Duplessis delivers on transparency

By Joel Ceausu and Robert Frank


Laval Mayor Alexandre Duplessis made good on a promise this week, by announcing that La Cité de la culture et du sport de Laval and the city have released documents relating to the Place Bell project. There are seven documents in all, which can be seen on Laval’s municipal website at ville.laval.qc.ca

Calling the transparency initiative “an absolute priority for one of the issues of the day for Laval,” Duplessis committed for months to increased transparency on the huge project which was under much criticism for the fact that it was controlled by La Cité—a non-profit organization not subject to the same scrutiny as the public administration.
The documents currently available for review on the city of Laval website include: letters patent of La Cité; and agreements between the non-profit body and Infrastructure Québec, and with L’Aréna des Canadiens, the parent of Evenko, which has a 20-year deal to operate, manage and maintain Place Bell.
Duplessis told The Suburban in an interview that the city couldn’t make them public until now.
“We signed the deal with our partner Evenko—the company that owns the Aréna des Canadiens—last week,” he explained. “We couldn’t put them up beforehand, because the contract had not yet been completed and signed. We’re going forward with our partner from the outset: Infrastructure Quebec,” the mayor continued. “We have completed the business case and the next step is to take it to treasury board.”

“It’s very positive, but it’s a long, complex process that we must adhere to very methodically,” the mayor emphasized. “The city is very excited and we have to make sure that we see it through to completion for the benefit of all citizens of Laval.”

Infrastructure Québec has monitored the entire Place Bell file and now the deal has been forwarded to that provincial body for processing and approval by the treasury board.
“We are in constant contact with Infrastructure Quebec to ensure that all requirements are met,” said La Cité president Marcel Alexander.
What’s more, in perhaps what is the new normal in public projects, Infrastructure Quebec has been given responsibility to administer the process of awarding the Place Bell construction contracts, with a launch of calls for qualifying bids expected to come soon.

In addition to the 10,000-seat arena, the city-owned Place Bell will also have two ice rinks, costing upwards of $150 million, with about half coming from city coffers.

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