Viewpoint : May 2017

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve: Vélo Québec’s Demands

It seems quite ironic, in the middle of Bike Month, that the cycling community would be obliged to mobilize in order to highlight the importance of maintaining access to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, a unique training and fitness venue in the Greater Montréal area. On April 21, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau announced that the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve would be off-limits to cyclists during the summer of 2017 and possibly a good part of the summer of 2018. This sparked an immediate outcry from all users of the site. Vélo Québec and many other organizations have voiced their displeasure.
On May 4, we participated in a meeting organized by the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD), which also featured representatives from the Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes, Triathlon Québec, Parasport Québec, Le Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie and City of Montréal, as well as Vincent Courcy, instigator of the Facebook group Unis contre la fermeture du circuit.
This meeting led to heated exchanges and after the SPJD acknowledged that the issue had been handled poorly, it made a commitment to set up a permanent advisory committee consisting of representatives from all the organizations present. This committee will be in charge of finding solutions for making all or part of the circuit accessible to cyclists this summer. Vélo Québec hopes that the SPJD will be ready to show more openness and reconsider some of the parameters it currently takes for granted.
Vélo Québec’s demands are simple:
  • Make the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve accessible to cyclists intermittently after the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
  • Once this work is completed, consolidate the status of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as a training site for cyclists.
  • Take advantage of this work to make the link between the South Shore and Montréal permanent. This link closes every year for about 10 days during the Grand Prix. The construction of an overpass near the circuit would prevent cyclists from riding on it.

We feel that with the upcoming work to maintain and upgrade the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, its vocation as a training venue for cyclists should be consolidated. This would be an excellent way of giving back to the cycling community and sending the message that biking is truly part of Montréal’s DNA!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO