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Proposal for Montreal baseball stadium gets support from former premier

Stephen Bronfman, right, and Pierre Boivin speak to the media about the prospect of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
Stephen Bronfman, right, and Pierre Boivin speak to the media about the prospect of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A proposal to build a baseball stadium in Montreal that was presented by businessman Stephen Bronfman last week is receiving some support from former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard.

In a letter sent to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) that was obtained by La Presse, Bouchard and businessmen Daniel Lamarre of Cirque du Soleil and Louis Vachon of National Bank stated that bringing back a major baseball team could be significant for Montreal and Quebec.

READ MORE: Bronfman presents vision for Peel Basin at public consultation office, including baseball stadium

The OCPM is currently conducting public consultations on the future of the Peel Basin, the area Bronfman and his partners want to develop.

Stephen Bronfman on board for Tampa Bay Rays to share season with Montreal
Stephen Bronfman on board for Tampa Bay Rays to share season with Montreal

Bouchard and his co-signers said the benefits of having a baseball team in Montreal have led them to believe it is important to allow Bronfman and his group to continue with the project.

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Nevertheless, the three said they would not take a final position on the proposed stadium, saying it is not their responsibility to speculate on the official process or express an opinion at this stage.

READ MORE: Split season with Montreal seen as way to preserve baseball in Tampa

In the late 1990s, the Quebec government, led by Bouchard, refused to invest public funds in a new downtown baseball stadium. A few years later, in October 2004, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., in the United States.

Investors on board with the idea of bringing baseball back to Montreal
Investors on board with the idea of bringing baseball back to Montreal

Earlier this week, the Corporation de développement de Pointe-Saint-Charles, which operates in the area in question, told the OCPM it is opposed to the ballpark project as well as the proposed luxury real estate development.

READ MORE: Throwback Expos day at D.C. baseball game divides Montrealers and Americans

The organization insisted that the federally owned land in the Peel Basin should be used for affordable housing, schools, parks and community amenities.

Local talent showcased at Montreal’s MLB skills competition
Local talent showcased at Montreal’s MLB skills competition
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