CFL 1, Melnyk 0


CFL in Ottawa supporters might want to light some scented candles and slide into a hot bubble bath, because this is quite a sexy read:

Majority wants city to revitalize Lansdowne

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By Doug Fischer
The Ottawa Citizen, February 14, 2009 12:01 AM

[i]Ottawa • Ottawans would be divided right down the middle if forced to choose between a professional soccer or football franchise for the city, according to a poll obtained by the Citizen on Friday.

But they are almost united in their opposition to the idea of a stadium in Kanata for either sport, the EKOS Research Associates survey says.

The poll, conducted Dec. 11-16 for the development group that wants to bring the Canadian Football League back to Ottawa, suggests there is broad support for both soccer and football.

Forty-four per cent of the 871 people surveyed said they supported a Major League Soccer team for Ottawa. Forty-three per cent preferred the idea of a CFL team. Thirteen per cent were unsure.

The poll also indicated that if the city is fortunate enough to be awarded franchises in both sports, most Ottawans think the two teams should share the stadium at Lansdowne Park. When asked their preferred location for a multi-purpose sports complex, 79 per cent named Lansdowne Park. Fifteen per cent chose Kanata.

The results are likely to complicate the growing rivalry between the two parties behind the bids to bring soccer and football to Ottawa.

Eugene Melnyk wants to build a $100-million soccer stadium in Kanata to support his efforts to secure a MLS expansion team by 2012 or 2013.

Mr. Melnyk, who owns the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, has made it clear he’s not interested in using Lansdowne Park for soccer.

On the other hand, the group that has already won a conditional CFL franchise says it would be willing to share Lansdowne Park with an MLS team.

However, Jeff Hunt, Bill Shenkman, Roger Greenberg and John Ruddy say their bid depends on city council approval of a $120-million redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. That centrepiece of their plan, dubbed Lansdowne Live, would include a renovated or rebuilt 25,000-seat Frank Clair Stadium as well as retail outlets, a hotel, townhouses and assorted sports fields.

Both projects require concessions from government. Mr. Melynk’s bid needs a piece of city land on which to build his stadium, as well as provincial and federal funding. The Lansdowne group wants the city to pay for the stadium, which would then be leased back for football.

Not surprisingly, the city’s method for deciding how to proceed promises to be drawn out and complicated.

Yesterday, city manager Kent Kirkpatrick outlined a two-stage process that will begin next Thursday with the release of a “needs analysis? evaluation of 23 possible stadium sites.

That will be followed by a study that will choose between the Lansdowne Live and Melynk proposals. That recommendation will then be debated at a special council meeting on March 25 and by the public on April 7. Council could make a final decision April 22.

The poll, meantime, suggests almost 80 per cent of Ottawans favour the Lansdowne Live plan, although Ekos president Frank Graves cautioned that some of that support is driven by cynicism sharpened by years of indecision over how to deal with Lansdowne’s deteriorating condition.

“A lot of people have trouble believing anything will ever get done to fix what they consider to be an embarrassment,? Mr. Graves said Friday. “They think we’ve packed our bags for a trip that will never happen.?

For instance, he noted, while 43 per cent of respondents believed there might be value in seeing other Lansdowne proposals, many of them nevertheless think it’s time to grab the offer on the table before it’s withdrawn.

Furthermore, he said, while 78 per cent of those polled said they favoured a redevelopment plan for Lansdowne that includes a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium, only 39 per cent actually believed it will happen.

Interestingly, it’s not the desire for a CFL franchise that is driving interest in fixing Lansdowne Park.

“What most people really like is the idea of taking this moribund — but important — part of the city and transforming it into something provides a variety of different things,? Mr. Graves said. “The CFL is definitely not the main thing.?

When asked to rate the value of various aspects of a plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park, 66 per cent of respondents said it was very important or essential that it include amateur sports facilities. By comparison, less than half of those polled said a CFL team and the Ottawa 67’s would be very important or essential components.

Overall, Mr. Graves said, the more features added to a Lansdowne redevelopment plan, the more support it attracts. And that could extend to putting a professional soccer franchise there as well, he said.

“The good news for Mr. Melnyk is that people like the idea of professional soccer for Ottawa,? Mr. Graves said. The bad news is they don’t want to traipse out to Kanata to see it.?

Mr. Graves conceded the poll is not perfect. It was conducted two months ago, before some of the recent public jockeying between the Melnyk and Lansdowne Live groups.

He also admitted the poll was released Friday to take advantage of the momentum created Thursday by CFL commissioner Mark Cohon’s public appeal to Ottawans to support the Lansdowne Live proposal. In fact, he said, there were no plans to release the poll until Mr. Cohon’s remarks.

