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Quebec minister vetoes Gatineau P3 arena deal

City councillor calls it "a victory for taxpayers."

Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathalie Normandeau vetoed the untendered contractGATINEAU, QC, May 11, 2009 — Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathalie Normandeau has vetoed a deal between the City of Gatineau and the Gatineau Olympiques to renovate and expand the Robert-Guertin Arena.

Normandeau said in a decision released Monday the deal is a lease, not a public-private partnership, because the city would be responsible for the $28-million construction cost plus maintenance for 25 years, while the team would earn all the profits.

Councillors who opposed Mayor Marc Bureau's deal with the team said construction won't start this month because the city will now have to call for tenders.

Councillor Frank Therien said the decision is a victory for Gatineau taxpayers because no one knew whether the city could have negotiated a better deal with another contractor.

"The minister said we should go through the normal process of tenders," Therien said. "How do taxpayers know whether they are getting the best deal if there are no figures to compare?

"I regard this decision as a victory for the people of Gatineau. This deal was negotiated between Mayor Marc Bureau and the Olympiques."

A group of seven Gatineau city councillors and the development firm Multivesco opposed the plan to expand the Gatineau Olympiques' home and asked the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to investigate the public-private partnership agreement...

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  Quebec minister blocks Robert-Guertin Arena deal, by Dave Rogers , The Ottawa Citizen, May 11 2009

Posted: May 12, 2009

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