“It’s time we gave prestige and standing back to the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium,” Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx says.
Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette files
QUEBEC — Yes Montreal, the Coalition Avenir Québec government believes in the Olympic Stadium and that will include a new roof.In tabling a bill giving the Olympic Installations Board a new name and more power to fly on its own accord, Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said the government is committed to the future of the Olympic site.She said she is personally proud of the stadium and wants other Quebecers to feel the same way.“It’s time we gave prestige and standing back to the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium,” Proulx told reporters at a news conference. “For too long it has been not loved or under-loved by Quebecers.”And as the stadium closes in on its 50th birthday, Proulx said the future will be even brighter because a new roof — promised by the previous Liberal regime and the Parti Québécois before it — is on the drawing table.The objective is the same: to have the old roof replaced by 2024, in time for the World Cup of 2026. The CAQ government has one key advantage over the others who made such promises: it is swimming in surplus funds.“We will be working on replacing the roof, it is mandatory to change the roof,” Proulx said. “We will change the roof. The business plan will be tabled in the next few months.”Proulx would not respond to questions about costs or whether the new roof would be retractable. The Couillard government had pegged the cost of the roof at somewhere between $200 million and $300 million.But she said the thought of shuttering or tearing down the stadium — an idea sometimes floated in social media and by disgruntled taxpayers — did not even enter her mind.“As a Montrealer, as a kid who grew up just behind the Big O and as a premier stated a few weeks ago, we’re open for business,” Proulx said.In fact, the legislation Proulx tabled, Bill 15, is designed to give the stadium more latitude to operate as a business to chase more and bigger events. The new name will be Societé de développement et de la mise en valeur du Parc Olympique or Olympic Park for short.It replaces the old Olympic Installations Board and will have the power to sign its own business contracts with other organizations and governments, plus long-term leases with suppliers and corporate banners, said Olympic Park president Michel Labrecque, who was on hand for the news conference.Labrecque said the sky is the limit. The stadium is currently in use 200 days of the year. The new brand will market the entire site, including the popular tower plus attractions like the Biodôme and Saputo Stadium.With the Olympic tower 85 per cent rented, Olympic Park generates revenues of between $20 million and $25 million a year. Quebec’s subsidy in 2017-2018 was $17.2 million.Olympic Park installations attract about one million visitors a year. If you add visitors to all the other attractions in the area, StarCité cinema, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, Biodôme, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens the total traffic is close to 4 million firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/philipauthierRelated