After facing many challenges following the issuing of the Special Intervention Zone flood map and rising environmental concerns, the Board of directors of WIAIH, responsible for the KIZMET Centre project, has decided to put the project on hold while it considers its options.
The projected site for the centre, which currently houses WIAIH’s Pat Roberts developmental Centre, was not flooded in 2017 nor 2019, but the property was placed on both the Provincial and Municipal flood-risk maps. Although it would still be possible for the construction to proceed based on a ‘grandfather clause’, WIAIH’s board feels it is not advisable to move ahead without an updated flood risk management protocol or considering an alternate location.
“Waterproofing the foundation of the building along with recent hikes in the cost of steel and manpower have dramatically increased the overall costs of the project. As we wish this centre to serve the community for a very, very long time, we want to ensure that we deliver a quality project, not one that we have rushed to complete or done without thinking of environmental risk and its future consequences” says Executive Director of WIAIH, Lyne Charlebois.
As this project has been at the heart of the West Island Community for a number of years, and since much effort has been put in by the community, going back to the drawing board is seen as a healthy and necessary step in the evolution of this project. Says Jeremy Hampson, President of the WIAIH Board of directors: “This is by no means the end of the KIZMET Centre project. WIAIH is invested in this, the West Island community and many very valuable partners such as McDonald’s franchise owners Fred and Gail Cassir, the Becket Players, The Trottier Family Foundation, PME-MTL West Island, Assante Wealth Management, Crevier Mancini Construction Inc. and many other local businesses and individual donors have helped us reach the point we are at now. It is our responsibility to take a step back to reassess the current environmental situation to make the best decision, so as to ensure that the investment this community is making in itself is sustainable and healthy”.
WIAIH is a volunteer-driven, registered charitable organization that works to increase opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism, strengthen their families and sensitize the community.
With a team of 20 full-time and 50 part-time employees, WIAIH is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the West Island of Montreal. Website: wiaih.qc.ca
About the KIZMET Centre
The KIZMET Centre, a new facility set to open in Sainte-Geneviève, aims to provide a new location for services for WIAIH’s members as well as welcome all West Island families. WIAIH’s decades of experience helping vulnerable families, children, teens and adults of all ages and abilities, can impact the well-being of all. Investing in our young and their families is the sensible way to tackle the roots of the growing problems we see in today’s society. Website www.centrekizmet.ca