Olympic Stadium’s roof rapidly deteriorates

The roof of the Olympic Stadium is deteriorating at a faster rate than anticipated, ripping more than 2,000 times in the last year alone.

The number of rips in the Big O’s roof almost tripled in the last year

The Olympic Stadium's roof has 3,400 rips in it, compared to about 20 in 2010. (Radio-Canada)

The roof of the Olympic Stadium is deteriorating at a faster rate than anticipated, ripping more than 2,000 times in the last year alone.

It now has almost triple the number of rips it had a year ago — it went from roughly 1,200 in 2012 to about 3,400 this year.

Number of rips in the Big O's roof:

  • In 2010: about 20 rips
  • In 2012: 1,240 rips
  • In 2013: 3,400 rips

Officials say the building is safe — all the tears in the retractable roof have been repaired — but maintenance costs have spiked from $400,000 to $800,000.

Opposition demands new roof

Quebec’s official opposition party says it’s time to give the stadium a new roof, and to use the building again to host events during the winter.

“With all the upcoming events, not only would new revenues pay for a part of the roof, but on top of that, the stadium is a part of our heritage,” said Liberal MNA Lucie Charlebois.

Officials at the Régie des installations olympiques (RIO) said it’s already too late to get a new roof for the city of Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.

Government hesitates

The Parti Quebecois says it's hesitant about investing such a large sum of money in the Olympic Stadium.

“I’m not sure that right now I can sell this idea of a new roof for the stadium,” said Quebec Premier Pauline Marois.

A new retractable roof would cost at least $300 million, while a fixed roof would cost about $200 million.

“The challenge that we have is that it costs a lot of money for a new fixed roof and we still don’t know how to use the stadium -- how we can make it cost-effective for Montrealers and for Quebec,” said Michel Leblanc, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

“The members of the business community that I consulted on the Olympic stadium were very clear: we need to understand the business model. It’s clear that we don’t want to spend millions of dollars without knowing what we’re going to do with the stadium.”

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said a new roof is necessary, but it’s not on his list of priorities.

“A new roof is needed to ensure the future of the stadium, but I also have a series of priorities right now. At a certain point though, we have to reflect on this issue,” Coderre said.

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