frigon. The building has been demolished, but since then, the site has become a huge gaping hole filled with debris. Construction materials, glass, metals, and a toilet is bathed in a background of stagnant water.
“Since the fire, nothing moves! It doesn’t look great, and I don’t understand how a city such as Shawinigan leaves to go to that folder there,” said Denis Pilot, a tenant who lives in the area for 18 years.
“I’ve had two cancers and, recently, I had to visit my doctor for a wound on my arm. My doctor told me that an insect contaminated stung me. I had to take antibiotics. I’m tired of it! Then, it is not to mention the smells and the vermin,” said Johanne Caissy, a resident of the area for the past seven years.
“As my garage was glued to the structure, my wall has been weakened. We now see through and the water gets. The other time, there was a rat in my garage! Then, with the heat, you wake up in the night and it stinks,” she said another long-time resident, Raymond Dupont.
The administration of the City of Shawinigan admits that the process is too long and that the site is dangerous.
“The owner refuses to talk to us, so we have been doing business for a very long time with his lawyer. Each step takes too much time. And then, anything to help with the pandemic, the activities of the municipal Court have ceased. Tickets have been sent. One is aware of the problem, but for now the law forbids us to enter on the site. It is the same we pay for a fence to secure the site, since the contractor who installed it has still not been paid by the owner of the land. We didn’t want to have them removed for the safety of our residents,” explained the director of communications for the City of Shawinigan, François St-Onge.