New roof, new mission recommended for Big O
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:15PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2012 8:42PM EST
MONTREAL—The Olympic Stadium’s roof has sagged, ripped, gotten stuck and shattered under the weight of snow, the stadium’s field is now largely off-limits during winters out of a safety concerns.
A special committee on the future of Montreal’s Olympic Park has opened the door to the installation of a retractable roof on the stadium not unlike that originally designed for the facility.
The suggestion was one of 22 recommendations that resulted from a year-long consultation with 4,000 people.
The roof, as originally designed by French architect Roger Taillebert, was meant to be pulled up and down by metal cables from the angled tower above. However, a series of mishaps and breakages under rain, wind and snow led to the installation of a fixed structure.
Due to technological advances, committee chair Lise Bissonette said that the original concept is now more workable.
"Given the fact that we're in 2012 and not in 1976, many people have told us that maybe we should look again at the original proposal for a retractable roof,” said Bissonette.
The roof would have to be “consistent with the original design of the building,” according to the report.
The committee also called for the area to be reinvented as a provincial hub for amateur and school sports. The report says the Olympic Stadium could house more athletic groups and bring in new events, as well as more tourist dollars.
"What we're suggesting is that, is not only investing in there but reorganizing this thing so that it serves all Quebecers,” said Bissonette.
Despite the stadium, Biodome and the other attractions the people in the Olympic Park, many feel there's just not enough in the neighbourhood to keep them there for an entire day.
"We just don't have any reason to come. If we don't have this public infrastructure, when we talk about restaurants, when we talk about hotels, when we talk about public toilets. When we talk about space, if you want to organize a picnic and to come here we don’t have any space and trees,” said Mercier-Hochelara-Maisonneuve borough mayor Real Menard.
What the committee didn’t talk about was how much all of this would cost.
The report also recommends more autonomy for the Olympic Installations Board and more initiatives to increase tourism to the site.