Goal of bringing Expos back to Montreal is still on track, Mitch Garber says

Outgoing mayor Denis Coderre was big on baseball — so with Valerie Plante taking over the mayor's chair on Thursday, is a new stadium and team going onto the backburner? 

Well-known Montreal businessman Mitch Garber says while bringing a baseball team back to Montreal isn't high on Plante's priority list as it was on Coderre's, it can still happen under the right conditions.

"If baseball is available to come to Montreal, meaning by expansion or by franchise relocation, and if the ownership group remains strong and dedicated to bringing baseball to Montreal, I think somebody like Valerie Plante would look favorably."

During the election campaign, Plante said she wasn't opposed to the return of a major league baseball team to Montreal, but insisted Montrealers would have to be consulted before committing any tax money to a new team.

Meanwhile, Garber, like many Montrealers, isn't looking favorably on news last week that the Quebec government was preparing to spend another $250 million on a new roof for Olympic Stadium, the Expos' old home which is now hopelessly out of date by major league standards.

"It's not only going to cost just the $250 million," he says. "It would be very shocking to me if this is the last $250 million. In 10 years, in 20, in 30, will we get to the point where we put $3 billion into the stadium? And we can really look back and say, 'we could have demolished it in 1998, or 2008, or 2018, and built something else, and benefited from it.'"

He also points out that just about every other major city in North America has managed to build a brand new major league-caliber stadium in the last two decades — many with public financing.