NEWS

Laval to get $40M aquatic complex by 2018

08/03/2015 05:24 EDT | Updated 08/03/2016 05:59 EDT
The City of Laval has taken its first steps towards building a new aquatic complex that could allow the city to host international swimming events as early as 2018.

City council has mandated the multinational firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to come up with a financial plan and to select a location for the new complex.

Right now, the city estimates that the future aquatic centre would cost more than $40 million.

Laval's new complex would have three basins: a multi-purpose 50-metre Olympic pool, a diving pool and a recreational pool for families.

It would be big enough to accommodate 1,000 swimmers and 500 spectators.

"We want to go in the directions where we can easily hold international tournaments here," said David De Cotis, vice-president of Laval's executive committee.

"We are looking at various formats, but we absolutely want to have one of the three pools that is for citizens, reserved for recreation. This way, our children can play and have fun in their aquatic complex."

It's about time, swimmers say

François Courtemanche, the director of Mouvement Aquatique Laval, has been calling for a swimming complex in Laval for 10 years.

"It's not normal that for such a big city like Laval, parents have to go elsewhere to sign up their children for simple swimming lessons," Courtemanche said.

Laval is the third largest city in the province, after Montreal and Quebec City.

Courtemanche said Laval residents go to cities that have better facilities, such as Montreal or cities on the North Shore.

"Blainville, Saint-Eustache, Terrebonne — all these small municipalities have equipment that enables athletes to train and that allows the whole community to benefit from swimming lessons," Courtemanche said.

Philippe Comtois, a former Olympic diver from Laval, said his city must do better.

"Laval has a huge pool of potential athletes, but it doesn't have any facilities in any water sport to be able to serve that elite clientele," said Comtois, who left Laval to train in Montreal so that he could progress in his sport.

"I started diving in 1984 in Laval. Unfortunately, 30 years later, the facilities are the same, with some maintenance, but nothing more."

Comtois said that, as a parent, he finds it a struggle to enroll his children in swimming lessons.

"All the spots are taken up on the first day of registration. I was accepted only once...and free swim time is almost non-existent."

Laval officials say they hope to have the complex open to the public by 2018 but will wait for recommendations from PricewaterhouseCoopers before confirming a timeline for the project.

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