Mon­treal to In­vest $59.9 Mil­lion on Cir­cuit Gilles-Vil­leneuve

Montreal Times - - News -

The city has been in ne­go­ti­a­tions for sev­eral years with For­mula One race or­ga­niz­ers, since they were told the fa­cil­i­ties at the Gilles-Vil­leneuve race track needed to be up­graded to meet their re­quire­ments, which in­cluded re­build­ing the pad­docks and hos­pi­tal­ity area.

At the time, then Mayor De­nis Coderre felt it was too ex­pen­sive but wanted to find a way to keep the an­nual Grand Prix race here. Now the new ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der Mayor Valérie Plante, has de­cided it is in­deed well­worth the in­vest­ment and will­ing to take it even fur­ther. Not only will they be tak­ing down the present pad­docks and re­build­ing them to re­quire­ments, but the work will in­clude in­creas­ing the seat­ing ca­pac­ity in the boxes from 1800 seats to 5,000.

As well, the es­ti­mated $59.9 mil­lion project will in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of pile foun­da­tions to min­i­mize the im­pacts on cy­clists and will also per­mit other ac­tiv­i­ties to take place at the park dur­ing the Grand Prix.

On Wed­nes­day, Mayor Plante told re­porters, 'The For­mula One is well es­tab­lished in Mon­treal­ers’ hearts and as well as for tourists' and that 'the ren­o­va­tions orig­i­nally an­nounced in 2015 would be much more ex­ten­sive. It is an in­vest­ment that will bring much more back to the city'.

The tourism im­pact on the city is great and it makes eco­nomic sense with Mon­treal be­ing one of the top four race hosts with the high­est at­ten­dance.“The im­pacts have been mea­sured.We’ve re­mea­sured them again and it’s a de­ci­sion that eco­nom­i­cally makes sense,” said mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for large parks, Luc Fer­ran­dez. "Fifty-two per cent of vis­i­tors to the Grand Prix are from out­side Mon­treal."

Ac­cord­ing to the So­ciété du Parc Jean-Dra­peau (SPJD) who made the com­mit­ment to ren­o­vate and ex­pand the Cir­cuit Gilles-Vil­leneuve as part of the re­newal of the agree­ment to stage the Cana­dian Grand Prix from 2015 to 2029 - 'the cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture has ex­ceeded its ser­vice­able life­span and in need of an up­grade. For­mula One World Cham­pi­onship re­quire­ments have changed sub­stan­tially since the first Grand Prix in 1978, par­tic­u­larly in terms of host­ing the F1 teams and the tech­no­log­i­cal needs re­lated to the garages, con­trol tower and me­dia areas'.

They also state that while work is be­ing car­ried out on the project there will be no im­pact for users of the Olympic Basin (which is lo­cated be­hind the pad­docks) and for the many cy­clists who use the Gilles-Vil­leneuve cir­cuit, there might be 'a few slow­down mea­sures im­ple­mented in the area for safety rea­sons', but the work is not ex­pected to re­sult in any clo­sures of the track.

The up­grades and ren­o­va­tions are ex­pected to be com­pleted by May of 2019 and it looks like the Grand Prix races and all the events that ac­com­pany it, is here to stay for a long while to come.

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