April 6... Let the Debate Begin!

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Here we go, sports fans!

Two articles on the morning that the groups present to council. I'm no expert, but I feel like the wind favours Lansdowne Live.

What’s at stake for taxpayers in stadium debate

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/What+stake+taxpayers+stadium+debate/1467611/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/What+stake ... story.html[/url]

By Patrick Dare, The Ottawa Citizen
April 5, 2009 11:16 PM

[i]Ottawa’s stadium debate is a little bit about sports and a lot about money and development.

The business groups behind the proposed redevelopment of Lansdowne Park and those pushing a soccer stadium in Kanata have each talked sports: the revival of the once mighty CFL football in Ottawa by the Lansdowne Live group; and the excitement in Eugene Melnyk’s Ottawa Senators group over building a stadium for a soccer, a sport that is popular among Ottawa’s youth.

But talk of football versus soccer doesn’t really answer the central question facing city council: Does either one of the projects serve the public interest?

The current stadium debate began in 2007 when interest in the development of Lansdowne Park by a partnership of businessmen surfaced.

Lansdowne, 40 acres in one of Ottawa’s best central neighbourhoods, has a football stadium that is falling apart, too much asphalt and a continuing need for about $2 million in annual subsidies from the city. But it’s also home to key trade shows, the much loved Ottawa 67’s, a thriving new farmers’ market and the city’s end-of-summer annual fair.

In January 2008, city council, led by councillors Clive Doucet and Peter Hume, decided to hold an international design competition to get expert, creative ideas about what could be done with Lansdowne.

Then, the Lansdowne Live group — businessmen John Ruddy, Roger Greenberg, Bill Shenkman and Jeff Hunt — announced that they had been awarded a conditional CFL franchise, at a cost of $7 million, if the tired football stadium is overhauled. And they offered the city a way to pull it off.

The Lansdowne Live proposal is to take over the park and use an infusion of public and private money to redevelop the place. The Live proposal is for the city to borrow money to refurbish the stadium and use the money the city is spending each year on Lansdowne now to service the loan instead. The new stadium would have 25,000 seats, luxury boxes and a restaurant.

The business group would take over management of the entire Lansdowne property.

The business plan includes a shopping centre of 250,000 square feet with underground parking. It would include restaurants, offices and a hotel on land that is leased from the city over 30 years. An aquarium in the Aberdeen Pavilion, featuring transparent tunnels visitors would walk through, is part of the concept. There is greenspace, an amphitheatre, soccer fields and ponds in the plan. At the end of 30 years, the buildings would be handed over to the city, which could sell or lease them, with the Live group given first right of refusal.

A strip of land along Holmwood Avenue would be sold for townhouse development, with the proceeds from the land sales taken by the city.

But the business group’s $120-million investment would only cover its shopping centre, the hotel and parking. The rest of the plan — the amphitheatre, the ponds, the playing fields and the aquarium — would have to be paid for by the city.

When the Lansdowne Live proposal landed, the city administration decided it merited serious consideration. City manager Kent Kirkpatrick stopped the international design competition with a memo, something for which he later apologized to councillors. Normally, managers do not reverse council decisions.

The city began studying the issue and commissioned a report on the state of Lansdowne Park.

Then Eugene Melnyk’s Senators Sports and Entertainment group proposed the soccer stadium at Kanata, beside Scotiabank Place.

The soccer stadium, to cost about $110 million, would be publicly financed, with one-third contributions from the federal, provincial and city governments, including land from the city. Part of the project would be the creation of several soccer practice fields for amateur players. The Senators group would contribute $10 million toward the city’s portion of the project and pay the city $9 million in rent over a long-term lease.

The stadium would be part of a much larger development on 30 hectares Melnyk owns beside his NHL arena. This would include up to 1.5 million square feet of offices, up to 500,000 square feet of retail and entertainment development, up to 450 residential units and two hotels. The idea is to create an “entertainment village? with a mix of activities day and night. The first phase would cost about $120 million, but the total development could reach $500 million.

To make a decision on this, city council must answer several questions.

