Rouyn-Noranda and Témiscamingue suffer from a lack of sports infrastructure | Elections Quebec 2022

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Rouyn-Noranda and T&émiscamingue suffer from a lack of sports infrastructure | &Elections Québec 2022

Les citizens of Rouyn-Noranda and Témiscamingue live in a territory with a lack of sports infrastructure. In the center of Témiscamingue, children have had no indoor place to learn to swim since the Ville-Marie swimming pool closed in 2019. In Rouyn-Noranda, only two swimming pools remain accessible to the public, including that of the Cégep de Abitibi-Témiscamingue, itself dilapidated.

The Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue swimming pool is at the end of its life.

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Added to this lack of aquatic infrastructure is the absence of a multi-sports complex in Rouyn-Noranda, which many citizens have been waiting for for several years and which is causing the exodus of promising young sports talents from outside of Rouyn-Noranda. the MRC.

As the provincial election campaign enters the final stretch, this issue, which affects both the health and safety of the population, but also the attractiveness of the region, is emerging as a priority for candidates in the riding of Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue.

The president of the Rouyn-Noranda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, David Lecours, is not complaining about this sudden interest. Despite everything, he said he was disappointed with the lack of attention paid to Abitibi-Témiscamingue during the campaign and would like to hear promises regarding the construction of sports infrastructure in the region.

President of the Rouyn-Noranda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, David Lessons.

As citizens, we watch the news where we talk about a third link, in Quebec. We see the people of Montreal reacting, who do not agree, who ask how many millions it will cost. Meanwhile, in Rouyn-Noranda, we don't even have a multisports complex, we have to do it! We have aging infrastructure, we lack sports infrastructure so we say to ourselves: "Coudonc, will there be something left for the regions? Are the regions going to have their place at some point? Are there a few million left for us?", he asks.

In Ville-Marie, the impossibility for children to take courses to learn to swim in a swimming pool is of great concern to families.

The president of the board of directors of the Deep Waters Complex, Nathalie Cardinal, underlines that the topography of the territory highlights the need for an accessible aquatic infrastructure.

We are surrounded by lakes, and you have to learn to swim. Also, people with reduced mobility, there are many that the only way they manage to do physical activity is in the water, explains Ms. Cardinal, who heads the organization whose mission is to provide Ville-Marie with a swimming pool.

The Ville-Marie swimming pool has been closed since June 2019.

Nathalie Cardinal adds that the absence of an aquatic infrastructure can represent a brake in the efforts of the MRC to attract and retain families and workers.

She considers that the file is progressing well and hopes that the project will be submitted by the end of 2023.

We have reached the stage where we have awarded the contract to a firm of engineers and architects to do what is called a functional and technical program and performance specifications. This is where we are creating the type of infrastructure we would like to have. When there is going to be a call for a government grant, we will be ready to submit our project, she assures us.

The City of Ville-Marie donated land for the construction of an aquatic infrastructure.< /p>

In Rouyn-Noranda, the lack of sports facilities and the absence of a multi-sports complex with synthetic surface represent an obstacle to the development of athletes, especially soccer players.

It is clear that this is a brake on the growth of soccer in Rouyn-Noranda. The fact that we don't have an inner complex to practice 12 months a year, it limits us from a training point of view. Among other things, we cannot have access to a sports-study program because our infrastructures do not respond to it. We practice in gymnasiums that are really inadequate, explains the president of Club Boréal, Sylvain Dallaire.

The Club de soccer Boréal considers the infrastructure available in Rouyn-Noranda to be inadequate. (archives)

The story is the same at the Gym Express gymnastics club. Janie-France Barbe, who sits on the organization's board of directors, maintains that the current facilities do not allow young gymnasts to reach their full potential.

Having pits, it would allow our highest level athletes to be able to practice movements that require landing on the ground, but there, you have to raise mattresses for it to be safe, so it takes longer before acquiring certain movements, she cites as an example.

According to Janie-France Barbe, the race corridors are shorter than those set up during competitions. (archives)

As the athletes of Rouyn-Noranda do not have access to quality infrastructures, some choose to go into exile in order to better develop themselves, in particular at the within sport-study programs.

