Basketball courts

Plante promises more basketball courts, but no money for Montreal NBA team

The outgoing mayor announced Thursday that in the event of re-election, her administration would transform 15 vacant lots into sports fields.

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Valérie Plante announced Thursday that, if re-elected, Projet Montréal will spend $ 3.3 million over four years to transform 15 wasteland in the city into sports fields.

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The outgoing mayor spoke about her love for basketball during a press conference at Martin Luther King Park in Côte-des-Neiges. She was flanked by two other Project applicants who also professed their passion for the sport. They were Will Prosper, candidate for mayor of the borough of Montreal-Nord, and Gracia Kasoki Katahwa, candidate for mayor of Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

“We are here to talk about the importance of having different sports fields in our boroughs because it is such an incredible tool to bring communities together, to keep our young people busy, to get enthusiastic about sport, and it’s so good for your health and also your mental health, ”said Plante.

But Plante again said she was unwilling to spend the city’s money to bring an NBA franchise to Montreal.

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“I’ve always been in favor of bringing basketball to a professional level in Montreal,” said Plante. “The difference… is that the City of Montreal will never be a promoter of any sport, be it baseball, basketball, whatever. This is the difference with us. The good thing about basketball is that we don’t need to build a stadium because we have the Bell Center that could definitely be used. We can use the existing infrastructure.

“I’m all about the environment and recycling, so I like it. Let’s make the most of a large infrastructure. I will repeat it. I am definitely for basketball. I have said it many times… but I will not be the promoter. Montreal must put the money elsewhere.

In August, mayoral candidate Balarama Holness said if elected he would make it a priority to try to attract an NBA franchise to the city rather than focusing on bringing in a team of major league baseball. On Thursday, Holness said his Movement Montreal party was the first party that has committed to focusing on selecting an NBA team for Montreal. He said they would not use public money to fund the team.

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“I would love to have both baseball and basketball, but right now basketball is more viable given that we have the Bell Center,” said Holness. “I therefore applaud the mayor for having supported a policy of the Montreal Movement, which is to bring an NBA team here. “

Wayne Yearwood, head coach of the Dawson College men’s basketball team, attended the press conference and said he was disappointed that Plante did not take a stronger stance in favor of the visit. of an NBA team here.

“The NBA is a huge monster and we would be privileged to have an NBA franchise in our city,” Yearwood said. “I think we could handle it. I think we have the infrastructure. I think we already have the facilities in place. We just need to have people who are for it and I think we have people and I think we need some big hitters to come forward, like they did with baseball.

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“Basketball is a much more viable alternative for our city, but you have to commit funds to (get a team)… The (incumbent) mayor had the opportunity to join the NBA. She could have just said “yes, I am for the NBA here and we will do everything we can to promote her here.” But she chose not to promote the NBA here.

Holness also noted that he proposed earlier this week a $ 1 billion project to create new sports infrastructure in Montreal, which will be jointly funded with the provincial and federal governments.

“You need a billion dollar investment in sports, recreation and recreation infrastructure,” Holness said. “You need a massive investment. Talking about $ 3 million for sports infrastructure is a joke. It’s not serious.

The vacant lots that Plante intends to transform in the event of re-election would be used for basketball, but also potentially for soccer and street hockey.

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