Does the city need a large outdoor stadium?

Peter Hume, the city councillor who is chairman of the planning committee, says the answer is yes. He says any capital city like Ottawa needs a good stadium to hold major sporting and cultural events such as international soccer meets.

Other councillors are more skeptical about a stadium. Councillor Jan Harder says a new stadium has never been a priority of this city council but that the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park in some form is urgent. Councillor Gord Hunter says that, with the exception of hockey, Ottawans seem more interested in taking part in sports and watching their children in them than paying money to watch pro games.

A COMPAS Inc. poll commissioned by the Citizen last summer found lukewarm support for renovating Frank Clair Stadium at Lansdowne for football. But there was strong support for turning Lansdowne into an urban oasis showing off the Rideau Canal and featuring elements like the Ottawa Farmers’ Market.

City councillors are mindful that they have a state-of-the-art baseball stadium on Coventry Road that is 16 years old and empty, with the departure of the Can-Am league announced at the end of March.

Councillor Steve Desroches says it would be good to have a proper stadium, but he is concerned about “sticker shock? for taxpayers when the final costs are tallied.

“The reality is we’ve got a checkered history with our sports teams,? said Desroches. “We’ve got to be very cautious.?

If council is convinced of the merits of a stadium, which of the two stadium projects could the city support?

This is a difficult one to answer: City officials are increasingly convinced that either one would be big financial commitments for the city that would require help from the federal and provincial governments.

And some at city hall believe that neither proposal is a smart bet because the city’s big stadium should be somewhere else entirely. Councillor Michel Bellemare rules nothing out, but he says the logical place for a stadium is right downtown, where it will be served by public transit.

In fact, a report commissioned by the city concluded that the best place for a stadium would be the city’s own land at Bayview Yards, or at Carleton University. Lansdowne Park ranked sixth and the Senators’ Kanata site ranked seventh.

What happens If council chooses neither the Kanata soccer stadium nor Lansdowne Live?

Council could move to build a new stadium on a site of its own choosing. But one thing is certain: Council must do something about Lansdowne Park.

It’s a large, historic piece of public property in the heart of the city. Hume says the city has been derelict in its management of the place.

“We haven’t fixed the pipes. We haven’t done our job as a landlord,? says Hume. “It’s our own fault.?

He says that the Civic Centre, home of the 67’s, has become “a pretty dismal place? and “a tired, old facility.? It will have to be either renovated or rebuilt.

“It would be a travesty to allow the facility to degrade any further,? says Hume.

“The status quo is not acceptable. It will become a facility that no one will want to go to,? said Hume. “We have to do something.?

Which brings city council back to the competition for ideas that was originally proposed. The city could go back to square one by restarting the design competition for Lansdowne Park.

Clive Doucet, whose ward includes Lansdowne, says the place can be something to rival Vancouver’s Stanley Park or Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park.

“The first step is getting clear public support for a renaissance of the park,? he says.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

Mayor, councillors brace for stadium debate
$100M projects may simply be too costly for city

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/05/9017621.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 17621.html[/url]

By KENNETH JACKSON, Sun Media
Sun, April 5, 2009

[i]A much-anticipated city report on two rival proposals for a 20,000-seat open-air stadium is set to be released Monday afternoon and shows either would cost taxpayers roughly $100 million.

Because of the price tag, College Coun. Rick Chiarelli believes some of his colleagues will ask for both unsolicited proposals to be trashed, but he thinks the “best case scenario? is for both development teams to go back and come up with a better offer.

Chiarelli said Sunday that both teams presented their offers as if their benefits outweigh the costs.

“It was pretty obvious to us from the start that wasn’t the case,? he said. “I doubt they would ever lead with their final offer.?

One proposal, submitted by four local businessmen including Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt, calls for the renovation of Frank Clair Stadium for a CFL football franchise as part of a complete redevelopment of the deteriorating Lansdowne Park. The project, dubbed Lansdowne Live, is pegged at more than $90 million in taxpayer money.