“It was conducted originally to help inform our clients,? he said.

The poll is considered accurate to within 3.3 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times in 20.[/i]

I think a lot of those so called Ottawa citizens voting were from the GTA's "great" soccer following. Of course I plead guilty as well for backing the CFL in the poll. :wink:


I voted about ten times in one of the online polls. You know...just to see if it could be done. :wink: If I was going to discredit it, I needed to know what I was talking about. :oops:

This poll, however, is legitimate. It's not some online thing where anybody can participate.

I was pretty pleased with the results. :thup: It blows up Cyril Leeder's claim that people are "used to" the Kanata location :roll: and tells the city that people are tired of messing around with this.

Even support for a design competition is nice and weak since only "...43 per cent of respondents believed there might be value in seeing other Lansdowne proposals".

Great stuff. The CFL group has momentum again. It's a good way to start the day.

Here’s an editorial from the same paper in regards to the above results. I’ve trimmed out the parts we all already know.

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Lansdowne plan easily beats Melnyk's Kanata soccer dream / City councillors shouldn't need an opinion poll to help them choose between the Melnyk plan and the one backed by the development consortium.

The first point in favour of the Lansdowne plan is that it solves a problem for the city. The taxpayers are the owners of a crumbling football stadium with no team and a semi-useful collection of other buildings on a site that is dominated by asphalt. Despite all that, the public does make good use of Lansdowne, but the site is certainly not optimized. The football stadium in particular is a liability. Part of it has already been torn down. The main reason for keeping the north-side stands is that the Civic Centre is built under them. Do we really want half an unused football stadium on this fantastic site in the centre of the city?

The Lansdowne Live plan offers the city football, junior-A hockey and other entertainment uses in the centre of a city that could certainly use some livening up. It’s a good idea, but councillors will need to pay attention to the details of how much the city is expected to put into restoring the stadium and how much property-tax revenue it will get to cover those costs. These are critical numbers that have not yet been released.

The Melnyk soccer plan would come with five community soccer pitches, but the city could build these fields itself on the land it owns in Kanata, which is now a snow dump. It could build those fields for a lot less than the tens of millions of dollars it would be expected to contribute to Melnyk’s soccer stadium.

For Melnyk, there is an attraction in having his soccer stadium adjacent to his hockey rink. Other than shared parking, what is the real synergy for visitors? It’s not like you’re going to watch a soccer game, then wander over to catch the Sens game. In the Lansdowne plan, restaurants, bars and shops are a natural mix with the rink and stadium, and draw people to the site on days on which there is no game.

Anyone driving to Scotiabank Place from the east end has lots of time to reflect on the wisdom of putting a hockey rink on the suburban outskirts. Why would we double the problem by putting our outdoor stadium there too?

People point to the lack of parking at Lansdowne as a drawback. Actually, it’s good. Major attractions should be in the centre of the city and easily accessible by transit, bicycle or foot. The city will eventually extend the bus Transitway to Scotiabank Place, but that’s years off. With a soccer stadium also going there, it would increase pressure to extend the Transitway to the site when the city should be using its transit dollars to get rolling with light rail.

The prime value of the Melnyk proposal is that it gives something to compare the Lansdowne plan against. Before Melnyk jumped into the game, the developers’ Lansdowne plan was only being compared to imaginary and unaffordable schemes for the park.

The details will be important, but the broad picture is clear. The Lansdowne CFL proposal is superior to the Melnyk soccer plan. The public has already figured this out. Councillors are likely to follow.

Wait. Did you hear that sound? I couldn't tell if it was momentum shifting or Melnyk's bubble bursting. :wink:


One more nail in the Melnyk coffin. MLS commissioner Garber is not going to be waiting around while the city of ottawa debates the merits of 23 different stadium proposals. His little gamble at having Canadian taxpayers deliver him a brand new stadium and gifting him a 50% share in a long term operating lease has played out.

City sets eyes on 23 different stadium sites

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Sat, February 14, 2009

[i]City staff will present council a report on the "need for sports and entertainment facilities in Ottawa and on the evaluation of 23 stadium sites throughout the city" before analyzing the two proposals for an outdoor stadium, says city manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

In a memo sent to councillors yesterday, Kirkpatrick outlines a two-stage evaluation process.

In stage one, staff will present council a report on March 11 about the needs and possible locations of a stadium. The city commissioned the report in August and it was completed in December.

In October, Ottawa Sports & Entertainment proposed to refurbish Frank Clair Stadium as part of a redevelopment of Lansdowne Park.

Then in January, Senators Sports & Entertainment came forward with a stadium proposal in Kanata adjacent to Scotiabank Place.

