Gatineau a step closer to getting a new arena

Gatineau arena

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin believes the Quebec legislature will soon approve Gatineau’s plan to partner with a private company to build a 4,000-seat arena.

Pedneau-Jobin went before a committee of Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) in Quebec City Wednesday and said the committee liked the idea.

“It’s going to be voted upon within a few days because the assembly shuts down June 16, so the private bill should be adopted next week,” he said. “They were very positive about the project and happy that Gatineau is innovating.”

Gatineau has signed a tentative agreement with Vision Multisports Outaouais (VMSO), a non-profit organization, to build a new arena to house The Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), at Boulevard de la Cité and Boulevard Maloney Ouest. The arena will also have three community rinks.

But they need approval from the province to make the agreement legal because they did not do it through a public tender process.

“If we invest in the building itself that they manage afterwards, we could be seen as giving an unfair advantage to a private partner,” Pedneaud-Jobin said.

Marc Carrière, the Member for Chapleau, has put forward a Private Member’s Bill to allow the project to go ahead.

If the assembly does approve the bill next week, there is still some chance residents could petition for a referendum on the issue, but Pedneaud-Jobin doesn’t think it’s likely.

He said he expects Gatineau could start construction on the arena in March or April 2018.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.