The other, submitted by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, calls for a soccer-specific stadium near Scotiabank Place in Kanata in the hopes of landing a Major League Soccer franchise. It would cost taxpayers more than $110 million.

The city would need federal and provincial funding to build either of the proposals.

Mayor Larry O’Brien said at the end of the day something needs to be done with Lansdowne.

“Lansdowne needs fixing that is much is clear. That should be your title,? said O’Brien in a interview Sunday.

He said the home of the Ottawa 67’s, trade shows, a farmers’ market and the SuperEx draws a total of about 1.5 million visitors each year.

“It’s still serving an important duty for the citizens,? he said.

He said there’s no clear winner and believes his experience as a businessman can really come into play now.

He wants the city have all the facts to determine which proposal provides the most value and is most economically suited for the city.

Capital Coun. Clive Doucet believes neither proposal works for the city. He argued it’s well-known Scotiabank Place is in the wrong place, so why make the same mistake twice by putting another stadium there. The site should be treated as a heritage site not a place for a plan that includes a hotel and shopping mall, he said.

He compared both proposals as two similar bad pitches by suit salesmen that come to your door. One proposal may be better than the other but “do you really need a suit (and) do you really want the suit they’re giving you??

Hunt said today’s unveiling of the report is a “milestone? event because it’s the first time they’ll find out where staff sits on the matter.

He believes his proposal is best because it has the biggest advantage in location and a Kanata stadium doesn’t solve any issues with Lansdowne.

When asked what he thought staff might do Hunt declined to make a guess.

“It’s really going to come to which proposal makes more sense, which location makes more sense,? he said.

Melnyk’s team was not available for comment.

Lansdowne Live has the go-ahead from the CFL for a franchise on the condition it has a stadium. Melnyk doesn’t have the same guarantee from MLS.

Chiarelli said today’s meeting is not about which stadium to pick but about what to do with Lansdowne.

“We may or may not have a decision to make about a stadium,? he said.

A final decision is expected by April 22. [/i]

I should have linked it here, and I will later, but I found a pretty good interview with one of the men behind Lansdowne Live in which he explained that most of the aspects of their bid are negotiable. if the city doesn't want an aquarium, it can refuse it. If it doesn't want an amphitheater, it can forget about it. of course, the costs associated with building such things also go away.

If they can make it clear that the city controls how much they have to spend (aside from the stadium) then they should have a strong lead. Don't want to blow millions on an aquarium? Fine. Don't.

Should be interesting. I've always thought it was more what to do about Lansdowne than sports and stadiums per se, at least from the reading I've done. Problem is I think that is a very difficult question to answer for everyone involved because of so many factors. Almost a case damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Here is the article I was talking about earlier:

http://tinyurl.com/dyuufo

This sounds positive after reading this article CRF, flexibility may be the key issue in the long run to make it work. Obvious I suppose but nice to see the LL group not saying it has to be exactly like this or we're outta there.

This thing should start in about 10 minutes...I hope they sell the hell out of that flexibility. I may be able to listen to a portion of it so we'll see what comes out.

I hope Hunt shows some cosmopolitan flair. :roll:

The podcast is on now.

[url=http://www.ottawa.ca/online_services/committee_live/index_en.html]http://www.ottawa.ca/online_services/co ... ex_en.html[/url]

LL outscored BTWTO overall, so that's a nice start. :thup:

Nice, just got home, haven't listened to the podcast but sounds good!

CRF, you don't know anyone by the name of Jocelyne do you, female? Just curious.

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Oh, the subtitle of the Sun article was better than sex.

City favours Lansdowne stadium
Melnyk's Kanata proposal deemed 'below expectations'

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/06/9026691.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 26691.html[/url]

[i]Ottawa city staff's evaluation of two major stadium proposals favours Lansdowne Live over a rival bid by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

The Lansdowne Live proposal received 80 points compared to 70 points for the Senators Sports and Entertainment proposal.

The city deems Melnyk's business plan "below expectations."

The report says Senators Sports and Entertainment "was deemed not to have satisfied this criteria (business plan)."

It says that the revenues expected from their plan were too optimistic.

