SBD/January 24, 2011/Facilities

Péladeau Pledges "Millions Of Dollars" To Build Quebec City Arena

Province, city have vowed to contribute C$200M toward new Quebec City arena
Quebecor Media Inc. President & CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau yesterday said that he is "willing to pour 'tens of millions of dollars' into building a new multipurpose arena in Quebec City," according to Sean Gordon of the GLOBE & MAIL. Péladeau cited the "return of NHL hockey to the city as his priority." But he declined to "elaborate on how much he's prepared to spend because 'we want to keep these talks private.'" Gordon reports it also "seems Quebecor, which recently won regulatory approval for a 24-hour sports channel, would be interested in managing the arena; there is considerable speculation in Quebec that other partners in the venture will shortly be announced, possibly including" Celine Dion's husband, René Angélil. Péladeau’s announcement "will surely ratchet up the pressure on the Conservative government in Ottawa -- as a possible federal election looms -- to kick in its share." Federal officials, however, said that their "position has not changed and that the ball remains in the hands of the municipal government." The province and the city have already pledged C$200M, and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume "has repeatedly said the project will go ahead with or without federal funding" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/24). Quebec City Exec Committee VP Richard Cote on Friday said that the city will have a "new NHL-calibre arena and the official announcement will come within a month." Cote told CHOI-FM that the "municipality is going ahead with a plan to finance the construction of the arena without a significant investment from Ottawa." He added that local officials "still hope Ottawa will eventually foot part of the bill for a proposed 18,000-seat arena." Cote said that the city is "working out details of the financial plan which is likely to include more funds from the municipality as well as investments from the private sector -- notably by selling the arena’s name" (NATIONALPOST.com, 1/21).  
 
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