A gazebo restoration project meant to pay tribute to Montreal writer Mordecai Richler has instead become a costly misstep for the city, with a price tag of $724,000.

The heritage gazebo in Mount Royal Park was originally approved for renovations in 2011, but lead paint and an unstable foundation caused lengthy delays that ran the costs up to more than twice the original budget. But at long last, city officials say the project is nearly complete.

"We are very optimistic it's going to be finished at the end of July," Real Menard, a member of Montreal's executive committee, told CTV Montreal. The gazebo was originally built in the 1920s, and Menard said the city is determined to preserve it as a heritage structure. He also pointed an accusatory finger at the construction project's architect, saying that all factors were not accounted for in the gazebo's restoration.

"They didn't give all the information. We need to have the real information," Menard said.

The city has sent legal letters to the architect demanding that the issue be reviewed by municipal lawyers.

Projet Montreal city councillor Alex Norris says the whole gazebo saga has been an absolute disaster. "It's inconceivable to me that someone familiar with heritage structures in the City of Montreal would not have planned for the presence of lead paint," he told CTV Montreal.

City officials decided to dedicate the gazebo to Richler in 2011, after a bid to name a library after the writer failed.

But if all proceeds according to plan, the $724,000 gazebo should be available to offer a bit of shade to park visitors beginning in July.

With files from CTV Montreal