Opposition councillors demand to know total cost of Montreal's Formula E race

Just how much did last month's Formula E race cost? The opposition parties at City Hall say they aren't getting the answers they're looking for.

While July’s event was supposed to cost $24M, city says total cost won’t be known until next year

Felix Rosenqvist of Sweden, heads toward the finish line on his way to winning the pole position for the Montreal Formula ePrix electric car race Sunday, July 30. The races have gone smoothly but area residents say the race has caused significant disruptions. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press )

Just how much did last month's Formula E race cost?

The opposition parties at City Hall say they aren't getting the answers they're looking for.

"It's like being at the dentist and trying to pull teeth on this one. And I suspect it's because the news is not good," said Marvin Rotrand, a city councillor and leader of the Coalition Montreal party.

"Just because Mayor (Denis) Coderre says everything was great, doesn't mean it was great. We need to have all the data."

The City had announced that the event would cost Montreal taxpayers about $24 million to host the international high-speed electric car race for the first time.

But on Monday, Montreal city council approved additional costs for the race worth $5.3 million.

Original price tag at $24M

The original $24-million price tag was criticized by many, especially after learning that other cities — such as Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris or New York — didn't spend any public money to host the same event.

The price included the costs of:

  • Building and dismantling the track.
  • Protection of the track.
  • Race fees.
  • Road work.
  • Engineering and inspection services.
  • Parking compensation for residents within the perimeter of the track

Rotrand said even though it's known that the cost of holding the event was more than $24 million, there are still many unanswered questions.

Marvin Rotrand, leader of Coalition Montreal, says there are no clear answers about the final price tag on last month's Formula E race. (CBC)
He and other councillors want to know if any of the $10-million line of credit for Montreal, c'est électrique, the organization responsible for the event, was spent.

They also want answers about the number of tickets sold versus those given away for free.

"[Coderre] said the race was great for the economy in Montreal. If it didn't sell a lot of tickets and bring a lot of tourists in, or sell a lot of hotel rooms, I don't see how it's particularly good for the economy of Montreal," Rotrand said.

Coderre said the focus for this year was not on ticket sales, but on ensuring this first edition would be a success.

Coderre also added that Montreal, c'est électrique will tally up the costs and release the numbers on March 1, 2018. That will be after the municipal election in November 2017.

Added to the tally will have to be the Regional Transit Authority's calculations. All STM bus and Metro service was free for race weekend.

With files from CBC's Sean Henry