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The Cégep de Trois-Rivières Science Center project in Batiscan River Park is still on track. The federal and regional governments have yet to confirm their contribution, but Cégep Director General Louis Gendron is optimistic that things will change soon. For its part, the demolition of the Champlain Observatory should begin in the coming weeks, a good time to give the equipment a second life.
TheThe project is progressing slowly, but it is on the right track if we can trust Mr. Gendron’s comments. The goal is to make your first shovel out of soil in about a year.
Cégep would like to obtain the necessary funding by this fall to launch the call for bids. The context is favorable for an announcement from a major donor, according to the Director-General. The rumors about a federal election call in August are an opportunity to be heard.
“Completing the rest of the budget, once there are two levels of government, it won’t be complicated. […] The political commitments are there. He explains that financial commitments will come.” For now, both the MRC des Chenaux and the Fondation du Cégep de Trois-Rivières have confirmed their contribution. Other partners could join soon.
In the works for more than two years, the science center is expected to cost $11.3 million. No changes were made to the original plan. It includes the construction of a planetarium and the installation of a telescope for the population and another dedicated to scientific research.
“It is first and foremost a project of awakening to science,” notes Mr. Gendron. The latter speaks of an “exceptional gift for future generations.”
The Cégep Board of Directors authorized the purchase of the land in Batiscan River Park, which is still owned by Hydro-Québec. Before the official purchase, various checks should be carried out to ensure that the plot meets expectations. After the feedback, updates can be made to the project.
Also, Louis Gendron and his team continue to work on the business plan. “We want to make sure it’s not a white elephant,” he identifies.
Monitoring site in Lac-Édouard
Cégep wants to make sure the equipment at the Champlain Observatory is reused. The goal was to keep the equipment in Morrissey in order to benefit the area.
The telescope will be maintained by Cégep for potential projects. For mount and dome, someone from the Lake Edward municipality of Haute Morrissey would like to have it. The place is especially interesting, because it is far from important light sources and its sky will be suitable for observation.
“We leave the equipment behind because its useful life is past, but […] What we want is to keep the link so that it becomes part of our overall service offering”, says Louis Gendron. He hopes to reach an agreement with Lac-Édouard partners to implement joint initiatives.
Why do we abandon Champlain?
“Champlain observatory is about 50 years old. It needed lots and lots of love. Then, the environment is not what it used to be, what it should be,” says the brigade-bearer.
The investments to keep Champlain running have been quite large. In his opinion, the Patiscan River Park will provide more possibilities as well as bring in additional traffic.
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