"Business plan revenues deemed to weigh in favour of proponent instead of the stadium as per industry norm," says the report.

The Business Plan counts for 20 points out of a possible 100 for the assessment.

This afternoon's joint corporate services and planning committee meeting tabled a staff report on the stadium proposals that says city council now has to decide if a new stadium is a priority over other infrastructure needs such as much-needed upgrades to the aging sewer system, a new transit network and roads.

There are unsolicited proposals for two sports stadiums in the city, one by a group of local developers including Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt and one from Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators.

Staff provided an evaluation of each proposal with associated costs for the different scenarios. Each carries a price tag in excess of $100 million.

If council decides a stadium is not a priority, they will have to decide what happens to Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre.

The results of an engineering report on the stability of Frank Clair stadium will also be released today.

The report is expected to conclude that major repairs are needed to the stadium and to the Civic Centre, which would mean sinking an additional $1 million to $2 million a year into the site over the next decade.

The report will also show the associated costs to renovate the city asset over the next 20 and 30 years.

City council is expected to decide which direction to move in by the end of the month.

Ottawasun.com will update this story as it develops. [/i]

Lansdowne proposal scores higher, but council must decide if we need a stadium at all, city report says

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Lansdowne+plan+better+city+must+decide+stadium+needed+Report/1469855/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Lan ... story.html[/url]

By Jake Rupert, The Ottawa Citizen
April 6, 2009 2:38 PM

[i]OTTAWA — Each private-sector proposal for developments including outdoor stadium would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and city council needs to decide whether such a sport facility is a priority at all when compared to other needs, a much-anticipated municipal staff report says.

The report, which gives an edge to a proposal to refurbish Frank Clair Stadium for football over a Kanata soccer stadium, was tabled with elected officials on a city committee Monday afternoon, and it lays out a road map for council to decide the issue in the coming weeks.

The report was commissioned by city council after the two groups of businessmen showed up unannounced at the city with their plans for large developments, one at Lansdowne Park, one near Scotiabank Place, and asked the city to pour millions into the ideas.

The report contains a detailed analysis of the proposals, but with millions on the line, it concludes the first thing council must do is decide whether it think a stadium is a priority when stacked up against other municipal needs.

With the city’s downtown sewer system dumping raw waste into the Ottawa River routinely, a bridge connecting Riverside South and Barrhaven still unfunded, transit projects ready to go but pricey, and many other pressing needs vying for the city’s dollars, stadiums for a Canadian Football League team and a possible professional soccer team will be a tough sell.

"I think this is going to be an important start to a very important debate," said Mayor Larry O'Brien.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk proposes a stadium near Scotiabank Place to host a pro soccer team he hopes to bring here, and an overall plan for many other mixed-use buildings.

A group of local developers, who have secured a conditional Canadian Football League franchise, want the city to fix up Frank Clair Stadium for their team and allow them to build a mixed-use development at Lansdowne Park for which they would pay the city long-term lease fees.

Over the next few weeks, the committee and then council are set to debate and vote on what should be done with these proposals, with a final decision due April 22.

Updates to come.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

Thanks dmont for these articles. Sounds good. Now I wonder if what is going on in Winnipeg has anything to do with this looking optimistically at the Lansdowne proposal? I don't know but what Winnipeg is showing without any Pan-Am Games or Olympics or anything tied to it is really friggin awesome in my mind. Maybe even a major turning point in CFL history. Huge. Not to take anytthing at all away from any community getting something done with Games involved not at all because in the end no matter what, it still takes a partnership of private and public funds to make this work.

'fraid not.

It sounds now like the top competition is the "do nothing" option.

I guess the city has the money to be able to lay low and not make a decision and wait to see what happens. :?

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Great column. City staff and councillors, please read!!!

