It’s a prison, it’s not complicated. We [ne] can’t do what we want. We haven’t finished [la maison] as we would have liked because we knew there was a risk of demolition. It is the Court which will decide. On the one hand, I’m losing the value of my house, and on the other hand, it’s going to be demolished. They cut your head off or throw you down the cliff. [Dans tous les cas], I will have lost.
He and his neighbors have taken legal action against the City of Gatineau. The court must determine whether the minor exemption was legal and whether the imposing residence will be demolished.
Called to the witness stand on the fourth day of the trial, Patrick Molla explained to the court how this whole saga, which began almost eight years ago, has had significant repercussions for his family.
During his testimony, Mr. Molla maintained that if the City had informed him in September 2013, that is to say when discovering the error which led to this administrative saga, he would have stopped the work. He maintains, however, that it was not until four months after obtaining his building permit that he was notified of a
The City called me to tell me that there had been an error and that there would be an exemption to regularize the house.
Mr. Molla therefore continued his work before learning, the following month, that the town planning advisory committee had approved the request for a minor exemption which will allow the front setback of his home to be reduced from 15 to 7 meters.
The whole thing was to be put to the council vote in December and he was told that the vote would be
a formality, said the owner.
However, on December 17, 2013, the vote was postponed. The new district councilor and new president of the urban planning advisory committee, elected for a month, Richard Bégin, said he wanted more information on the file.
It was not until the following spring, a year after starting his work, that Patrick Molla learned that a new vote would take place in the summer. It was also at this point, he said, that his life changed.
I don’t wish that on anyone. The media are ahead [de] with us. It is in line in front of our house, it screams “demolition”. Planes were landing on the river to take pictures, he listed, describing it as
the worst years of my life.
The vote of the municipal council finally took place on July 8, 2014. The elected officials of Gatineau had granted a minor exemption to Mr. Molla after a stormy assembly.
The City carried out an internal investigation and it concluded with a human error in this matter and led to an important reform within the service of town planning.
The trial continues Friday while judge Michel Déziel is due to visit the house in question. Lawyers are expected to begin their oral argument early next week.