Almost two-thirds of Ottawa residents support the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park, according to a poll commissioned by the Citizen.
Even in central Ottawa, where opposition to the proposed redevelopment has been most vocal, 51 per cent were slightly in favour of the deal -- "a dead heat," said Mike Colledge, president of public affairs for pollster Ipsos Reid.
While 63 per cent said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" support the project, the yeas had it in neighbourhoods right across the city.
A whopping 73 per cent in the east side support the deal, with 67-per-cent support in the west and 63 per cent in the south.
Although the overall city results are accurate to within plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, the margin of error in the local breakdowns is higher.
Indeed, Colledge said if the area sample were larger, he would expect "a lot of opposition in the Glebe," where Lansdowne in located.
Still, he said he found the level of favour for the deal somewhat surprising.
"I would have thought there would have been lower support in the east and the west because people think they're not going to benefit that much from it."
The Lansdowne project is a proposed partnership between the city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which hopes to bring a CFL team to Ottawa and pay for it with commercial and residential development on the site.
The plan calls for the refurbishment of Frank Clair Stadium and construction of a publicly funded urban park on the west side of the Rideau Canal.
It's a complicated deal, so it's not surprising that respondents gave a wide variety of reasons for liking it -- or not.
When asked an open-ended question about why they supported or opposed Lansdowne, more than one-quarter of those in favour said they think the plan would revitalize the Lansdowne area, while another 23 per cent believed it was a good deal.
It's interesting to note that only five per cent of supporters cited bringing a CFL team to Ottawa as their reason, although that was the initial
impetus for the process two years ago.
Those opposed were even more divided. About 12 per cent believe the plan is a bad financial deal for the city, and another 12 per cent think the traffic and transportation issues are too big of a challenge.
Another 11 per cent think the redevelopment will destroy local businesses, and
11 per cent don't trust the process.
About six per cent of those opposed have concerns about heritage issues, while four per cent believe design plans are poor.
When stating their reasons for or against, a significant number of respondents fall into the "other" category: 38 per cent for supporters and 35 per cent for opponents. That means that too few people gave a similar answer to qualify as a category.
"That says to me that there are a lot of reasons why people support or oppose the plan," Colledge said. "This is progress versus process.... Typically, progress trumps process. People want to see things done."
The date for doing something may be Monday, June 28.
That's the day when councillors are heading into what is promising to be a marathon debate -- and potential vote -- on whether to go ahead with the Lansdowne plan.
However, a significant minority of residents believe the proposal should be an election issue this fall.
A little more than half of respondents said they would like councillors to vote on the Lansdowne question on Monday, but 46 per cent said council should hold off until after the Oct. 25 municipal election before making a decision.
That means that even people who are in favour of the Lansdowne proposal also think it should be a campaign issue.
At least a couple of councillors believe putting off the vote is desirable, too.
On Friday, Bay Councillor Alex Cullen -- who is running for mayor -- announced that he plans to move a motion Monday to defer consideration of the Lansdowne plan until January, when a new council is in place.
However, just because a significant portion of residents want to see Lansdowne debated during an election does not mean people are undecided, Colledge said, pointing out that the supporters outnumber the opponents two-to-one.
Instead, he thinks that's just Ottawa.
"If there's any place in the country that's used to political process and wanting to hear what election folks have to say, it's Ottawa," said Colledge, who lives in the city.
This poll is the latest indication that council is moving toward a "yes" vote on Monday.
Councillors have not said or done anything -- at least publicly -- to indicate they will change their thinking from November, when they voted 15-9 in favour of moving forward on a Lansdowne deal with OSEG.
Christine Leadman, the councillor for Kitchissippi, plans to move a motion to remove 50,000 square feet of commercial space from the site designs. However, even if it passes, she won't vote for the deal for a number of reasons, she said.
"I am only working to try to make the plan better if it does get approved."
In fact, it appears that politicians, city staff, activists and OSEG partners are working to make the deal as palatable for as many parties as possible.
The Glebe Business Improvement Area, which has been critical of the proposal, suggested to council Friday that, if the city goes forward with the deal, it should build a parking garage on existing municipal land between Second and Third avenues.
The Glebe BIA also wants a shuttle service to kick in for any event with more than 12,000 spectators, instead of the proposed 25,000.
River Councillor Maria McRae convinced local activist Adrian Evans to work on a motion with her that would address the community's concerns about how the Lansdowne redevelopment would adversely affect their neighbourhood park.
On Friday afternoon, following an outcry from some councillors and Senators Sports and Entertainment, OSEG agreed to remove a clause that would have stopped the city from building another large stadium over the next 30 years.
Although opposition to Lansdowne has been fierce over the past few months, Colledge said supporters "don't need to rally the troops if it looks like it's going ahead."
Indeed, he said, it looks as if the project is supported by "a silent majority."
These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Citizen from June 22 to 24.
For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 500 adults living in Ottawa was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of Ottawa been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population.
These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's and age and sex composition reflects that of the actual Ottawa population according to Census data.
All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
The regions considered were:
Central Ottawa, which includes Kitchissippi, Rideau-Vanier, Capital and Somerset wards.
West Ottawa, which includes Bay, College, West Carleton-March, Kanata-South, Kanata North, Knoxdale Merivale, Stittsville-Kanata West.
East Ottawa, which includes Innes, Beacon Hill-Cyrville, Cumberland, Rideau-Rockliffe, Orléans.
South Ottawa, which includes Gloucester-South Nepean, Rideau-Goulbourn, Barrhaven, River, Osgoode, Alta Vista, Gloucester-Southgate.
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