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DESPITE THE LACK OF A FUNDING PROGRAM: GASPÉ TAKES AN IMPORTANT STEP TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE SPORTS COMPLEX PROJECT

The municipal council, which is meeting in regular session this Monday, September 19, 2022, is taking an important step to move forward with the sports complex project by adopting a loan by-law of $2,3 million that will make it possible to carry out complete plans and specifications for the arena phase. By moving forward in this way, the municipal council is sending a clear signal as to the importance of this issue for the municipality and is urging the Quebec government to provide an assistance program for sports infrastructure in the short term following the provincial elections.

“The City Council is making a bold decision today by assuming the costs of professional services for the complete design of plans and specifications for the arena phase of the sports complex. This investment of $2,3 million will allow us to be 100% ready when the next financial assistance program becomes available, regardless of the level of progress requested from the municipalities. As soon as the project is accepted by the government, we will be able to call for tenders for the construction of phase 1, the arena component. We still have the ambition to complete the sports complex project, but we will have to phase it in 2 stages, starting with the arena first and adding the sports facilities and synthetic field component to it in a second phase. This phasing is necessary in order to respect taxpayers' ability to pay. » mentions the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté.

A NECESSARY SUBSIDY PROGRAM

Recall that the City of Gaspé had submitted in the PAFIRS program, in February 2020, an ambitious project for a sports complex on the land behind the C.-E.-Pouliot high school, valued at the time at $18 million. Unfortunately, the project had not been retained by the Government of Quebec.

“The next government will absolutely have to put in place a financial assistance program to enable municipalities to develop or bring their sports facilities up to standard. In Gaspé, the arena is at the end of its useful life and its maintenance generates increasingly large expenses. The previous government put a hockey plan on the table, but for there to be a hockey plan, we must first have quality arenas and ensure modern infrastructure for our young people, while many cities are waiting to their sports infrastructures" mentioned the mayor of Gaspé.

A PROJECT IN 2 PHASES TO ALLOW RAPID REALIZATION

The municipal council also decided to go ahead with a first phase which would include the arena and multifunctional rooms to then be able to integrate a synthetic surface and sports facilities in a 2e time. The land in question is still the one behind the C.-E.-Pouliot high school because of its location in the city center and the possible synergies with high school students.

“For us, there is no doubt that having a diversified infrastructure is necessary to meet the needs of the City of Gaspé. A synthetic surface and additional sports surfaces are imperative to improve our living environment, diversify the sports offer and meet the needs of our population, which is diversifying and growing from year to year. However, it is clear that for a city like Gaspé, we have a better chance of achieving this project in 2 phases. The plans and specifications stage will also make it possible to update the construction costs of such an infrastructure and thus better inform the council for the continuation of the project” mentioned the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté.

The City of Gaspé intends to carry out the plans and specifications for phase 2023 of the sports complex during the year 1 and the sports clubs will be consulted to obtain their ideas and meet the needs expressed. If the government adopts a program in 2023, the municipality will be ready to go to tender for rapid construction.

“The key to this project is to quickly obtain financial support from other levels of government,” concludes Daniel Côté.

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