News | Underground City at Risk of Falling Down

City Hall is pushing for more stringent regulation of Montreal’s underground structures, and has demanded that the proprietors of Square Victoria, Place Bonaventure, and the Sun Life building facilitate inspections by Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment.

In 2007, two fractures in a tunnel beneath Maisonneuve caused the City to close both the road and the Metro. Mayor Gerald Tremblay subsequently requested safety reports on 63 of the city’s buildings, but to date only 16 have complied.

The death of Léa Guilbeault, who was killed by a slab of falling concrete at the Marriott Hotel on Peel last July, has given a sense of urgency to the City’s commitment to safeguard the downtown’s infrastructure.

“Structures deteriorate,” said McGill Professor Saeed Mirza, who formally served as president of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering. “But the inspections normally don’t get carried out. It’s ‘design, build and forget.’”

He added that buildings not properly maintained pose a serious risk to society.

“There are large costs, not only economic, but social and environmental costs associated with neglect,” Mirza said.

When contacted by The Daily, management at the Sun Life building denied ever receiving an inspection request from the City.

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