Community in St-Lambert fights to save unique wooden arena
Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:21PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:51AM EST
MONTREAL—After 47 years, the city of St-Lambert says it’s time for a new arena. In April, the Eric Sharp complex is set for demolition, but residents of the area are banding together to stop the demolition of a fairly unique building.
It's a love affair for many to skate underneath the arched cedar celling at the arena. Edith Lemieux wants to save it, she's gathered over 1,000 signatures asking to renovate the arena rather than tear it down.
“It's important to conserve the architecture here because it is so beautiful and unique,” said Lemieux.
The arena was built in 1966 and is showing its age. The city says it looked at renovations, but prefers a plan to build a new arena for $10.8 million. The new arena would have an efficient refrigeration system and would be open all year round.
The city has also applied for a provincial reconstruction grant. St-Lambert says it could lose a $4.4 million grant if it changes its plan from reconstruction to renovation.
But some residents feel the arena is fine the way it is and the money could be better spent.
“Personally I find that this is a poor use of public money to build a new arena,” said Louise Giroux.
Nick Young is a figure skating coach who works at the rink. He says new all year round facilities are needed.
“You're nit picking if you're going after that roof. I mean, there are other things that are more important for the rink and for people who spend a lot of time in the rink,” said Young.
The demolition has already been approved and plans are in place, but many say they will keep up the fight to save a community gem.