The MRC d’Argenteuil and Ville de Brownsburg-Chatham will receive an answer from the provincial and federal governments in the next few weeks, on the municipality’s plan to convert the Gilles Lupien Arena in Brownsburg into an outdoor ice rink.

Two studies carried out in recent years by firms specializing in infrastructure revealed the arena has reached the end of its useful life. The MRC d’Argenteuil has studied the possibility of building a new arena beside Polyvalente Lavigne and Laurentian Regional High School in Lachute. The high cost of estimates forced the MRC to abandon the project in 2019.

In February 2020, the Ville de Brownsburg-Chatham filed an application for a grant to convert the arena into a covered and refrigerated outdoor ice rink. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks by the governments of Québec and Canada.

The two municipal governments believe changing the structure of the facility would maintain its primary use for the town, while allowing it to be used year-round. Changes to the arena would also complement plans for the proposed adjacent Place du citoyen community complex.

In 1985, the existing arena was named in honour of former Montréal Canadiens and Toronto Toros defenceman Gilles Lupien, whose hometown is Brownsburg-Chatham. His name will be retained on the reconfigured rink.

If the project goes ahead, work will not start until the summer of 2023 – which would mean arena activities could continue as normal for the next two seasons. Specific plans for converting the arena into an outdoor rink have not yet started.