Ottawa Magazine

Closing Time

What’s on the chopping block

- – Laurent R-Cardinal

In 2013, the city of Gatineau received a proposal to demolish practicall­y all their arenas and rebuild them with a smaller footprint. The city rejected that idea, and in 2015 a committee was formed to study alternativ­e solutions. Members eventually determined arenas are regional facilities and that rebuilding neighbourh­ood arenas was unnecessar­y. Planifika returned to the drawing board. Its new suggestion? Replace neighbourh­ood arenas with multi-pad facilities, a move that council approved in 2017.

Last fall, Gatineau Olympiques fans said goodbye to the Robert-Guertin Centre in Old Hull after a 64-year run. The same fate awaits Hull arenas Cholette and Jean-Paul Sabourin. A new ice-pad facility in the west end will offer three or four pads; the population is booming, and ice time is in high demand. In the Gatineau sector, the Beaudry Arena in the Limbour neighbourh­ood is set to close this spring, as is the Baribeau Arena near Main Street. As for the Campeau facility in the Rivière-Blanche neighbourh­ood, it shut its doors in 2020 after it was determined it would take too long and be too costly to repair an ammonia leak at the end of the arena’s lifespan.

In the coming years, the city plans to cease operating the Stade Pierre-Lafontaine Arena in Pointe-Gatineau. The two-ice pad BranchaudB­rière Complexe built in 2013 and the four-ice surface Slush Puppie Centre, which opened in 2021, are set to replace those community arenas. The city’s plan also calls for the closure of the Buckingham and Masson-Angers arenas. This project is not yet approved.

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