Olympic Stadium safe despite fallen concrete: officials
Published Monday, March 5, 2012 8:42PM EST
Officials at Montreal's Olympic Park say the facility is still safe, a day after a massive concrete slab fell from the roof of the stadium's parking lot.
Both Quebec's tourism minister and the park's president blamed construction at a nearby soccer stadium for sending the eight-by-12-metre chunk of concrete crashing to the ground on Sunday.
While the exact cause of the incident has not been determined, officials believe dirt moved during the construction that was placed on top of the parking garage may have caused the collapse.
"It seems to be the cause. Now experts will tell us," Tourism Minister Nicole Menard told reporters.
"The stadium .... there's nothing to worry about -- everything's okay."
CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie reported Monday that construction crews are now removing earth from the roof to ensure that there's no chance of another collapse.
The new soccer stadium will be home to the Montreal Impact, the city's new Major League Soccer team. The team is scheduled to play its first games at Olympic Stadium until their new facility is ready.
The team's March 17 opener will go ahead as scheduled, officials said.
No one was injured in Sunday's incident. The facility is closed during the winter months, although officials hope that will change once a new roof is installed on the stadium, Lurie reported.
Similar incidents have occurred at the stadium over the years, including in 1991, when a chunk of the roof fell and sent the Montreal Expos out on the road to play their final 13 home games.
Olympic Park president David Heurtel said Monday "the stadium is sound."
"There are close to 500,000 people every year that come to the Olympic Stadium, there are over three million people every year that come to Olympic Park," he told reporters. "To tear this whole complex down would cost over $700 million, it would take over four years to do."
With a report from CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie and files from The Canadian Press