A few repairs at the St. Pierre Museum, which appeared minor at first, have ended up costing over $100,000.
About 15 years ago a repair was made to the chimney on the west wall of the museum where concrete was added near the top of the chimney to reinforce it but over the years, the added weight caused the foundation to crack and the chimney was starting to fall apart. Now, Museum President Rolly Gagne says they’ve had to change their heating system to be able to eliminate the collapsing chimney.
"So what we did, we put in a high-efficiency boiler which was a major project that we’ve been trying to get done for the last five years. Once we did that, we started tearing down our chimney but we ran into some problems so once we’ve torn down the chimney, now we’re restructuring the original bricks."
Gagne notes if they hadn't taken down the chimney themselves, the west wall would have most likely collapsed on its own.
"We’ve taken a big portion of it down now, we’re planning to keep one section on a historical aspect and do a showcase with that but we’re working on that west wall now and we’re going to finalize the west wall this spring and then after that we’re going to continue with the building wrap and repointing of the bricks. The most important part is to repoint the bricks because that’s where all the moisture gets in and it destroys the inside of the walls."
Gagne says for this year they will just be repointing the bricks on the west wall but adds the plan is to finish off the rest within the next few years. Gagne explains repointing bricks is the process of renewing the external part of mortar joints. He says over time cracks can form in between the bricks which allows moisture to seep in.
Gagne adds the total cost of the project is around $114,000 which includes the purchase of the new boiler and repairing the bricks on the west wall. He says the Village Connection thrift store in St. Pierre has contributed $15,000, the Village of St. Pierre $20,000, the RM of De Salaberry gave $1,000 for the project and the rest Gagne notes is coming from provincial grants and general operating funds.