Defence Minister Anita Anand announces decision to restore Sherbrooke’s William Street Armoury and to renovate its Belvédère Street Armoury
December 2, 2022 – Sherbrooke, Que. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Sherbrooke’s Reservists are vital to our Canadian Armed Forces and an important part of their local community. The Government is committed to preserving the historical value of the buildings in which they operate, while ensuring their operational needs are met.
To this end, Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, announced today that the Department of National Defence, in consultation with stakeholders, will restore Sherbrooke’s William Street Armoury and renovate the Colonel-Gaëtan-Côté Armoury (Belvédère Street Armoury). The Minister was joined by Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead; and Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke, for this important announcement.
Following an extensive evaluation of Primary Reserve infrastructure in the region, including various studies and public consultation, the Department of National Defence will start a recapitalization project to renovate the Belvédère Street Armoury. The project is expected to be tendered for design after a full assessment of our Reservists’ needs is completed, and the necessary project approvals are obtained.
The significance of the William Street Armoury to the Sherbrooke community was reaffirmed by community members during public consultations that were held by the Department of National Defence earlier this year. The Department will retain the services of heritage consultants and work closely with the City of Sherbrooke to restore the William Street Armoury in a manner that preserves its historical value. After a full assessment of the needs of our Reservists, and engagement with heritage experts, a plan to restore the William Street Armoury, in consultation with stakeholders, will be created. This plan may include an additional location to accommodate the increasing needs of Sherbrooke’s Reservists.
Through these efforts, we are ensuring Reservists in Sherbrooke have modern facilities that meet their long-term infrastructure needs, while preserving the history and heritage of our Reserve units. These investments will enable our Reservists to continue to call their armouries home well into the future. We know how important these armouries are to the Sherbrooke community, and we are committed to working closely with the City of Sherbrooke and keeping the community engaged as our plans and timelines are developed.
“Ensuring Reservists in Sherbrooke have the modern infrastructure they need to train and operate effectively is critically important for the future of our Canadian Armed Forces. I also recognize that the Belvédère and William Street Armouries have significant historical value to people in the region, and I have heard this from community members directly over the last several months. With today’s announcement, we are delivering on our commitment to support our Reservists, while preserving the history of the armouries from which they will operate. The forthcoming work to revitalize the Belvédère Street Armoury, and to restore the William Street Armoury will ensure that both of these armouries can continue to be a source of pride for Reservists and community members well into the future.”
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
“In politics, you learn to persevere! I’m delighted with the announcement made this morning by my colleague, Minister Anand, regarding the two armouries in Sherbrooke. This major investment confirms the importance of our Reserve units to Canada and also recognizes the military heritage of our region.”
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead
“I’m very proud of the path we have travelled together to ensure the future of our armouries in Sherbrooke. Since I was elected, this issue has been a high priority. With a united voice, Sherbrooke residents have asked for the preservation of our military facilities downtown. Our armouries not only house the Reserve units, but they are also a symbol of our history. This latest step demonstrates once again our Government's commitment to meeting the needs of the community.”
Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke
From June 2022 to August 2022, the Department of National Defence held public consultations on a way forward to support Primary Reserve infrastructure in Sherbrooke. The working concept that was developed to support this consultation included the renovation and modernization of the Belvédère Street Armoury, and the potential divestment of the William Street Armoury. Today’s announcement means that the William Street Armoury will not be demolished, nor will the Department of National Defence divest it.
Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, commits to ensuring our Reserve Force is well trained, equipped and prepared for operations at home and abroad. As such, the Government of Canada is investing in modern and green infrastructure in which Canadian Armed Forces personnel can work and train.
The Belvédère and William Street Armouries have been closed since 2021 given the need for major repairs and restoration work on the buildings. The affected Reserve units will continue to work out of their leased facility on Woodward Street until these Sherbrooke armouries infrastructure projects are completed.
The Belvédère Street Armoury is the usual home of Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke and the 35e Régiment des transmissions. It also typically accommodates the Fusiliers’ Regimental Museum, as well as local units of the Cadet program – one of the most important youth programs operated by the Government of Canada.
As our Reservists’ operational needs continue to evolve, they have outgrown the current layout or footprint of the Bélvédère and William Street Armouries. Once infrastructure assessments and design work advances for the armouries, we will be able to refine our understanding of which operational requirements can and cannot be met at these two sites, and determine if an additional site will be acquired.
The William Street Armoury is the usual home of the Sherbrooke Hussars and the 52e Ambulance de campagne.
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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