• John Jantak

Appeal could delay Pincourt Sports Complex construction at least two more years


Completion of the Pincourt Sports Complex could take at least another two years after the Burrows Group announced it will appeal a recent Quebec Superior Court decision in favour of the Société d’Exploitation Sports Sherbrooke (SESS), the owners of the complex.

A motion to appeal a recent Quebec Superior Court ruling that was recently launched by the Burrows Group could result in a minimum two year delay before construction of the long-awaited Pincourt Sports Complex can resume.

Vancouver Canucks hockey player Alexandre Burrows and local businessman Paul Roy from the Burrows Group decided to appeal the decision that was rendered by Justice Danielle Mayrand on June 10 in favour of the Société d’Exploitation Sports Sherbrooke (SESS), the current owners of the sports complex.

Burrows and Roy had argued that the sale of the abandoned building and land by the Town of Pincourt to SESS for $1 – substantially less than the assessed market value – violated the province’s Cities and Towns Act.

The group also claimed that ice time rental agreements with the town and Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs (CSTL) were inflated and unfair because they constituted what could be considered as subsidies in favour of SESS. In her ruling, Justice Mayrand found no irregularities in any of the agreements with the town, SESS and CSTL.

The appeal announcement is another legal setback for SESS who signed an agreement with the Town of Pincourt last summer that would have seen the original long-abandoned arena structure renovated and ready for the start of the 2014-15 hockey season in September. Work on the sports complex began in mid-February but was halted about two weeks later after the Burrows Group launched an injunction and took SESS to court. Speaking to Your Local Journal by phone from Sherbrooke on Tuesday, SESS President Jocelyn Thibault said he was very disappointed with the appeal application especially since the judge was unequivocal in her pronouncement that the entire agreement between the three parties was completely legitimate.

“We always knew an appeal was an option for the other group,” said Thibault, a former Montreal Canadiens hockey player. “Now we have to deal with it and we have to deal with it as best as we can.” SESS lawyers are presently trying to have the Burrows Group appeal application rejected based on the Superior Court ruling.

If the appeal application is accepted, both the Burrows Group and SESS could be involved in a long, drawn out legal battle that could take two to three years before it is heard and a judgement rendered, Thibault said. “If the appeal is not rejected within the next couple of weeks, we’re probably looking at a two to three year appeal process,” said Thibault. “There’s not a whole lot of words I can use to describe the situation. It’s very unfortunate, deceiving and sad.”

The SESS group – comprising of Thibault, Stephen Cabana, Pascal Rhéaume and Benoît Goulet who also own and operate the Complexe Sportif Thibault GM in Sherbrooke – remain committed to seeing the Pincourt Sports Complex project through to completion despite the legal challenges.

For Thibault and his partners, their biggest disappointment is realizing that the Pincourt Sports Complex would have been completed on time and fully operational by September if they weren’t hampered with the injunction and lawsuit. The Burrows Group have been working to bring their own two-arena sports complex project to fruition in neighbouring Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot since February 2013, but have yet to announce a location and construction start-up date.

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