Ottawa CFL ALIVE!!!: Citizen

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Well shut my mouth about what I said yesterday, about the Ottawa Citizen trying to kill Lansdowne Live. This morning, they've done a complete about-face, and in grand fashion. It appears the mayor is now fully on board with Lansdowne Live, although it's the same reporter that sent me reeling earlier in the week with claims that Melnyk had won. Let's hope he checked his facts this time. I'm probably going to have to see a therapist to deal with all the beating my emotions have taken over the course of this week.

Lansdowne's time is now
City-building can be a technical and sometimes tedious endeavour.

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Business/Lansdowne+time/1508825/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Business/L ... story.html[/url]

The Ottawa Citizen
April 18, 2009 4:02 AM

[i]Debates involving terms like "infrastructure" and "density targets", while fun for the experts, are not always going to engage the public.

But every so often an issue becomes so clear that even the non-expert will instantly grasp the problem and recognize the solution. The inexcusable neglect of Lansdowne Park, and the urgency of its revitalization, is one of them. You don't need to be an urban theorist to see that a mostly abandoned sea of asphalt in the city centre is both an aesthetic crime and a planning one.

One year ago a group of Ottawa's most successful businessmen stepped forward with a proposal to resurrect Lansdowne, a proposal that would not only save Lansdowne from becoming a major public safety concern -- the place is truly falling apart -- but would transform the entire city in precisely the ways urban planners demand.

A resurrected Lansdowne would have more people living, working and playing in the urban core. The site would be a model of "smart growth" -- walkable spaces, recreational facilities, mixed-use development (retail, office, residential).

The national capital region has long been crippled by expensive, inefficient sprawl. But if you want a symbol of Ottawa's sprawl, don't just look at McMansions in the 'burbs. Look at today's Lansdowne Park, and consider the message it has been sending all these years. This crumbling, under-used expanse of real estate along the Rideau Canal diminishes the value of city living.

The Lansdowne Live team, as the developers call themselves, have a plan that would bring people into the city rather than drive them out. Yet the forces of inertia, and defenders of the status quo, seem determined to prevent this from happening. The Lansdowne Live developers are, understandably, increasingly frustrated, and they will not wait around forever for city officials to overcome their usual paralysis and embrace a new vision.

It can't be easy being an entrepreneur in a government town. The civic culture in Ottawa is conservative and hyper-cautious. Because so many of us are public sector workers, who by temperament are more preoccupied with process than product, we can be suspicious of businesspeople who not only have big ideas but actually want to implement them. The fact that the Lansdowne developers stand to profit in the long term from a reborn park is almost considered a strike against them.

Taxpayers of course have a right to insist that financial partnerships with the private sector are transparent and in the interest of the city. Indeed the exact numbers regarding Lansdowne Live have been the subject of a healthy debate. Currently the city is spending -- or, more accurately, wasting -- millions of dollars per year just to maintain the sinkhole at Lansdowne. Will that same expenditure cover a mortgage to restore the stadium, which is what the Lansdowne Live team is asking the city to do? If not, how much more will it cost taxpayers to get the stadium up and running, so that the developers can do the rest?

While these are legitimate questions, it's unproductive to challenge the bona fides or good faith of the Lansdowne Live crew. [b]The group has deep roots in Ottawa, going back generations, and their desire to fix the monstrosity that is today's Lansdowne Park is just the latest expression of community leadership.

The city should embrace their efforts, not obstruct them.[/b]

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

A stadium fit for

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/stadium/1508968/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/sta ... story.html[/url]

By Richard Starnes, The Ottawa Citizen
April 18, 2009 4:04 AM

[i]everyone

Roger Greenberg says it all started with four guys wanting to bring the CFL back to Ottawa.

It's clear Greenberg, Jeff Hunt, Bill Shenkman and John Ruddy could envisage the thrill of crowds streaming across Bank Street Bridge again to fill the city's venerable Frank Clair Stadium.

Back then, Greenberg said Friday, they had no idea how crumbly the stadium was.

But, as they plowed along, they took such challenges in stride, building a development strategy that could work for themselves and for their city: Lansdowne Live.

Eugene Melnyk then stepped out of the blue with a proposal for a soccer specific stadium adjacent to his Scotiabank Place. To area soccer fans, it was an exciting, ambitious plan to bring Major League Soccer to the city.

