Montreal

Stephen Bronfman wants to build 'eco-friendly' stadium for return of Expos

"We don't want to create large parking lots because that creates heat islands. We have the opportunity to build a stadium and revamp a part of the city," said Bronfman.

Montreal businessman's proposal has many community activists concerned

Stephen Bronfman, right, and Pierre Boivin speak to the media earlier this year about the prospect of Major League baseball returning to Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Proposing a new baseball stadium that would seat 32,000 spectators, Montreal businessman Stephen Bronfman insisted the project would be eco-friendly and good for the community.

"The timing is perfect, the site is perfect, it's time," Bronfman told Montreal's public consultation office (OCPM) Thursday evening. 

The proposed stadium would occupy nearly 1 million square feet of the Peel Basin and would be the perfect location for the Montreal Expos to make a comeback, Bronfman said.

"If the city rejects the proposal, it would be a shame. It would send the signal that Montreal isn't excited by the return of baseball," Bronfman said. 

Twenty-six community organizations have joined up under the name Action-Gardien, in opposition of the project. They would like to see the area used for new social housing units.

"We want a real living environment, inclusive, affordable and ecological," said Karine Triollet, speaking for Action-Gardien. 

"We want a project with social and community housing.… Especially in an area that has suffered, in full force, from a process of gentrification in recent years," said Triollet. 

The stadium would be located near a future Réseau express métropolitain (REM) station near the Bonaventure Expressway, north of the Peel Basin. 

"We don't want to create large parking lots because that creates heat islands. We have the opportunity to build a stadium and revamp a part of the city. If it's done well, it will be good for 100 years," said Bronfman.

"The REM service will act like the Metro at the Olympic Stadium. Cars won't be necessary with good planning." 

Bronfman's is one of several proposals to be heard at the public consultations, where 40 organizations will give their ideas on how the Bridge-Bonaventure sector should be used. 

The consultations began Wednesday and will wrap up next Monday, with the OCPM submitting its recommendations to the city at the beginning of 2020.

With files from Radio-Canada

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