The island isn’t big enough for two arenas said Pincourt town manager Michel Perrier.
“Two projects? Seriously? No,” Perrier told The Gazette this week. “There’s room for a project with two ice sheets, but there’s definitely not room for two.”
Despite a recent announcement of an arena being built in neighbouring Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, Pincourt has pledged that by the fall, it will complete its arena – which has stood abandoned in mid-construction for nearly 10 years.
Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal has promised that completion of the arena will be done through the private sector and won’t cost taxpayers anything.
Construction on the arena started in 2003 and was halted when the non-profit company managing the project ran out of money. After a long legal battle, Pincourt purchased the land in 2009. Last summer, the town came to an agreement in principle with a pair of private investors: Pincourt native and Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, and local entrepreneur Paul Roy. However that deal fell through in November because the parties couldn’t agree on terms. Burrows and Roy are now pursuing a similar project in N.D.I.P.
Now, Pincourt is saying it is hoping to further develop the plot of land desginated for the arena, making it more interesting for developers.
“We did a small sketch just to illustrate the potential of the land,” Perrier said. “There’s room for a pool, a soccer field, and a small hotel with about 50 rooms. There’s also room for about 40,000 square feet of commercial space attached to the ice surface, and three residential towers in the back.”
Perrier said some parties have shown interest in developing the site, and are now examining their options.
“We’ve got to give them enough time to do a solid study,” he said. “We’re dealing with serious businessmen. They’re not going to just throw the dice and say, ‘what the heck?’”
He said such a development will likely require zoning changes, but residents will probably be in favour of such a move.
“I think people want to see this eyesore go away so badly, they’re probably ready to consider a smart and wise zoning change.”
But before developing anything more on the site, the town will ask developers to complete the arena project as a priority for this fall.
Meanwhile in N.D.I.P., the town is forging ahead with its arena project.
Burrows and Roy have an agreement in principle to build a $17-million facility that will include two indoor rinks and four outdoor ball hockey rinks, a restaurant and a gym. The project has been promised for the end of 2014.
“We’re working a lot on the file,” said N.D.I.P. Mayor Marie-Claude Nichols. “They asked us for a few studies to determine where it would be least expensive to hook up sewers and aqueducts, and we provided those.”
She said she believes the project will go ahead even if Pincourt manages to complete its arena.
“There’s definitely place for two,” she said. “And it would be good competition to keep the price for ice time low.”
But Pincourt resident Pierre Longpré said perhaps his town should give up before it loses too much money on the arena project.
“I’m wondering if the city should continue to put in an effort here,” he said.