It is clear that it is part of the portrait, relates Sylvain Dallaire. We have already experienced it, and again this winter, we have 4-5 good soccer players from Boréal who have moved to Val-d'Or to have coaching with the necessary infrastructure, with sports-studies among others . So yes, there are several good players who will leave the region for the benefit of their development.

Soccer players from Rouyn-Noranda go into exile in Val-d'Or to evolve in sport-studies, in the facilities of the Center multisports Fournier. (archives)

Both at Club Boréal and Club Gym Express, registrations had to be refused this year due to lack of space.

Janie-France Barbe deplores this situation which prevents many children from practicing their favorite sport.

This year, we exceeded 365 registrations, but despite that, we still have to refuse certain athletes, especially among the youngest. It's mostly a women's sport, so it's young girls who can't do a sport they would have liked to do, she regrets.

In soccer, in gymnastics as well as in several other disciplines, Rouyn-Noranda is excluded as a host city for major competitions, due to the poor quality of the facilities available.

Of course, there are major events that we will never be able to present because we have no infrastructure that meets the required standards, says Sylvain Dallaire. If we are not able to have a sport studies because we do not respect the standards, for the provincial competitions, it will be the same standard, so we are far, far from it.

Only one toilet is available in the facilities of the Gym Express gym club. (archives)

Even when it comes to smaller competitions, very often, the infrastructures do not allow parents and spectators to be received in a minimum of comfort.

We must have a regional competition this year and we don't even know how we will be able to hold it. How are we going to bring parents and spectators to the competition with only one toilet? We are trying to find solutions to this problem, says Janie-France Barbe.

Among the candidates for the position of deputy in Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue, all agree that an aquatic center in Ville-Marie is a necessity and everyone agrees to make this file a priority.

The candidates also agree on the need to provide Rouyn-Noranda with a multi-sports complex that will improve the supply of facilities for a set of sports disciplines.

For the outgoing MP and candidate of Québec solidaire, it is not normal that Rouyn-Noranda is one of the only cities of more than 40,000 inhabitants in Quebec not to have such an infrastructure.

Émilise Lessard-Therrien

This is not normal, and this what I find even less normal is that when we had discussions on the multi-sports complex, the regional minister said: "Listen, we won't be able to get the money, reduce your Rouyn-Noranda ambitions and apply only for the aquatic complex", that for me there is an issue, she expresses.

The Coalition avenir Québec candidate, Daniel Bernard, is committed to supporting the City in the steps leading to the submission of the project.

When we talk about a project like a multi-sports complex, which will be around 30 to 40 million, these files must be carried by the municipality because it will have an impact on the taxation of citizens. The role of the MP, and that's what I've done in the past, is to support projects, and that's what I'm committed to doing, he says.

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Daniel Bernard

The candidate of the Parti Québécois, Jean-François Vachon, claims to be in the best position to understand the issue of the multisports complex, because of his past as a sports journalist.

He says he is personally angry that such a project has not yet come to fruition in Rouyn-Noranda.

I was a journalist for 10 years, so I know that problem . I can tell everyone involved that I will be behind them and that I will work to ensure that we can have such an infrastructure. It's a pull factor for people. Immigrants, their sport is not hockey, it's soccer, he says.

The candidate of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Robert Daigle, also considers the construction of a multisport complex in Rouyn-Noranda to be a priority, as is the repair of the arena in Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues.

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Arnaud Warolin

According to the Quebec Liberal Party candidate, Arnaud Warolin, government programs must be adapted to the regions so that the smallest communities are able to afford quality infrastructure.

We deserve it. I think that the people of Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue deserve quality infrastructure. Our young people deserve quality infrastructure. I know that the City [of Rouyn-Noranda] is well advanced in its efforts, but I can assure you that when I become a deputy, I will accompany them with all my strength so that this project is carried out as soon as possible, supports Mr. . Warolin.

Rouyn-Noranda Mayor Diane Dallaire says the City will be ready to file a project when grant programs are announced. (archives)

Affirming that she wants to settle the Horne Foundry file first and foremost, Rouyn-Noranda Mayor Diane Dallaire nevertheless assures that the City is well prepared and that it will be ready when the next government announces the amounts dedicated to the construction of sports facilities.

We will not act alone in this file, we are working with our partners, UQAT, the Cégep and the School Services Center. But if a program presents itself, we will be ready to file, she confirms.

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