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02-10-2011, 09:34 AM
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Quebec City to announce arena plans

Premier Jean Charest and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume are expected to announce plans Thursday for a new arena to be built in Quebec City.

A press conference will be held at 11:45 a.m. at Quebec City's Colisée Pepsi, the 62-year-old arena the new facility would replace.

The new arena, which many Quebec City residents hope will attract an NHL franchise, is expected to be bankrolled almost entirely by public funds.

The province and the city are expected to announce they will split the bulk of the $400 million cost, reports say.

Ottawa has turned down requests to help fund the project, although a report Wednesday suggested the Conservative government has considered allowing a portion of gas tax revenues be used for large entertainment centres.

If almost all of the funding for the arena comes from within the province, however, it would leave the Tories out of a project located in an area where they hold six seats.
More than 60,000 people rallied on the Plains of Abraham in October 2010 in support of a new NHL team for Quebec City.More than 60,000 people rallied on the Plains of Abraham in October 2010 in support of a new NHL team for Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Polls suggest Conservative support in the Quebec City area could shrink if the government refuses to help fund the arena.

Although Quebec Conservative MPs support federal funding for the project, other Tory MPs have expressed concerns that even if taxpayers spend hundreds of millions on a new Quebec City arena, the NHL may not agree to put a franchise there.

Meanwhile, the project does have some private sector support. Pierre Karl Péladeau, the president and CEO of Quebecor, is said to be offering tens of millions of dollars for the project.

The Quebec capital has been without an NHL team since 1995, when the Quebec Nordiques left for Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche.

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