• By: OLM Staff

A Highrise of Events

Construction in Hull is getting serious and so is the Association des Résidents de l’Île de Hull, highlighted by the lineup of events for their Mercredis de l’ARIH. “This season we wanted to cover more angles than the musical sphere,” said the President of the ARIH Paul Duval. “We wanted to reach out to more residents and members of the community,” said Duval, who unveiled the events at the Petit Chicago Bar.

The association decided to go all out this year organizing ten events in Hull to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The line-up varies from musical shows, documentary screenings and spaghetti dinners, all taking place in Hull on Hump Day. One event which stands out is the One Thousand and One Nights dinner hosted at the Moroccan restaurant Chez Fatima, located on Promenade du Portage on January 11, 2012.

Over the years, Association des Résidents de l’Île de Hull has become more involved within the community in different ways. “We planted over 150 trees and bushes in Hull and opened three community gardens in the area one being ecological,” said Duval, the Hull native. Willing to achieve more, l’ARIH decided to host more events to finance their plans, which aim to improve the life of residents of this low-income community. “Like everyone, we need money to function and survive,” said Duval.

Establishing a small rink in Parc Fontaine is a perfect example of how the association helps improve the quality of life on the island of Hull. “We used to have four skating rinks in the area and we were down to one,” explained Duval. To help have much needed second rink volunteers maintain it during the cold winter months and offer skating classes for those eager to learn to skate. However, it’s not all smooth skating for the association.

With the influx of residential homes and government buildings, the biggest challenge for l’ARIH remains the grocery store dilemma. “We used to have three before and now we don’t have any,” said Duval. The last supermarket metamorphosed into an SAQ Dépôt in 1999. There was a proposal to build a food store within the proposed multipurpose Robert Guertin Centre, but the plan perished when the Federal Government announced it would not participate in the project. This forced the City of Gatineau to revise its initial plan and to cut $14 million from the development, forcing the association to seek out a new site. “The ideal location for a grocery store would be near a busy boulevard allowing people to pick something up after work,” said Duval.

Until then, the biggest realisation for l’ARIH is the Grande Tablée. “This is our little baby and we proud of what it has become,” said Duval. The event which also culminates les Mercredis de l’ARIH includes live music and a dégustation of products from the Outaouais region. It takes place at Parc Fontaine from 11 am to 11 pm on Québec’s National Holiday.