Big day for the CFL in Ottawa today (or maybe tomorrow)

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Lansdowne development opponents lose bid to defer vote
By Neco Cockburn, The Ottawa Citizen June 28, 2010 2:23 PM Comments (3)

Bay Councillor Alex Cullen's motion to defer the decision was one of the first dealt with by council on Monday as it debated the redevelopment plans for the Glebe land, and failed by a vote of 9-15.

Attention will now turn to about 50 other motions aimed at changing parts of the proposed project.

In arguing for his motion, Cullen said there at least 11 detailed implementation decisions that a new council would deal with, and it would be "more honest" to give the public an opportunity to judge the proposal "and properly instruct their elected representatives on how those decisions should be made."

Said Cullen: "It is important to allow the democratic process to have the final say on this through the election."

But Innes Councillor Rainer Bloess said "deferral is not an option," while Orléans Councillor Bob Monette said expensive work and time had gone into the agreement and it would be "irresponsible" to defer the decision.

The public will have many opportunities to have a say as the project goes on and evolves, Monette said.

"It is a concept and we have all the information," he said.

Capital Councillor Clive Doucet, an opponent of the plan, said he wouldn't vote in favour of deferral because "we can't solve these problems in the next two months." (When it came time to vote, Doucet did end up voting in favour of deferral).

Doucet, who stood to address council — councillors normally speak into microphones at their seats — said pushing the decision back to the next council would only "defer this mess into the next council."

Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes said deferral would give councillors and residents more opportunity to understand the proposed agreement.

Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson urged colleagues to continue to deal with the proposal, noting that the next council would have the ability to determine details of the project.

The morning began with a presentation from city staff regarding timelines for plans and approvals necessary for integrating the urban park, stadium and retail and residential development at the site. A master site plan setting out any refinements needed to integrate elements of the site would be to go before council no later than Nov. 24.

Councillors then moved into questions about a new site for trade-show space near the Ottawa airport (which will be needed if Lansdowne is redeveloped) and about the overall plan.

A group of people opposed to the proposed redevelopment gathered just before noon outside City Hall, listening to music and holding signs proclaiming "Say NO to sole sourcing. Let's get it right."

Will Murray of Friends of Lansdowne, one of the groups that organized the gathering, said a lot of people didn't want to speak to council during public delegations last week, but nevertheless think the redevelopment is a "bad deal" and council wasn't acting in the public interest.

Speakers at the protest called for Lansdowne to become an election issue, since even if council votes to proceed, a new council would have to deal with many of the steps needed to implement the project.

Capital Clive Doucet had told crowd members their prospects didn't look good, but he urged them to continue their vocal opposition to the plan.

"We're going to lose today, there's no question. ... The fight will not end today," he said.

The battle is about more than Lansdowne, Doucet said. "This is really about who's running the city."

Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes told the crowd the proposed redevelopment was "such a bad idea."

Councillors were expected to introduce several motions as they headed toward a final vote on the redevelopment plan, which is a partnership between the city and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group that includes refurbishment of Frank Clair Stadium and residential and retail development.

Some of the motions include:

— A motion from River Councillor Maria McRae to modify the winning front-lawn design of Lansdowne to keep Sylvia Holden Park, an adjacent community park, “as it is now.? McRae’s motion says 95 per cent of people surveyed at a public consultation held by the parks and recreation department said they want to keep the park separate from Lansdowne and “it would be a waste of tax dollars to undertake unnecessary and unwanted changes to this community park.?

— Christine Leadman wants to expand public space at Lansdowne Park by cutting some commercial properties from the proposed redevelopment. Leadman intends to present a motion calling for more than 60,000 square feet to be freed up in the plans by removing three buildings adjacent to the Horticulture Building and Aberdeen Pavilion, and limiting a courtyard area to temporary restaurant patio space that's "provided priority use for public utilization." A potential move of the Horticulture Building should undergo further heritage analysis, and programming should be developed for public space and heritage buildings at the site, the motion says. A vote was scheduled for Monday, but depending on the length of discussion, it could be delayed till later in the week.

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I see Clive continues to make a fool of himself.

Well he sees that the people in his constituency, on the whole, want him to fight so that's what he has to do by default.

Oh so this is just the little Big Day. The Really Big Day will come after a few more medium Bid Days, and will be followed, eventually and presumably sometime in the next decade, the Final Big Day. They won't need to defer the vote because it's going to take them until the next election to debate the 50(!) proposed motions. No later than Nov. 24? Which year? You'd swear these people are debating the end of the world. In the end, if this thing is ever approved and the council decides not to waste millions of dollars on dithering, they'll end up with a barely adequate half-new stadium for the fourth largest city in the country. seems Clive Doucet is equivalent to Hamilton's Sam Merulla, in that neither want new stadiums and both seem to want to have a hissy fit because they didn't get their way.

Politicians basically fall into two camps: Leaders and followers. Apparently Clive Doucet can't lead so he follows. If his constituents told him to jump in the river I'm sure he would if he thought it would get him elected. Instead of doing something monumental for Ottawa, and leading his voters, he would rather just play it safe and say no. This is not the mark of a quality politician.

Well yeah…he might lose his cushy job with all its benefits if he actually took a personal stand on something.

The big vote passed 15-9.

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