New Quebec City arena facing expensive land-decontamination costs

QUEBEC – There isn’t a shovel in the ground yet and already it’s going to cost as much as $40 million to decontaminate the proposed site of Quebec City’s new arena.

Quebec Treasury Board president Michelle Courchesne says she’s confident the amphitheatre’s final cost will come in at the budgeted $400 million.

An in-depth study of the proposed site, near the Pepsi Colisee, reveals the land has high levels of lead, tin, zinc, oil and carcinogens.

She says the government is still committed to its $200-million investment.

Sam Hamad, the minister in charge of the provincial capital region, says there no plans ”at the moment” to invest more.

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The city has been caught in an embarrassing situation this week with news of the decontamination costs.

Quebec City executive committee vice-president Francois Picard says officials were aware the site would need to be cleaned, but were unaware of the costs involved.

Picard says they are looking at alternate sites nearby to build the rink.

The $400-million price tag was based on a preliminary study that has a 75 per cent margin of error.