Right then, from a public perspective, it become a sporting battle as much as a stadium decision.

The CFL is as Canadian as the maple leaf and its historic association with Ottawa remains powerful -- even if it has come and gone twice before. Jeff Hunt has made a remarkable success out of his '67s junior hockey club and they are convinced they can bring back the fans.

Soccer's grassroots have a massive hold in the region, with 60,000 active players. Melnyk's Senators Sports and Entertainment organization has proved itself one of hockey's most successful clubs.

Both groups know how to run a sports franchise.

But Greenberg is adamant that sports are only a small part of the discussion.

"This is not a soccer versus football debate," he said. "It's about an open air stadium and its location."

He is almost certainly right, but Ottawa's sports fans are too rabid to let it be. CFL devotees want their beloved game back. Soccer fans salivate over the prospect of the best professional soccer North America has to offer coming to town.

That's why there has been so much speculation over this city's professional sporting future. It's hard not to get excited about the prospect of three major professional franchises in a city our size. It would be something about which to be justifiably proud.

Greensberg's Lansdowne Live band know exactly which tunes they want to play and they are eager to set the record straight on the sports side of the debate.

First, let's talk about the provisional CFL franchise the group has been granted. It has been suggested that Eugene Melnyk might want to take it over should his stadium be the one council decides to support.

Not only is the man almost certainly not interested, but Lansdowne Live couldn't pass it on to anyone, even if it wanted to.

"This has been award to us. We either go forward or we don't," Greenberg said. "It doesn't have an assignability clause.

"If we drop it and Mr. Melnyk wants to apply to the CFL, I'm sure they would be happy to consider him, or somebody else."

The franchise is CFL property and, should Lansdowne Live withdraw, it is up to the CFL to decide on any other prospective customers.

If council opts to go for a renovated Frank Clair Stadium, Greenberg has a surprising answer on the football or soccer debate.

"We are prepared to make it a soccer-first stadium," he said.

Now, before all you soccer fans start to cheer, he does not mean Lansdowne Live will be seeking any pro franchise -- be it MLS or USL (the United Soccer League in which Montreal and Vancouver play).

The group has asked the CFL if turf that is acceptable to MLS would be acceptable to the CFL. The answer? Yes.

They have also asked CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon if it would be acceptable to grant an MLS franchise the first kick at game dates. That's up to you if that's what you want to do, was the answer.

"So that makes this a soccer-first stadium," Greenberg said. "We can say publicly we are prepared to grant that to an MLS soccer franchise.

"The short answer is we would do everything we can to encourage a third party to come and play soccer at Frank Clair Stadium."

But that will not be the Lansdowne Live guys. "The work we would already have is massive," he said. "Do you remember the movie A Bridge Too Far? Trying too much is a recipe for disaster.

"We will pursue someone as a tenant. We have not made any application to anyone. If somebody got a USL franchise and there was no MLS in the city and they wanted to come and talk to us as managers of Frank Clair, of course we would listen to them."

So now we have that clear. We may know a little more after Monday, when the public -- and the two stadium proponents -- air their views. Then it's on to Wednesday's full council meeting and the prospect of a decision.

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

Melnyk punts plan for dual-sport stadium
Mayor now putting full support behind developers' proposal to rebuild Frank Clair

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Melnyk+punts+plan+dual+sport+stadium/1508773/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Mel ... story.html[/url]

By Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen
April 18, 2009 4:02 AM

[i]The idea of a dual-purpose football and soccer stadium in Kanata is dead. Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk won't agree to a deal that would have offered two professional sports teams at Melnyk's proposed stadium, Mayor Larry O'Brien said Friday.

"There was a lot of hard work done by a lot of people to try to find a compromise that included a dual-function stadium, but unfortunately, we were not able to reach an agreement," O'Brien said.

The failure of the compromise "wasn't anyone's fault," the mayor said. Melnyk said the two-sport proposal strayed too far from his original business plan for a soccer franchise.

The mayor lobbied hard for a week for a plan that would have rebuilt the Civic Centre as the key element of Lansdowne Park, eliminated Frank Clair Stadium and put both pro sports in Kanata. With that off the table, O'Brien says he's putting his full support behind a group of local developers' original plan to rebuild Frank Clair as the home for a CFL team.

