Alouettes to Start Stadium Expansion soon**

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The Montreal Alouettes say only financing remains to be settled before construction can begin on the expansion of Percival Molson Stadium, the CFL's smallest venue.

The CFL club said it cleared a major hurdle Tuesday night when opponents of the proposed expansion failed to get enough signatures to force a referendum. The team hopes to have financing in place for construction to begin next year and for work to be completed in time for the start of the 2008 season, a club spokesman said.

The Alouettes need to secure $23 million from three levels of government and $4 million in private funding for the project.

They hope to add 5,000 seats to the 20,020-seat facility on the McGill University campus by building an upper deck on the south side grandstands and adding extra seating in the east end zone.

The expansion would produce about $2.5 million per year in extra revenue.

Team president Larry Smith has said the Alouettes' future in Montreal depends on the stadium expansion and that the club cannot make a profit as it is despite having the league's highest ticket prices.

Opponents of the project include some residents near the stadium who object to the noise and to crowds streaming to and from the facility on game nights, and environmentalists wary of any construction in the area, which is mostly lush parkland.

The expansion plans call for the main entrance to be moved to the east side, which would direct fans away from the nearby residential neighbourhood.

Smith said that while some trees would be cut down, more would be planted that would partially shield the stadium from view and prevent soil erosion.

Smith said in a statement that the team would work with a neighbourhood committee to ensure residents' concerns are considered.

"Our message has been heard," Smith said. "In partnership with McGill University, we want to reiterate that we will respect our commitment to enhance the district's quality of life."

You know, I can understand why cities don't spend a lot on stadiums, they are expensive to begin with or expensive to expand and you sure want to make sure that lots of people in the city benefit from this spending if it's coming from government. Where, for example, spending the money on a new walkway in a park is much more easily justifiable.

i thought they already had the financing done and were all set to start when people objected....cuz i was always under the impression this expansion would be done for the '07 season.

guess not

There is also the arguement that because the Alouette are a privately owned team why should taxpayers dollars be used when any profit will just go into the owners pockets. Although I have no problem seeing a portion of my tax dollars going to support the CFL, I can appreciate the other persons viewpoint particularly if that person is not a fan.

There are of course significant economic benefits from the stadium expansion that will see much of the initial expenditure recovered by taxpayers.
If it was an "either build a hospital or a stadium" scenario, then maybe that is an issue, but I don't think that is the case.

And sports, the teams, the fans, the stadiums, all have benefits to a community that go beyond just dollars and cents.

True enough Arius when you say benefits beyond the community. For example, some cities are trying to actively recruit more health care personnel to their city and one way, since CFL games are on TV, is through TV exposure. Some cities don't get a lot of national TV exposure apart from some negative news that goes on here and there or a politician in an election campaign or something.

Exactly, Earl.
People look towards more than just the humdrum of daily life.
They want a certain quality of life as well.
So when people outside the community look at job opportunities, they see that there is a vibrancy to the community that will make life interesting.
Pride in the community, a way of life, are things that sports bring with them, and a stadium enhances every aspect of these already positive things.

AND the stadium can be used for all types of events in addition to football. It is money well spent. That's why one should be built in Halifax.

Halifax Steelback?

I recall how there was report our of the US somewher, I wish I would have kept the thread, that came out re strictly no frills stadium with basic seating for 25,000-30,000 can be had for between $35-50M.