• John Jantak

Appeals court decision will determine Pincourt Sports Complex fate next year The on-again, off -agai


Pincourt residents will have to wait until next year to see whether the town’s long-awaited sports complex will finally become a reality depending on the outcome of a highly anticipated Quebec Court of Appeals case scheduled for 2015.

Even if the ruling is in favour of the Société d’Exploitation Sports Sherbrooke (SESS), the date of the court case which is still pending and the date of the judge’s eventual ruling, will determine whether the SESS will have enough time to complete the necessary construction and renovation work to have the arena operational by the start of the 2015-16 hockey season.

There was much anticipation that the sports complex would have been ready this September after SESS representatives held a press conference in mid-February to announce they had worked out a deal with the Town of Pincourt to purchase the boarded-up arena and surrounding land which has sat empty for more than 12 years.

Then, two weeks after construction began, representatives from the Burrows Group including NHL Vancouver Canucks hockey player Alexandre Burrows and local businessman Paul Roy who are planning to build a similar facility in Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, took legal action against the SESS and received a court injunction that halted construction at the Pincourt Sports Complex.

A Quebec Superior Court case was held in early June in which arguments from both sides were presented. After three days of testimony, Quebec Superior Court Justice Danille Mayrand ruled in favour of the SESS on June 10, stating that the arrangements made by the Town of Pincourt to sell the structure and surrounding land to the SESS complied with provincial regulations, as did arrangements for ice time rental between the SESS, the town and the Commission Scolaire des Trois-Lacs (CSTL).

The Burrows Group appealed the decision shortly after it was rendered arguing 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 SESS group – comprised of former NHL player Jocelyn 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 was 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, lawsuit and current appeal. The Burrows Group have been working to bring their own two-arena sports complex project to fruition since February 2013, but have yet to announce a location and construction start-up date.

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