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Sports Dorval Arena to undergo major $11.3 million expansion during pandemic

16:16  03 december  2020
16:16  03 december  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Dorval Arena, built 55 years ago, is about to get a major makeover.

a large building: An artist's conception of the proposed future expansion of the Dorval arena on Dawson Ave. © Provided by The Gazette An artist's conception of the proposed future expansion of the Dorval arena on Dawson Ave.

The city announced the arena will undergo an $11.3 million reconstruction that will see the much of the structure on Dawson Ave. expanded and renovated.

Mayor Edgar Rouleau said the plan is to expand the arena foyer and rebuild dressing room facilities.

A second floor will also be added to the east side of the arena, facing the parking lot.

Rouleau said the second-floor area will feature glassed-in viewing areas that will allow spectators to watch the action on the ice surface below. “The new section will be built behind where the back of the stands are now,” he said.

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Built in 1965, Dorval Arena serves as a community hub for recreational activities, including hockey, ringuette and figure skating. It is also home to the annual Dorval Oldtimers Tournament . Decades ago, the rink was home to the Dorval Jets junior hockey team.

a group of hockey players posing for a picture:  Action from an old-timers hockey game at the Dorval Arena in 2017. © John Mahoney Action from an old-timers hockey game at the Dorval Arena in 2017.

In the summer months, the arena can be used for lacrosse, ball hockey and other community activities

But Rouleau says the facility is in good shape for its age, but needs an upgrade, especially the cramped dressing room areas.

“It’s a much-needed project,” said Rouleau. “If you’ve ever played hockey at Dorval Arena, you’ll know it had the smallest dressing rooms on the island of Montreal. It was terrible. A couple of the rooms were OK, but the other ones, forget it. Probably the guy who designed it the ’60s never played hockey in his life.

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“So we’re enlarging the arena going eastward (toward the parking lot) to make our dressing rooms much bigger, to the size we find in new arenas. At the same time, we’re going to redo the bathrooms and all the plumbing for showers, toilets and a new sprinkler system.

“We’re also enlarging the foyer there. We’re reorganizing the little cafeteria we had there. And the pro shop that was tucked under the stands will be moved.”


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With a new second-floor area, Rouleau said an elevator will be added for people with reduced mobility.

The city has been upgrading the arena’s infrastructure in recent years. “Five years ago we replaced all the seats,” Rouleau said. “Then, with government grants, we did all the ice refrigeration and mechanical systems .”

Construction is supposed to start next spring and last about nine months. It should be finished by end of December 2021, unless the city can arrange for the contractor to start a little earlier.

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The contract has been awarded to MA2D Construction, a Laval-based firm.

While the $11.3 million price tag is steep, Rouleau said it would cost more than double or triple that amount to build a new arena from scratch.

He said a new concrete ice slab alone costs about a $1 million.

Rouleau said many municipalities are choosing to renovate their arenas instead of building new ones. “If you look, almost every city — Pointe-Claire, Beaconsfield, Kirkland —  renovates their rink.”

He said the last municipal rink built in the West Island was the Dollard Civic Centre in the mid-1970s.

The privately-owned Pierrefonds Sportplexe opened in 1997, replacing the old Pierrefonds Arena up the street. Île-Bizard’s Sport Complexe Saint-Raphael was built in 1995. It was renamed Vincent Lecavalier Arena in 2010.

Dorval has two arenas: Dorval and Westwood, which is located near the airport.

Rouleau, who still plays oldtimers hockey, recalls a time in the 1950s and 1960s when only two indoor arenas existed in the West Island.

“When I was young the only two indoor rinks arenas we had were Lachine and Macdonald College. (Mac) was known as the ‘freezer’ because it was so cold, but it had the best ice in town.”

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Until the renovation project is completed in late 2021, Rouleau said temporary trailers will be installed at the arena to allow players to change before and after games. “We want everybody to be able to play as soon as possible,” he said.

Andy Brookman, president of Hockey West Island, welcomes the arena upgrades. He is hopeful minor hockey will resume play this season, but added: “With this pandemic, you never know.”

jmeagher@postmedia.com

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