Olympic Stadium | Not a penny more

The Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx, may try to be reassuring, but taxpayers have the right to be concerned about the cost of the new roof of the Montreal Olympic Stadium.

The government’s questionable studies and lack of transparency raise serious questions.

On February 5, Mme Proulx announced the government’s intention to spend $870 million to renovate the Olympic Stadium. At the same time, Quebec taxpayers were surprised to learn that they would have to cover the entire bill. Such an amount is surprising.

For comparison, the Videotron Center in Quebec cost taxpayers $370 million. And for $870 million, Quebec could build 21 new primary schools.

Quebecers are well aware of the setbacks and cost overruns linked to the Olympic Stadium.

Inaugurated in 1976 for the Summer Olympics, the Stadium has a tumultuous financial history. Its initial construction cost, estimated at $300 million by Mayor Jean Drapeau’s administration, quickly ballooned to $1.6 billion.

The cost spike was due to several factors, including aesthetic complexity, inflation, and numerous changes in construction direction.

To date, it is estimated that Quebecers have spent nearly $4 billion1 to build and maintain the Stadium.

Too good to be true

Despite all these expenses, the government now wants to add almost 1 billion more for the roof. How can taxpayers expect to get value for their money? During his announcement, Mme Proulx tried to reassure Quebecers by presenting projections that were too good to be true.

According to estimates from the Ministry of Tourism, replacing the roof will enable the Olympic Park to generate $1.5 billion over 10 years, with annual economic benefits increasing from $68 to $150 million and commercial revenues from $23 to $61 million. dollars2.

Mme Proulx even suggests that the new roof would increase the number of events from 30 to 100 per year and double the number of paying visitors, from 1 to 2 million.

That’s a lot of magic for a new roof!

It’s hard to imagine that the new roof of an old stadium could generate so much interest when no sports team has moved there since the Expos left in 2004, now 20 years ago.

But here’s the problem: until proven otherwise, the economic impact studies of the Ministry of Tourism are unfounded. To date, freedom of information requests for clarification on these projections have gone unanswered.

But it’s not just the economic impact studies that are puzzling. The government justifies its enormous investment of $870 million by claiming that the destruction of the stadium would cost $2 billion3.

This claim is based on a single study from 20 years ago, and no building in America has ever been destroyed for this amount.

We can easily cite the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington DC, destroyed for $20 million, or the Yankee Stadium in New York, dismantled for $25 million, to show how dubious the government’s calculations are.

And as if that were not enough, the Minister of Tourism refuses to commission a new study.

The government’s lack of transparency in the Olympic Stadium file should make taxpayers livid as they prepare to foot the bill for the renovations.

Quebecers have the right to know how their tax money is spent in order to ensure that state-funded projects meet their needs.

As long as François Legault’s government has not proven to taxpayers how they can get their money back by renovating an empty stadium, the project should be put on ice.

1. Read a column from Montreal Journal“Olympic Stadium: $5 billion later”

2. Read the press release from the Ministry of Tourism

3. Read “Demolition of the Olympic Stadium – The 2 billion estimate called into question”

What do you think ? Participate in the dialogue

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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