Caroline Proulx, Minister of Tourism for Quebec, has announced that the provincial government will spend C$870m (£512m/€600m/$643m) to replace the roof of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, with the work to be spread over the next four years.
The government said the new roof will allow Montreal to become a “key event player”, with the replacement of the structure and the implementation of the Olympic Park business plan to generate economic benefits of nearly $1.5bn over 10 years.
It is hoped the project will increase annual economic benefits from C$68m to nearly C$150m, and gross revenues from C$23m to C$61m. It is also envisioned that the new roof will generate tax revenues of more than C$20m per year for the Quebec government, increase the number of events from around 30 to around 100 per year, and double the number of paying visitors from one million to 2.1 million.
The new roof, which will last for 50 years, will be fixed and will include a transparent glass hoop. The announcement comes after Parc Olympique, the operator of the stadium, last summer issued a notice of intent to sign a contract with the Groupe Pomerleau-Canam consortium, with a view to delivering a new roof and technical ring for the facility.
The stadium opened in 1976 for Montreal’s staging of that year’s summer Olympic Games. The project was first approved at a budget of C$250m by the Quebec government back in 2017, but progress has stalled since then.
The current 25-year-old Kevlar roof is said to have accumulated more than 16,000 tears since installation. As a result, events cannot be held in the stadium if the weather forecast calls for more than three centimetres of snow or three millimetres of sleet.
The roof replacement project will be divided into three parts: the dismantling of the current roof, the dismantling and replacement of the technical ring, and the construction of the new roof.
Exploratory work is already underway, and the dismantling of the current roof is scheduled to begin this summer. The Olympic Stadium will be closed for the duration of the work, but all other facilities in the Park will continue to offer a varied programme of events.
“Our government wants the Olympic Stadium to once again become a positive symbol for the metropolis and for all of Quebec,” said Proulx. “Replacing your roof means ensuring its operation all year round and thus creating new opportunities for holding trade shows, fairs, conferences, sporting events and large-scale shows.
“This project will increase attendance at the site and generate significant economic benefits, thereby encouraging the development of eastern Montreal. After years of procrastinating over the future of this Montreal monument, the time has now come to act and bequeath to the Quebec population a world-class infrastructure.”
Michel Labrecque, president and chief executive of Parc Olympique, added: “This decision by the government deserves to be saluted for its courage. The new roof of the Olympic Stadium will mark an important milestone in the history of this Quebec emblem.
“We are offering future generations an Olympic Park that can rival the largest stadiums in the world and of which the Quebec population can be proud. I hope that many significant, even historic, events will be held there for decades to come.”