Denley: Staff offer a study in failure

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Denley+Staff+offer+study+failure/1470741/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Denley+Sta ... story.html[/url]

By Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen
April 6, 2009 8:29 PM

[i]OTTAWA — Ottawa has the great good fortune to have two proposals for new stadiums and major-league sports franchises. Either would enhance the city, either would clarify the future of Lansdowne Park. Instead of helping councillors and the public decide which of these ideas is better, city staff have created a road map for failure. It’s a disgrace that’s likely to solidify Ottawa’s reputation as the can’t-do capital

City staff did say Monday that the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park scored higher than a competing proposal to build a Major League Soccer stadium near Scotiabank Place, but then went on to make both plans seem unaffordable and ill-advised. To reach that conclusion, staff relied on a stunning display of false comparisons, inflated figures and faulty thinking.

The Lansdowne football proponents say they can rebuild both Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre for $97 million. Developer Roger Greenberg, a partner in the Lansdowne group, says his team is willing to stick with that figure and absorb any cost overruns.

That assurance wasn’t good enough for city staff. They say the stadium reno could cost $125 million. Maybe so, but if the city can tie Greenberg’s group to a fixed figure, there is no risk for the public.

The actual cost to the city of the Lansdowne proposal would be just under $3 million a year. As Greenberg points out, the city would collect about that much in property taxes from the commercial development on the site. It is fair to say that the public would face some costs for adding a parking structure at Lansdowne and greening the site, but if we want to improve Lansdowne, we can’t expect to do it for nothing.

City manager Kent Kirkpatrick had councillors grabbing their worry beads with his repeated citing of $100-million-plus figures for a new stadium, but the proper way to look at the cost is the same way you’d look at a mortgage. It’s the affordability of the annual payments that matters. The worst-case scenario for stadium cost would eat up about one per cent of the city’s capital spending annually. Alternatively, the city could increase property taxes about 0.75 per cent one time to provide enough to cover the cost of the stadium over 30 years. That’s peanuts for the value offered.

City staff are also working on the premise that the entire stadium cost would be borne by Ottawa taxpayers. The alternative would be to seek federal and provincial money to cover two-thirds of the cost. The city can ask for that money, and get it, but it would mean choosing the stadium over some other needs. This is actually the kind of decision councillors make all the time, but to listen to Kirkpatrick and some councillors talk, putting a stadium at the head of the list would be some kind of catastrophe.

Kirkpatrick chose to compare the stadium plan to council’s beloved transit expansion. Dollars spent on a stadium will mean fewer dollars for transit, he warned. OK, but the stadium offers are an unexpected opportunity that requires a quick response and a relatively modest expenditure. The transit plan is a long-term deal that will cost up to $2.1 billion just for the first phase. The $65 million in federal and provincial money that could potentially be directed from transit to the stadium won’t make or break the transit plan.

Having done all they could to dissuade councillors from acting on either one of the real proposals in front of them, staff suggest that a good Plan B would be to spend more time and money developing new plans for Lansdowne and searching for alternative sites for a new stadium, a Junior A hockey rink and trade-show space. Not that the city would have the money to build any of these things or any tenant for the stadium, but there’s nothing that excites bureaucrats more than a good study.

Despite the impression that city staff were using the months they’ve spent studying these plans to recommend a winner, this report only goes as far as suggesting more study of the details of both plans, if councillors are willing to pay for a stadium. An actual final decision is nowhere in sight.

Councillors don’t have to follow this lame advice, of course, but the fact that it’s out there will make action more difficult.

It’s generally said at City Hall that the stadium decision is “a city-building exercise.? It should be, too, but if councillors follow their staff’s advice, they won’t be building a thing and the city will continue to piddle away an estimated $3.8 million a year to keep the Lansdowne buildings from falling apart.

The proponents of both the Lansdowne and Kanata development plans were dismayed at city staff’s negative approach to their proposals, and so they should be. Staff’s job is to help make good ideas work, not to imagine reasons why they might fail. The approach taken on this vital issue is not prudence, it’s rigor mortis.

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756 or by e-mail at rdenley@thecitizen.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

..................and the latest is.............typical City Hall decision, a decision will be put off. In other words the city councillors don't want to make a decision, this is too controversial and the simplest thing is to keep delaying. Seems like the CFL and MLS will not be coming to Ottawa.

