The roof of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, which housed 1976 gold-medal feats of Bruce Jenner and Edwin Moses, is continuing to deteriorate at an eye-opening rate.
Daily inspections from November to May found more than 2,700 rips in the roof, according to CBC. That averages out to about 12 rips per day. David Heurtel, the president and CEO of Montreal’s Olympic Park, said the rips are usually a few millimeters or centimeters long and patched up.
CBC reported that the roof ripped a total of 1,240 in all of 2012 and that it ripped about 30 t0 40 times per year in the first few decades of its existence.
“The degradation of the mechanical properties of the fabric are significant, and aging is more significant than anticipated,” a report by the Olympic Installations Board read in April, according to CBC.
The Olympic Stadium’s calendar isn’t as busy as it used to be.
It housed the MLB’s Montreal Expos up until the franchise moved to Washington, D.C. in 2004. The MLS’ Montreal Impact played temporarily at the Olympic Stadium while its primary home field, Stade Saputo, was expanded in its expansion year of 2012. The Impact played two games at the Olympic Stadium in March but don’t have any more game scheduled there this year.
The Montreal Alouettes had approached Heurtel about hosting the Grey Cup in 2017 at the stadium, but Heurtel says he doesn’t know if the stadium will be able to follow through.
“The CFL needs to have a guarantee of a 40,000 seats plus venue to even consider the candidacy. And right now we cannot give them any type of guarantee,“ he said.
In April, CBC reported that Quebec’s tourism minister said he expects the government to finalize plans for a new roof by the end of the year.
In Wednesday’s report, the president and CEO of Olympic Park said it could cost between $200 million and $500 million to replace the roof and that he’s in discussions with the province to raise the funds. Repairs in 2012 cost more than $300,000.
“This is an investment,” Heurtel told CBC. “We can have a lot more jobs generated by this, a lot more tourism.
“It’s our international symbol.”
Not everyone agrees.
“Enough is enough, I mean blow up the sucker,” Montreal Gazette columnist Bill Brownstein said, according to an April CBC story. “You can’t even use it in the winter, parking is a problem, inside structurally there are problems galore.
“The joke is on us after a while. How long do we have to continue paying for all of this?”