Montreal's Olympic Park facing potential lawsuit over stalled skate park

A skateboarding federation is threatening to sue Montreal’s Olympic Park for allegedly violating a contract and failing to build a skate park meant for the 2017 Canadian skateboard championships.

Tim McFarren, the California-based president of the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF), said he is seeking damages for breach of contract, over a WSF-designed skate park that would’ve been installed on the Olympic Park site near Pie-IX Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street.

“Now we’ve got to go after the Olympic Park with attorneys to collect on our damages,” McFarren told Radio-Canada in an interview.

“It’s going to be substantial, the event that we put on have cost in excess of $1 million every year, so I think I’m going to leave that up to the attorneys to decide the amount claimed.”

The WSF has hired a Montreal law firm to pursue the suit. 

Work had already started

According to Olympic Park spokesperson Cédric Essiminy, work had started on the skate park, but two or three weeks after the organization announced the park’s construction, the IOC ruled that skateboarding would be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Essiminy said Olympic Park wanted to wait and see what the Olympic technical standards will be before building a skate park.

Skate park construction halted

Montreal’s Parc Olympique had already started construction on a skate park when the IOC announced it would include skateboard in the 2020 Olympics. Construction was halted, and the park spent $40,000 backfilling holes where concrete slabs had been removed. (Julie Marceau/Radio-Canada)

Some work had already been done at the site, including the removal of some concrete slabs from the park’s promenade. The Olympic Park then had to start a backfill operation to fill in the holes left behind at a cost of $40,000.

According to Radio-Canada, Olympic Park did not want to comment on its contract with the WSF or a potential lawsuit.

Mixed reactions from skateboarding community

Yann Fily-Paréthe co-founder of ASM, Montreal’s skateboard association, criticized the fact Olympic Park officials cited technical standards at the reason for the delay.

“It’s doubtful, in my opinion,” he said. “We know very well what a competitive skate park looks like.”

Fily-Paré said Montreal is already lagging in building skate parks.

Micah Desforges, who runs the Jackalope skateboard festival, thought the delay was a good idea.

“If infrastructure is going to be built, I think it’s good to have Olympic standards if eventually they want to hold international events,” he said.  

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