The failing retractable roof of Quebec’s Olympic Stadium is to be replaced after a renovation project received approval from the government.

Quebec opted for a retractable roof to meet the needs of groups that wanted to hold events under the sun or the stars, an official said. However, the Canadian city’s harsh winters caused many problems with the roof.

The estimated cost of fixing the issue will be between $200m and $250m.

The Olympic Installations Board (OIB), which manages the stadium, will produce a viability study for work to replace the roof. It said it hopes to have it installed by 2023, and it is set to make an announcement today (Friday).

The OIB has been authorised to seek proposals internationally for the highly specialised work. While all options remain open for Quebec, a fully retractable roof, which was part of French architect Roger Taillibert’s original design, is out of reach.

Instead, Quebec is looking for “a fixed but flexible,” style roof that can be dismantled in certain areas.

“We want to see if this is technically feasible and financially viable,” an official said, according to the Montreal Gazette newspaper. 

Premier Philippe Couillard defended the idea of spending more public money on the stadium.

“Do we want to abandon the Olympic Stadium, let it fall into ruin?” Couillard said. “I don’t think many people would be happy about that. We are going to continue making it (the stadium) one of Montreal’s attractions.

“Desjardins just set up offices in the tower of the stadium and others will follow. But the place cannot be used if we don’t repair the roof.”

It was recently revealed that workers at the stadium have had to repair nearly 7,500 tears in the roof since 2007 and it cannot be used if there is more than three centimetres of snow on top of it.

The stadium was built for the 1976 Olympic Games, with the first roof being installed in April 1987, lasting 11 years.

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