Montreal cuts another big cheque to cover Fina Competition

By Rhonda Massad

West Islanders are once again on the hook for the Fina Competition held last year at Park Jean Drapeau.

As reported by The Suburban, the Montreal Agglomeration Council just months before the competition and with no agreement on the Olympic facilities, voted, Jan. 30, 2014 to spend $2.7 million for a portable pool facility, rather than hold Fina World Aquatics Championship (FWC) events at Pointe Claire’s new $18 million, state-of the-art aquatic centre.

Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson voiced his concern right from the outset when the Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM), which represents Montreal’s demerged suburbs, voted against the expense in 2014.

“We were completely against this,” he said when it was proposed in 2014.

West Island taxpayers contributed more than a half-million dollars (18.7% percent of the total expense) to this competition.

“The council has sent a clear message to West Islanders that they are only part of the agglomeration when it comes to paying for important island-wide activities,” complained Mayor Gibson, “but not when it comes to benefiting from such events.”

As the games came up short, Montreal recently found itself in a position to have to cut another cheque for $500,000, a portion of which will be paid by demerged municipalities.

“We didn’t want it then and we don’t want it now. With a perfectly viable option in Pointe Claire, this is turning out to be an very expensive event,” Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa told The Suburban in an interview.

More than 30,000 participants and revenues of $100 million were expected, only 9,000 participants turned up with revenues of $60 million. The temporary pool will now be installed in Rivières des Prairies.

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A pool too far: West Island gets soaked again.

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