So the result of four months of negotiations between the Lansdowne Live group and the City of Ottawa will be revealed to city council on wednesday, and hopefully to the public as well. Apparently it's significantly different from the one initially proposed. I figured we could use a new thread for keeping a record of relevant press releases as well as our own interpretation of them.
Here's the latest from the Ottawa Sun:
Mayor makes sale pitch for Lansdowne Park plan[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2009/08/31/10696126.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/20 ... 96126.html[/url]
By Shane Ross Sun Media
[i]Mayor Larry O’Brien has been meeting one-on-one with councillors to sell the new vision for Lansdowne Park, which will be presented to council Wednesday.
“I’ve had a few converts from the no side,? he said Monday.
Council voted 14-9 in April to allow Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group — comprised of local businessmen led by Roger Greenberg — to negotiate with the city on a plan for Lansdowne Park.
Tomorrow, council will debate the proposal and vote to send it to the next stage, which includes 30 days of public consultation.
“The original proposal was just a concept, and that idea has been fully fleshed out,? O’Brien said. “Now we have something to debate.?
As of Monday, a “tired? Greenberg was still putting the finishing touches on the design.
“There’s lots of drafting to do,? he said. “It’s a very specific and coherent plan. Let’s put it to the public and see what we get.?
Greenberg and O’Brien were reluctant to offer many details of the proposal, although O’Brien confirmed “the Farmer’s Market will have a 365-day home.? The market currently runs from May until November.
He also said trade and consumer space will be protected, as are all the other criteria set by council in April, such as no big-box stores, no housing, and enhanced green space. The city must approve all retail tenants.
O’Brien also said the city won’t need to ask the federal and provincial governments for help funding the $97-million cost of renovating Frank Clair Stadium for a conditional CFL franchise. It will pay for itself in 30 years through tax revenue and savings on the cost of maintaining the facility, he said.
“I believe the business transaction and site planning is the best possible plan available that is tax neutral for the citizens of Ottawa,? O’Brien said. “You can always have a better deal, but it would require significant amounts of public money.?
Capital Coun. Clive Doucet said he “has a whole list of questions? and motions to present tomorrow before voting to send the Lansdowne proposal to public consultation. He’s still frustrated city staff cancelled a design competition for the park in favour of the unsolicited proposal by OSEG.
“We have to have basic information before it can go to public consultation,? he said. “Staff killed the design competition based on a deadline in a letter of an offer from the CFL. That deadline is long gone. Clearly there was no deadline. And where is the letter? I’ve asked to see it a number of times but nobody seems to be able to produce it. I want to know why.
“The Glebe BIA has been asking for the Delcan study on traffic for months. Council didn’t put the library there because of lack of transit. How is it OK to put a stadium there when the demand for transit is even greater??
Doucet predicted it will be a long debate, and O’Brien said that’s the way it should be.
“This is an important issue,? O’Brien said. “If you look at the disaster that was LRT, it was because there wasn’t enough debate.
“So I’m hoping for lots of open discussion, lots of public participation so when we finally reach a decision, nobody can ever point a finger and say we covered things up.?[/i]
Lansdowne Live council's sole source of concern
By Susan Sherring, Sun Media
[i]The way Orleans Coun. Bob Monette sees it, the persistent debate over a sole-sourced bid for redeveloping Lansdowne Park is much ado about nothing.
“We’ve had discussions with more than one group. We’ve had votes. There was interest from (others), we opened up a discussion and we decided to go forward with this. I don’t believe it was sole sourced.
“We haven’t said to them that they’re the only one,? Monette said of the Lansdowne Live group, which hopes to bring pro football back to the city.
On Wednesday, council will have another look at the vision being developed by the business group in conjunction with city staff.
While council won’t be asked to give the final seal of approval on the plan in its totality, it will be asked for yet another green light to go to the next step of public consultation.
“We decided to go forward with this. We haven’t said you’re the only one,? Monette said.
It hasn’t been an easy process. In fact, by all accounts, it’s been excruciating.
Remember months ago, when the likes of the 67’s Jeff Hunt and Minto’s Roger Greenberg announced they’d secured a CFL team if they could find a stadium for the team to play at?
There were stars in their eyes.
The fearsome foursome, composed of Hunt, Greenberg, Bill Shenkman of Shenkman Corp. and Trinity’s John Ruddy, were convinced the road to the CFL’s return was a short jaunt.
It’s been anything but.
Working with the group has been city manager Kent Kirkpatrick, the staffer helping guide the project through the bureaucratic maze and on to council.
“They’ve learned a lot about how complicated the development of this kind of proposal is. Yes, it’s taken a lot of time and effort, but they’re very good partners. They’ve learned a lot and so have we,? Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick, who steers clear of engaging in political debates, says council received two unsolicited proposals for an open-air stadium.
And in the end, he said, council conducted public consultations, and decided to pursue the deal from Lansdowne Live.
“It has come through many tests and it’s had a very formal process,? he said, disputing it’s simply football vs. everything else.
“Council has said, ‘We believe an open-air sports facility is a priority and to that extent we’re now prepared to consider it in this location.’ There are many, many things, this isn’t just about a sports stadium,? Kirkpatrick said, adding the project has been a priority for his office for several months.
“I’m very excited about the proposal. And I believe the proposal will stand up very well,? he said.
There’s no doubt the foursome have been put through the wringer. Hard to understand why they’d bother to put up with it, except that it’s clear their motives are pure.
Lansdowne Park needs to be redeveloped.
If anyone can make that happen, this group — with support from Mayor Larry O’Brien’s office and Kirkpatrick — can make that happen.
It seems clear as well the original process could have been more open.
But this council has committed to working with the group, and it would be nice to see council’s commitment mean something.
Monette wants to make that happen.
“I don’t think you’ll ever satisfy Clive, he has his vision of what he’d like to see,? he said of Capital Coun. Clive Doucet’s last-minute attempts to a reopen the competition that was shelved when Lansdowne Live came along.
For the sake of the city’s reputation, let’s hope this time around what council says is what council means.[/i]