01/22/2013 07:30 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Deadline looms for historic arena's demolition decision

A committee in Saint-Lambert is expected to decide tonight if the community on Montreal's South Shore will tear down its nearly 50-year-old hockey arena.

The arena was scheduled to be demolished in April and replaced by a new $10.8-million structure.

But some residents have said the Eric Sharp arena holds historic value.

Yesterday evening, dozens of residents, including Steven Parry, voiced their opposition to the demolition plans at a public council meeting.

Parry, who has been an outspoken member of the group petitioning the city, said the city is ignoring their concerns.

''They're hell-bent on destroying the arena from what I can see," Parry said.

"They published this beautiful [brochure] which they put in the door of every resident of St. Lambert … so they're kind of selling this to the citizens without asking if we really want that kind of expenditure," he said.

'We have a huge burgeoning debt, we don't need a new arena, and there's no question that it should be renovated and left intact."

The city of Saint-Lambert is hoping for a $4.4 million grant from the province to help pay for the new building.

Thousands of people have skated and played sports on the ice including two NHL hockey players.

Quebec's Order of Architechts has joined its voice to those calling on the city to preserve the arena because of its wooden beams and cedar ceiling represent the architecture of the 1960s. The organization says major renovations could resolve current structural and accessibility problems.

The Eric Sharp arena was built in 1966 for Expo 67.