West Island aquatic centre snubbed for FINA swimming championships

Watch: Pointe-Claire aquatic centre snubbed

MONTREAL –  In the midst of all the excitement over the Olympics, Montreal is preparing to host the next big international competition.

The FINA World Masters Championships are coming to the city this summer. Thousands of swimmers are expected from around the world, bringing in hundreds of millions of tourist dollars

“This is the biggest aquatic competition in the world,” said Pierre Cloutier, the CEO of the FINA organization committee.

“It’s the biggest FINA competition in the world, it actually is bigger than the Olympics in terms of number of participants”

The events include swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming, and will take place at the Claude Robillard Sports complex and at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

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The third venue was supposed to be the “Big O” but the former Olympic stadium from the 1976 summer games is no longer an option.

“They were doing major renovations in the pool and didn’t allow us to use it, so a decision had to be made,” said Jim Beis, Montreal executive committee member.

At a meeting two weeks ago, the agglomeration council voted to invest $2.5 million to build a temporary pool at the Jean-Drapeau park.

This decision has West Island mayors up-in-arms because Pointe Claire has a state-of-the-art facility that is available to be used throughout the competition.

A glimpse inside the three-year-old world class aquatic centre in Pointe-Claire. Global News

The three-year-old aquatic centre has a solid reputation and is already being used by Olympic athletes.

Pointe-Claire mayor, Morris Trudeau told Global News that the demerged cities pay 19 per cent of the competition.

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“We feel we should have received part of the games.” 

But  FINA competition organizers are insisting that spreading out the games would lead to complete chaos.

“To bring 8000 people every single day from downtown to the West Island, considering the traffic and the construction we’d have to deal with, would be a logistical nightmare,” said Cloutier. 

But Mayor Trudeau insists that it is normal for games to be spread out at events like this one.

He said that the decision would drain the pockets of taxpayers, and leave a brand new $18 million pool hanging out to dry

“We don’t live 100km from Jean Drapeau park, and these are not four-year-olds competing,” he said.

“It would have not been a problem.”

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