What makes it difficult as well, is the fact that the Riders/Renegades folded up, after being un-acheivers for a long while! What happens if they rebuild the stadium, the Renegades re-emerge for a couple of seasons, then folds again? The CFL has not had a good ride in the nations capital, so putting good money over bad is a tough decision. Another question is, which has more citizen's support, soccer or football? Sure the CFL wants to see Ottawa back in, because they get more cash, but that;s it! What also is a problem, is the economy, which is in a tailspin right now.

The masses have spoken

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2009/04/11/4124132.htm

[April 11, 2009]

HL:Survey respondents strongly support new stadium in Ottawa:poll@

(Canadian Press DataFile Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) OTTAWA _ A new poll suggests most residents in Ottawa support the city contributing money to build new stadiums in the national capital.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey says 70 per cent of respondents indicated they would back one or both of the two stadium proposals.

The proposals _ one for Kanata and one for Lansdowne Park _ come from the majority owners of the capital's two hockey franchises.

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents indicated they would offer to help fund both the proposals.

Thirty-six per cent only picked one proposal they'd help, with the Lansdowne bid having slightly more traction than the Kanata one.

The telephone survey contacted 501 people between April 4 and April 7 and is considered accurate to plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

"There is broad support among Ottawa residents for building new stadiums in Ottawa, including the idea that the city would contribute financially," Jeff Walker, senior vice-president of Harris-Decima, said in a release. "Residents are almost equally supportive of the two stadium alternatives." Thirty-one per cent of those questioned said they would not back either proposal.

Eugene Melnyk would like a soccer stadium in suburban Kanata, where his Ottawa Senators play their National Hockey League games.

A bid for an expansion franchise for Ottawa in the Major Soccer League recently failed.

Jeff Hunt is the majority owner of junior hockey's Ottawa 67's and leads a group that has been promised a Canadian Football League franchise.

The 67's play at the Ottawa Civic Centre, built beneath the north stands at aging Frank Clair Stadium at Lansdowne Park, which hosted the city's previous CFL franchises.

The stadium's south stands were demolished after being found structurally unsafe, so money would have to be spent on bringing the building up-to-date, should the city favour the Lansdowne Park proposal.

(c) 2009 The Canadian Press

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Woohoo, here's something similar from the Ottawa Sun. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, city councillors!

Poll supports stadium
And the survey says ... residents prefer Lansdowne as site of new facility

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/11/9080671-sun.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 1-sun.html[/url]

By DAVE PIZER, SUN MEDIA
Sat, April 11, 2009

[i]Most Ottawans think the city should help pay for a new stadium.

Almost a third want the city to help pay for both proposals currently on the table, but if forced to choose one, Lansdowne has the edge.

That's according to a Canadian Press Harris/Decima poll provided exclusively to the Ottawa Sun. The poll asked respondents to imagine they were councillors and indicate if they would support funding the Lansdowne Park football stadium, the Kanata soccer stadium, both, or neither.

Twenty per cent said they would support Lansdowne, compared to 16% for the Kanata stadium. Nearly a third (29%) said the city should help fund both proposals, while 31% said the city shouldn't contribute to either project.

However, when asked to choose between the two stadium proposals, most selected Lansdowne (58%) over Kanata (32%). Seven per cent had no preference.

"Residents are almost equally supportive of the two stadium alternatives, and almost one-third think both should be funded, but if it were to come down to one project, more believe Lansdowne is the right choice for a new Ottawa stadium," said Jeff Walker, senior vice-president of Harris/Decima.

Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt and three other local businessmen are behind the proposal to renovate Frank Clair Stadium for a CFL franchise and redevelop the rest of Lansdowne Park to include a hotel, retail space and world-class aquarium.

CONCERT VENUE

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wants to build a 30,000-seat soccer stadium/outdoor concert venue on property near Scotiabank Place, as well as restaurants, condos, offices and a hotel.

When asked about the projects individually, 59% of respondents said they support the city investing in the Lansdowne Park proposal (33% are opposed), while 50% said they support the city helping to foot the bill for the Kanata proposal (42% are opposed).

