Volume 92, Issue 63

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

elmer the elephant


Wrong alliance

There is a lesson in falling cement

A graphic display

There is a lesson in falling cement

When will they learn?

Yesterday, a 350 square metre portion of the roof at Montreal's Olympic Stadium collapsed, dumping ice and snow on workers setting up for an auto show.

Thus far, taxpayers have coughed up $1.1 billion on a project which was originally estimated at $200 million. The sad thing is, they've spent close to $200 million on the roof itself. How much more money will taxpayers be forced to throw into this "Big Owe" before it is actually complete? It seems there is no end in sight. By the time the final bill comes in, the good people of Quebec will have been forced to part with over $3.4 billion.

This is surely one heck of a bill for a party which ended 20 years ago. The whole ordeal has become one big farce. It's been 22 years since the Olympics were held in Montreal and the details of the stadium are literally a scattered mess. Pieces have fallen off, the original roof was in storage in France for six years and the new roof is still under the ownership of an American engineering firm.

One would assume that with modern engineering and architectural knowledge, such problems would have never arose. But alas, those who designed and built this edifice have proven us wrong time and time again. Nothing has gone right with this cursed superstructure and it seems nothing will.

The Expos are praying a new ballpark will be built for them by 2001, which means the stadium will be relegated to hosting monster truck rallies and auto shows. This is all a far cry from the former glory it once held, as the centre-piece of the 1976 Olympics.

So the question remains, when will they learn? Only time will tell.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999