Excitement builds for new venue at Bob Guertin site
Gatineau residents have big ideas for the new 5,000-seat complex to be constructed on the site of the nearly 60-year-old Robert Guertin Arena.
Some say a new facility should host events beyond just hockey, making "The Bob" a more multi-purpose venue and a nice boost for the community.
"I think people will want to use that establishment to do concerts and things like that, so we won't have to go each time to the Ottawa side," said Dannik Poirier, an area resident.
Gatineau City Council decided on Tuesday to demolish the Robert Guertin building. The facility's seating capacity currently falls short of the Quebec Junior Hockey League's requirements for at least 3,500 seats.
The local junior team, the Gatineau Olympiques, will continue to play in the old arena until the new facility is completed on the same site.
One-third funds raised so far
The Robert Guertin building is chock full of hockey memories, but supporters of the Gatineau Olympiques wished the decision to construct a more modern facility had come sooner.
"Of course it should have been done before. It's always too late. Politics are late," complained one fan.
It took four years of deliberations to decide whether to expropriate land downtown or rebuild the arena on the current site.
The project is by no means a done deal. The new facility is expected to cost $63-million. So far, only one-third of the money has been secured. Gatineau Mayor Marc Bureau is counting on the rest of the funds to come from the province and the federal government.
With files from the CBC's Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco