Mirabel’s newly elected mayor, Jean Bouchard, has been trying to save the airport terminal from being demolished – the intention made public by the airport authority in May.
Aéroport de Montréal, the agency that manages both Dorval and Mirabel, maintained the building for the last decade for about $5 million per year.
Feasibility studies are expected to be released Friday, that’s when Bouchard is expected to approach the government for financing to convert the building into a convention centre.
“It would work in tandem with the Palais des Congrès in Montreal,” the mayor said.
The airport authority asked the City of Mirabel to sign an agreement to show their seriousness with the project, but that agreement also comes with financial liabilities.
The board will vote to demolish the building mid-September. That’s the same time Mirabel would have to come forward with a solid business plan, and secured financing.
But the financing won’t come without a plan, and the government hasn’t committed a dime yet, according to the office of Minister Pierre Arcand.
Aéroport de Montréal said it is willing to sell the building to Mirabel for $1, but the city must assume all maintenance costs.
The Mayor has asked the board to put off the decision by a few months, enough time for the political bodies to gather and secure the money.
“Push back the date,” said Bouchard. “If the government of Quebec accepts and thinks the project would benefit economic development, we will sign the agreement.”
“We have to make a decision now,” said Chritiane Beaulieu, vice-president of communications at the airport. “You don’t put 10 million in repairing a roof and certain things if no one wants the building.”
Beaulieu repeated the building has been vacant for years, maintained for years, and they’re not going to keep spending money for a final attempt at the eleventh-hour.
“What will two months change,” she asked.”This after ten years and nearly a year now with the city and their new project with the new mayor.”
The Mirabel mayor said the airport authority is stuck in its ways and isn’t flexible.
“Why not give the chance, why not collaborate,” Bouchard asked. “[The airport] has a very particular way of working with these issues.”
The federal and provincial governments are keeping this issue at arm’s length.
“It is the responsibility of Aéroports de Montréal to receive and consider potential alternative solutions, projects and initiatives concerning the former terminal,” said Roxand Marchard of Transport Canada in an email to CJAD. “Transport Canada does not intervene in the corporation’s day-to-day activities and respects its operational autonomy.”
The airport’s Board of Director will vote on to demolish or save the building on September 15th.