Parts of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium roof could be retractable

Radio-Canada reported in May, the roof had torn 677 times over the last year and 7,453 times over the past 10 years. (Rick Elvin/CP)

MONTREAL — An agency that oversees Montreal’s Olympic Stadium says parts of the new roof planned for the cavernous facility could be removable.

The Parc Olympique said in a statement today it favours the option of a fixed roof made out of some form of textile.

But it says the Olympic Installations Board will also look at the possibility of making various sections removable for different events.

The comments come a day after the Quebec government said the stadium will have a new, $250-million roof by 2023.

Quebec will begin asking for proposals in 2018.

Montrealers have been dealing with the stadium’s problematic roof for years. with Radio-Canada reporting in May it had torn 677 times over the last year and 7,453 times over the past 10 years.

The stadium was designed by architect Roger Taillibert and built for the 1976 Summer Games.

It currently doesn’t get much use. The Montreal Impact play there early in the Major League Soccer season, while the Impact and the Montreal Alouettes also use it for playoff games.

The 2015 annual report by the agency that runs the stadium reported the roof cost $454,000 to maintain that year — down from $1.4 million in 2014.

It cannot be used if there is more than three centimetres of snow on the roof, making the venue effectively unusable in winter.

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The stadium and its roof have had a checkered history since the facility was opened in July 1976, although the roof and tower were built only years later. Some examples of the problems that have occurred over the years:

August 1986: Explosions and fire in unfinished tower interrupt Expos game. Nobody injured but game is rescheduled.

April 1987: Kevlar roof completed and installed.

June 1989: Roof lining rips during tractor pull, forcing evacuation of about 8,000 people.

June 1991: Roof tears during wind storm, leaving hole of 30 metres by 15 metres.

September 1991: Fifty-five-tonne beam crashes to the ground, closing stadium for 94 days. No one hurt.

August 1992: Riot erupts at Guns N’ Roses concert when lead singer Axl Rose ends concert after just 55 minutes. Eight of 300-odd police officers called to the scene receive minor injuries amid clashes with rock-and bottle-throwing rioters who use everything from uprooted street lamp to metal barriers to smash windows.

January 1994: Interior wall collapses. No one hurt.

January 1998: Ice damages stadium roof, sending snow and water onto floor and forcing cancellation of two Rolling Stones concerts.

May 1998: Kevlar roof sold for $1 to company specializing in research and development of industrial machinery. Fixed roof installed.

January 1999: Section of roof tears and rains down pieces along with ice and snow on 200 people preparing for an auto show. Five people slightly injured.

November 2006: Stadium’s costs are paid in full. Total cost: $1.47 billion.

April 2012: Concrete slab falls from ceiling of underground parking facility. Nobody injured.