Over the past century, the company’s governance, which made it its core and trademark on the international stage, has gradually been passed on to the municipal administration. The city has taken over partnership with the Arvidians to preserve the characteristics of the historical and built landscape of Arvida. In the wake of initiatives taken by the city of Jonquière, which Arvida was annexed to in 1975, Saguenay, which Arvida is now integrated to, expresses its deep consideration to the urban, architectural and historical quality of Arvida. The City of Saguenay has repeatedly committed to the preservation of its urban landscapes, distinctive buildings in the history of Canadian architecture, as well as its workers accommodations, unique in the array of planned industrial cities.
CIty officials have worked at implementing a heritage management framework that did not come from an external model, but adapted to Arvida’s specific urban and architectural characteristics. Several specialized studies as well as customized surveys have supported actions taken across the Arvida area since 1990. These actions led to establishing heritage restoration consulting services, while setting regulations to be subsequently adopted; they are the foundations of the collaboration between City and citizens for the preservation of Arvida. Saguenay also inventoried and digitized over one thousand original documents from architectural, urban and infrastructure designs, including those relevant to the 125 house models. In 1999 and 2001, the City also designated every church a heritage site, as well as Arvida’s institutional chore, a group of five schools built from 1927 to 1962, and two churches erected in 1949 and 1950.
The City planned and adopted nine site planning and architectural integration programs to protect Arvida. As a result, almost all of the built-up territory of the City of Arvida, as well as the very symbolic aluminum bridge, also recognized under the Cultural Heritage Act, are subject to one heritage regulation or another, according to needs and requirements.
Saguenay took another step towards the recognition and preservation of its heritage, after twenty some years dedicated to the acknowledgement and preservation of the architectural and urban landscape of Arvida, in a partnership with Québec Ministry of Culture and Communications. In 2010, thanks to the great support of its citizens, a ruling helped constitute three heritage sites including 733 houses, which represents about 40% of the territory of the model city of Arvida. The initiative, a first in municipal heritage history, was however only the first step in a global partnership the City hopes to forge around the knowledge and recognition of Arvida.