April 20th: Excitement to Worry

Started today with excitement, the best news we've recieved to date. That council has enough votes to gt this thing done. fantastic, right?

Now this. Does this change anything? I fear so:

OTTAWA — Neither the Lansdowne Live nor the Kanata soccer stadium proposal would qualify for government stimulus spending and both would have to compete with the city’s rapid-transit network for funding under the federal governments’ regular infrastructure program, the municipality’s top manager says.

City management Kent Kirkpatrick’s comments kicked off a the latest chapter in the city’s great stadium debate, which is getting under way at city hall Monday morning with presentations from the two groups pitching unsolicited development proposals for city lands, Lansdowne Park and a piece of property near Scotiabank Place.

The presentations are to be followed by public comments on the proposals. Forty-five people have signed up to let elected officials on a joint planning-economic development committee know what they feel the city should do.

Kirkpatrick said the federal government has made it clear there is no special pot of money under any of its programs for stadiums, and that he expects the provincial government will give the city a similar response in a letter by the end of the day.

The list of speakers ready to address council members includes several sports enthusiasts from the world of soccer, who support a proposal from Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melynk for a soccer stadium near his National Hockey League rink, which would complement plans for a mixed-use land development project in the area he has.

There are also many football supporters scheduled to speak. They support a proposal for the city to repair the crumbling Frank Clair Stadium for a conditional Canadian Football League franchise awarded to a group of Ottawa developers. They propose a mixed-use development at Lansdowne Park.

A city report on the two plans says that going with either could cost taxpayers a lot — $150 million over 30 years, including borrowing costs for just a stadium, and up to $300 million over the same period if extras aimed at public use are added.

The report said with repairs at Lansdowne, the Civic Centre and stadium can last another 28 years. A new rink-stadium complex would cost about $185 million and last 70 years, the report said.

The cost to taxpayers are higher than expected and gave sticker shock to some city council members, who must now decide what to do during a series of meetings next week.

The report said, in light of the numbers, city council should decide first whether such a sports facility is even a priority when compared to other pressing needs, given the city's continuing financial crunch.

This didn’t sit well with the proponents, and it’s sent many on council, including Mayor Larry O’Brien, to float several alternatives. These include scraping Frank Clair Stadium altogether and improving the park in others ways, combining the proposals, and rejecting both and looking for another place to build a stadium near the city’s planned rapid-transit network.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

I don’t necessarily think it is a deal breaker, just more ammo for Clive and his pack of !diots.

I don't think so either. They were hoping to find funds from OUTSIDE the recent amounts being offered to repair infrastructure and such, but there weren't expecting to. So while it would have made it far easier, that it isn't there doesn't make it harder.

CRF, have you heard any news from city hall today with respect to the presentation?

I didn't see any part of the presentations themselves. I'm hoping they're archived on ottawa.ca at some point.

I had the misfortune of tuning in later in the day when the various Glebe group members would belly-ache about how LL would impact their lives. Then Doucet always fed them softball questions to either allow them to reiterate their please for mercy, or allow himself to suggest that a design competition is the way to go.

I doubt a whole lot was won or lost there today. I think council has heard a lot of this stuff before.

Someone who listened to more of it than I could (he apparently has a strong stomach) said that Mark Kosmos and Jock Climie spoke. It also seems as though Mark Cohon was in attendance though I don't know if he spoke or was just there as a spectator.

Geez, I guess he spoke:

COHON TO CITY COUNCIL: TODAY’S CFL IS RIGHT FOR OTTAWA Canadian Football League Commissioner says strong ownership plus modern facility equal a successful franchise

Ottawa, ON – (April 20, 2009) – Led by committed owners and governors and fuelled by strong attendance and television ratings, today’s Canadian Football League (CFL) is right for Ottawa, Commissioner Mark Cohon told city council here today.

“The fact is the CFL is as strong as it has ever been, right now,? Cohon said.

Urging councilors to approve a stadium proposal that would bring CFL football to the nation’s capital, Cohon pointed out:

• CFL attendance topped two million people last year, and averaged more than 28,000 fans per regular season game – matching the league’s high water mark in the early eighties.

• Television ratings in 2008 were up 7 per cent among adults, and 31 per cent among young adults, with an average of 393,000 Canadians watching each regular season game, and total viewership topping almost 30 million.

• The league continues its strong relationship with both local and national sponsors, such as Rona, Scotiabank and Tim Horton’s.

• The 2008 Grey Cup game in Montreal followed a week of sold out events, was played in front of 66,803 fans, the second largest live audience in the game’s century-old history, and was watched on television by 3.65 million Canadians on TSN and RDS, bringing Canadians together in both official languages.

Defying critics who claim the CFL can’t return successfully here, Cohon held up Montreal as an example of a city that once lost its team, but now boasts a flag ship CFL franchise.

“What has made the difference in Montreal? Ownership. And a fabulous game day experience in a centrally located, updated, open air stadium,? he said.

“I know these are the things that will make the difference in Ottawa, too. I said from day one: we would only come back here with the right owners in place. And I am enormously proud to stand here today with Roger Greenberg, Jeff Hunt, John Ruddy, and William Shenkman,? he said.

“This is an ownership dream team, with a track record of investment in Ottawa, a track record of community service to Ottawa, and a long term commitment to our league, that are all second to none.?

Last year, the CFL granted Greenberg, Hunt, Ruddy and Shenkman a CFL franchise for Ottawa on the condition that a suitable stadium be available for the team to play in.

The group is proposing Lansdowne Live, a bold and progressive redevelopment of Lansdowne Park near downtown Ottawa, including a refurbished Frank Clair Stadium.

The project would pave the way for Ottawa to host the Grey Cup on a regular basis, generating tens of millions of dollars in economic activity for the city, Cohon said.

“I read a lot about what a stadium could cost Ottawa. What about what it will do for Ottawa?? he said.

“There is nothing I want to do more than bring a fun, successful, revenue-generating Grey Cup back to this city.?

After the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto, a study by the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance estimated the event generated more than $80 million worth of economic activity throughout Ontario, with $52.9 million occurring in Toronto.

“My message to you today is delivered on behalf of our Board of Governors, our member clubs, and our millions of fans across Canada,? Cohon said.

“And it’s this: today’s Canadian Football League is right for Ottawa.?