In stage two, a staff report analysis of the two competing proposals from a land use and business plan perspective will be tabled at a council meeting on March 25. It will come with staff recommendations.

After a period of public consultation, council will consider the report on April 22.

OS&E has been granted a CFL franchise conditional upon securing a proper stadium.

SS&E, owned by Eugene Melnyk, is expected to be granted an MLS franchise if it can convince the city to build the stadium in Kanata.

Each proposal would provide an outdoor concert venue, which the city demands.[/i]

I do like the results of this survey, but isn't it more like...

Lansdowne 1, Kanata 0?

Exactly, this is more about Lansdowne and what the plan is for it and whether the city should support putting another sports facility out in Kanata. It's not just a football vs soccer thingy, much, much more than that.

To the people of Ottawa,
Is there really 23 sites in Ottawa that can support a stadium??? Where are they??

I really don't know you are all so worked up on this - Ottawa is not getting an MLS team.... Not in this round of expansion. Maybe 2013 and beyond.

alpha, most of us here aren’t concerned if Ottawa gets an MLS team or United League team or what have you for soccer. As long as this doesn’t negate in any way the chances of Ottawa getting a CFL team when there are owners in place with a plan, like now. That’s all. Soccer is a great game even if I don’t follow it personally.

I can't imagine anywhere hear that many. I don't know where that number comes from.

People in the neighborhood that Frank Clair Stadium sits in would love nothing more than to encourage a stadium that size being built in Kanata (or anywhere NOT in their neighborhood) regardless of when a team is awarded.

Garber’s comment about how Ottawa is all but guaranteed an MLS team if they get a stadium is good enough for them to encourage city council to vote against Lansdowne Live and scuttle that whole thing. And they would have the soccer-loving crowd on their side as well (or at least those who could care less about football).

I see Montreal has sold some 42,000 tickets at the Big O for a CONCAF (sp?) soccer tourament. I guess someone should tell Mr. Melnyk and Mr. Garber that people will spend money to go to a soccer game in a football or to be more precise, track and field, stadium.

People that purchase there and then raise a stink later (and I doubt that many residents pre-date the stadium) should be discounted anyhow. How about when you buy the house you look around and notice the large cement structure within walking distance. Just deal with it when it gets used 10 times a year.

Same thing in Calgary with the people complaining about noise from McMahon, did you not notice the stadium when you bought and how can you hear much from the stadium over the noise of Crowchild Trail!!!

Some claim to. I met one in particular at the first consultation meeting who threw it out first opportunity he got, I guess anticipating that we'd discount his opinion otherwise.

I find it hard to believe, but in fairness to him, he did look old enough to have changed Jesus' diaper.

I heard that Montreal has now sold 55,000 tickets for the CONCACAF Soccer tourney in a multi use facilty like the Big O. Take note Mr. Garber and Mr. Melnyk.

Things to note about this CONCACAF game coming up in Montreal:

It's the quarterfinal of the CONCACAF Champion's league (ie the club championship of North America). It pales in comparison to the UEFA Champ's League, but it's the best we've got over here.

Montreal is taking on a team from Mexico, after having already won the Canadian championship (partly by beating Toronto FC of the MLS) and finishing 2nd in a group of teams from Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Honduras. This also means that probably a large part of the crowd is going to be pro-Mexican.

The Impact regularly sell out their 13,000 seat stadium (which is now right beside the Big Owe).

Tickets start at $10, and it looks like you can get great seats for $30, and pretty decent seats for $20 ( ... anguage=EN). By comparison, the same seats went for $274 and $240 for the Grey Cup. The $10 seats went for $174.

So, this soccer game in Montreal is a one-off, a special event. I wouldn't say that it indicates any extra interest in soccer (especially in Ottawa). Soccer is a great game, but a lot of this new interest in it comes from MLS hype. Combine that with the fact that a large portion of Toronto is made up of people originally from soccer-obsessed countries, and you can see why Toronto FC is so strong. I'm sure most Canadians still (inexplicably) find soccer boring. So I don't know how many would be willing to trek out to Kanata to watch it. Lacrosse was supposed to be a sure thing, especially considering the success in Toronto ... but what happened to the Ottawa Rebel (no 'S'??) that played out of Scotiabank?

And I think it's BS that Ottawa has to choose between soccer OR football. I cannot for the life of me understand why a soccer-only stadium on the outskirts of town is even being considered as an option over a central, multi-use stadium AND urban area. But sadly, I know that logic doesn't always make it through. :frowning:

Excellent info CanucK. For those prices, I'd probably be going also and I don't even follow soccer!

MLS is so minor league I cant imagine anyone wanting to watch it.
Canada and soccer just dont mix (can anyone on this forum even name 2 starting players for Canada even?)