The poll found about an equal number of Ottawans would likely attend CFL games at Lansdowne (32%) and MLS games in Kanata (31%) on a regular basis.

The poll is based on 501 telephone interviews between April 4 and 7, and is accurate to within 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

While a third of Ottawans say the city should help fund both stadiums, it remains uncertain if the city will help pay for either.

At a special committee meeting Monday, a report rated the Lansdowne proposal slightly higher than the Kanata proposal (Lansdowne scored 80% compared to 70% for Kanata) in a city staff evaluation.

Instead of endorsing a project, committee members decided the city must establish its priorities and find out if the federal and provincial governments have cash to contribute to a stadium -- money that isn't set aside for infrastructure projects like transit.

Neither business group was happy with the outcome of the meeting, but the rival bidders each had discussions with Mayor Larry O'Brien during the week and are expected to talk with him again this weekend. Council is expected to make a decision on April 22.

DAVE.PIZER@SUNMEDIA.CA [/i]

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Now I feel like I'm getting jerked around.

First, the bad news:

Commentary: Group of councillors pushing for third stadium option

http://www.orleansonline.ca/pages/N2009041101.htm

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online
(Updated 2:30 a.m., April 11)

[i]Coming out of this week’s joint corporate services and planning committee meeting it seemed to all the world that the Senators Sports and Entertainment Group proposal to build a 20,000 seat soccer stadium near Scotiabank Place was on the outs as the committee members appeared fixated on fixing Lansdowne Park.

After sitting through the staff presentation and listening to the comments offered up by the committee members, most observers, including myself, were already writing the soccer stadium proposal off. Conventional wisdom assumed that the decision had come down to two choices, either invest $100 million toward the Lansdowne Live proposal or reject the plan and redevelop Lansdowne Park with a new and improved Civic Centre.

But as it turns out a third option is in the works which would see the city redevelop Lansdowne Park with a new and improved Civic Centre and spend $20 million on the soccer stadium proposal.

The plan assumes that A) Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend $80 million of his own money to build the facility should the province and the federal government decline to make a contribution and B) the Sens owner is awarded a Major Soccer League franchise.

It’s a risky proposition to be sure, but it’s also a kick in the pants for sports fans in the far east end and CFL fans in general.

Residents in Orléans already have to drive across town in bumper to bumper traffic to see the Senators. Now some councillors want to spend millions of our hard earned tax dollars to build a stadium 99.9 per cent of us will likely never go to.

Those who support the Lansdowne Live project could at least make the argument that it will benefit the downtown core in an area that is readily accessible to residents living in the far east end. They could also defend the price tag by pointing out that it would only cost the average taxpayer about $15 a year.

Make no mistake about it, and God bless Eugene Melnyk, but sooner or later, as sure as God makes little green apples, the proposed soccer stadium will end up meeting the same fate as the now empty Lynx Stadium.

If the city is going to spend that kind of money on an outdoor stadium, it has to be built in a location that is equally accessible to everyone footing the bill and not just a small minority of people living west of Eagleson Road.[/i]

And now, the good news:

Councillor Wants Spotlight on Lansdowne Live Proposal

http://www.cfra.com/?cat=1&nid=64453

Josh Pringle with Stephanie Kinsella
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

[i]An Ottawa City Councillor wants the city to play ball with the Lansdowne Live proposal.

Rick Chiarelli is preparing a motion for City Council that will call on the city to sole source the transformation of Lansdowne Park and Frank Clair Stadium with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

Chiarelli tells CFRA News staff can work with the group to discuss a new business model, which will see a more reasonable return for taxpayers.

City Council is considering two unsolicited proposals for a new outdoor sports stadium in Ottawa, with both plans costing taxpayers $100-million dollars.

Chiarelli says his motion will direct staff to work with the Lansdowne Live group on a new cost sharing agreement.

The College Ward Councillor says his motion won't reject the plan from Senators Sports and Entertainment for a new soccer stadium in Kanata. But, Chiarelli says Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would need to assume more of a financial risk for the stadium, and depend less on taxpayer funding.[/i]