Montreal baseball stadium proposal requires independent public consultations, report says

Fans wear Montreal Expos uniforms as they watch the Toronto Blue Jays in a pre-season baseball game against the New York Mets on Friday, March 28, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A proposed plan for a sprawling baseball stadium in Montreal requires more study and discussion, according to the city’s public consultations office.

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) issued its report Monday on the revitalization of the Bridge-Bonaventure sector, which includes the development of the Peel Basin in Griffintown.

“The commission believes that the installation of a baseball stadium in the Bridge-Bonaventure sector should be the subject of an independent consultation and be analyzed on the basis of a more developed project,” the office wrote.

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

Businessman Stephen Bronfman and Claridge president Pierre Boivin presented their vision for the proposed stadium last October during public consultations for the Bridge-Bonaventure sector.

In a bid to bring back Major League Baseball, the pair proposed a stadium on federally owned land that they said would be eco-friendly and rely heavily on public transit.

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The project has garnered support from sports fans and former premier Lucien Bouchard, who said having a baseball team could be significant for Quebec and Montreal. However, some community groups have expressed concerns, saying Griffintown needs more social housing.

In its report, the OCPM said it would irresponsible to render a decision on the proposal based on what it described as the “fragmented” information it has collected.

“This is a major equipment project for the City of Montreal, whose size and breadth require that we measure its impact in various aspects,” it wrote.

Click to play video: 'Focus Montreal: Expos Fest'
Focus Montreal: Expos Fest

The public consultation office also points to how similar large-scale sports projects — such as expanding tennis courts at Jarry Park and the Percival-Molson Stadium — underwent their own individual consultations.

“No plan, nor any study measuring economic, social and environmental impacts have been brought to the attention of the commission,” it wrote.

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The move comes amid a halted proposal for the Tampa Bay Rays to split their season in Montreal. In December, the plan was put on hold until at least 2028 after the mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., said the talks to split the team’s home dates came to an end.

READ MORE: Montreal is ready and willing to welcome Major League Baseball team — study

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has welcomed the idea of bringing back baseball to the city and said that her administration understands the report’s recommendation. She said the public has a right to be consulted on such a project.

“To me, I see that in a very positive way where we need to ask more questions,” she said.

With files from the Canadian Press

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