A retractable roof over a Montreal stadium? Tennis Canada wants to make it happen (but not on the Big O)
Move over, Big O. While the retractable roof of the Olympic Stadium was a dream that never materialized, Tennis Canada is pushing for such a structure over IGA Stadium, home of the Rogers Cup tournament.
Tennis Canada announced its desire to build the roof over center court on Thursday, saying such a structure is needed for a modern major tennis tournament.
The proposed roof would come with a $70 million price tag, though funding from the three levels of government has yet to be secured.
"We're looking forward," said Tennis Canada VP Eugene Lapierre. "We have the vision that in a few years all the most important tournaments will have a roof. We want to go ahead, make our mark in the world and keep the event in Montreal."
Backlash has already begun, with community group Coalition des amis du Parc Jarry saying the roof would make it possible to hold events such as concerts in the stadium year-round, endangering the peacefulness of the area.
"When Tennis Canada registered at the lobby register, they indicated that if they have the roof, that will lead to a multiplication and diversification of events in this amphitheatre," said spokesperson Michel Lafleur. "It's clear that if there's many events, it will shift the vocation of the park."
However, Lapierre said that’s not the purpose of the roof.
“It doesn’t have to change anything. On the contrary, if we want less, it’s very possible. It’s not our business to have more events,” he said.
Lafleur said he doesn't buy that argument and is hoping community pressure will put the roof project on the back burner.
"It's a lot of money. It would be very surprising that it would be used only (for the Rogers Cup)," he said. "If it doesn't rain, well, too bad, the $70 million was for nothing this year."