MONTREAL -- Businessman Stephen Bronfman's proposed project to build a baseball stadium in Montreal is receiving support from former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard and two other notable businessmen.

In a letter sent to l'Office de consultation publique de Montreal (OCPM), Bouchard and businessmen Daniel Lamarre of Cirque du Soleil and Louis Vachon of National Bank write that the return of a Major League baseball team could provide significant spin-offs for Montreal and Quebec and that it is important to allow Bronfman's Montreal Baseball Project to make progress.

"The members of the Montreal Baseball Project are citizens who are committed to the development of Montreal, respect for the environment, and they will be concerned to ensure the social acceptability of their project," wrote the three men.

The Montreal Public Advisory Board is currently conducting consultations on the future of the Peel Basin, the area that Bronfman and other business people want to operate.

The three signatories on the letter do not make a definitive judgement on the project, claiming that it is not their responsibility to speculate on the conclusion of the process or to express an opinion on the substance of the project at this stage.

In the late 1990s, the Quebec government led by Lucien Bouchard refused to invest public funds to construct a new downtown baseball stadium. A few years later, in October 2004, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington.

Earlier this week, Action-Gardien, Corporation de développement communautaire de Pointe-Saint-Charles, which operates in the area concerned, told the agency of its opposition to the ballpark project as well as the luxury real estate development attached to the project. The organization notes that federal lands in the Peel Basin should be used for affordable housing, schools, parks and community amenities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.