Montreal venue roof replacement hang fire


Montreal Olympic Stadium renovation delayed again Image: Montreal Visitors Guide

For years, Montreal (Quebec, Canada) has been patiently awaiting a roof replacement for the Olympic Stadium. Now, for the third time, it’s been told it will have to wait even longer than expected.

The ‘CBC’ stated that according to a spokesperson for the Olympic Park, the current state of the pandemic is making it more difficult to advance various projects at the expected pace.

The 66,308-capacity Olympic Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Montreal, Canada, located at Olympic Park in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district of the City.

Informed Cédric Essiminy of the Olympic Park, “The Olympic Park is working very hard to move the roof replacement work forward.”

In 2017, the Quebec Government approved a quarter-billion dollar budget for a new roof, to be installed by the end of this year. In 2019, Government officials said they would aim for 2024 in order to make sure they got it right.

Now, the renovations have been delayed yet again and neither the Quebec Government nor the Olympic Park has proposed a new date for the completion of the project.

Roof woes

The ‘CBC’ further stated that the current 23-year-old dilapidated Kevlar roof has had more than 16,000 tears over the years, according to the latest data from the Olympic Park. For safety reasons, no event can be held in the venue if the weather forecast calls for more than three centimeters of snow or three millimeters of sleet.

The stadium has had its roof removed at least twice since it was first installed in 1987, more than a decade after the 1976 Olympics the building was made for.

Since a second roof was installed in 1998 and still sustained recurrent damage, many projects were presented and calls for applications launched, but nothing came to fruition.

In the Spring of 2021, Quebec decided to move forward with the only bidder: The Groupe Pomerleau-Canam (GPC), a consortium that includes Quebec companies.

Radio silence

Since then, however, it’s been radio silence. No proposal has been submitted and no business plan – an essential step – has been filed with the Government. This file must detail the cost and financial estimate of the project.

Informed Fabienne Barbe, a Pomerleau official, “Our consortium is still in discussions with the Société de développement et de mise en valeur du Parc olympique (Olympic Park Development and Enhancement Company) following the call for proposals. Several of our technical advisors and engineers are involved in finding the best solution, along with our stadium counterparts. We can’t say when it will be finalized.”

Roof replacement ‘soon’

Essiminy of the Olympic Park says discussions between Pomerleau and the Park, overseen by an independent process auditor, are taking place.

He added, “When the GPC proposal is submitted, a formal evaluation of the file will be carried out to verify its compliance with the requirements.”

Essiminy stated that the Olympic Park does not wish to comment further on this matter.

Quebec’s Tourism Minister, Caroline Proulx, says the province is working to come up with a new end date for the project.

Reads a statement from Proulx’s office, “The revision of the schedule is currently on the drawing board.”

The statement further stated that the roof is still scheduled to be replaced “as soon as possible”. No further details were released.

Roof ‘essential’

Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Borough Mayor Pierre Lessard-Blais asserted that the new roof is essential for Montreal – “We can’t talk about the revival of Montreal’s East end while abandoning the Olympic Stadium.”

He added that while the project is complex, “We are socially obliged” to bring it to fruition.

Lessard-Blais pointed out that the City has been spending money to revitalize the area, including the construction of the SRB-Pie IX bus network and renovations of the Insectarium and Biodome, which should reopen in the Spring – “We now realize how complex it is to make up for an infrastructure that was poorly planned … but [the stadium] must be maintained. It benefits the local population, the entirety of Quebec, and it is the third most important place for tourists to visit.”

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