Melnyk's group will still make a pitch for its soccer proposal at a city committee Monday, but councillors have expressed limited interest in the plan and city staff rated it as less attractive than the Lansdowne Live proposal put forward by Minto Group CEO Roger Greenberg and his partners.

With Melnyk refusing to accept the compromise that could have made his soccer plan a reality, councillors' focus will now be on fixing Lansdowne Park.

There is council and public support for accepting half the compromise plan that would have created a new stadium for pro sports in Kanata. That would involve tearing down the stadium and rebuilding the Civic Centre with the money the city would have spent anyway maintaining the site's aging buildings. This plan would also add consumer show space, green space, restaurants and shops. That would be an improvement on what we have today, but is half the compromise deal better than the original plan put forward by the Lansdowne Live group?

The mayor's idea that the Civic Centre could be rejuvenated for $25 million is a bit optimistic. The figure he cites is too much for a renovation, but not enough for a new building. A new Civic Centre and expanded consumer show space would cost roughly $100 million, by the time demolition of the stadium and existing Civic Centre are taken into account.

For the same expenditure, the Lansdowne Live group says it can give us a rebuilt stadium and Civic Centre. City staff and their consultants have put that cost at $125 million, but Greenberg says that's based on the assumption that public sector projects inflate in price. He's confident his group can control costs. If councillors are concerned, it won't be difficult to get an agreement that puts a fixed cost on the project.

Both versions of the Lansdowne plan offer the public considerable value at a similar cost. Councillors were shocked when they heard the price, but they can use the money the city is spending maintaining the old buildings and the new property tax dollars from commercial development to pay for either plan. That would be a much wiser investment of public dollars.

The big difference between the two alternatives is obviously the stadium. If Ottawa chooses not to have one, it will eliminate our ability to stage any major sporting event or big outdoor concert. That would make us unique among major Canadian cities, but not in a good way.

Councillors could keep pondering the possibility of building a stadium years from now on some arguably better site, but nothing will come of it.

They have a credible local group that's willing to rebuild Lansdowne Park, add football and manage the site, all for minimal incremental cost to the city. It's not a deal that we're likely to see twice and it still leaves open the possibility for an international design competition to maximize the part of the site closest to the canal.

Next week's decision on Lansdowne Park is one of the most important that city councillors will make. They can determine the future of what is arguably the city's most significant public property and the changes they are contemplating will determine its use for decades to come. Unfortunately, we are never going to get consensus on Lansdowne. There are simply too many variations on what could be done.

The Lansdowne Live plan is not perfect, but it will make Lansdowne far better than it is today without a great cost to the public and there is plenty of flexibility to make the idea even better. On balance, it's the best offer the city has and the best it's likely to get.

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756 or by e-mail,

rdenley@thecitizen.canwest.com

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

I don't know whether to shake my head at Melnyk's stupidity, or praise him for his honesty. Had he been open to housing the CFL from day one, he would be on such firmer ground, even if he never really intended to act on it.

Part of me wonders too if his real intention wasn't just to get in Hunt's way and never really see this plan come to fruition. I thought it seemed a little extremem when Earl (I think) suggested something like that, but I saw an article which suggested that Melnyk didn't care for maybe having to share any part of the city's entertainment options.

That may well be worth spending a few grand on creating and presenting a plan that you know, in reality will probably not fly. But if you're able to cause anough chaos to make the other guys miss their deadlines, or perhaps get frustrated enough to give up...

Either way, I won't forget Melnyk's behaviour throughout this whole deal for a long, long time... :x

Reading from one of dmont's links (how am I going to find my news when this is all over, dmont?? :wink: ), I came across tihs other article from Randall Denley. It's not totally specific to the stadium issue, but Mr Denley makes a good point and explains it quite well.

[i]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/must+beyond+basics+want+great/1489149/story.html

A real city offers more than just good sewers and roads. It's time we started investing in ourselves.

Ottawa is a big city, by Canadian standards. When are we going to start acting like it?

The competing proposals for professional soccer in Kanata and professional football at Lansdowne Park ought to have sparked an exciting discussion about how best to enhance our city. Instead, senior bureaucrats and many city councillors are treating these opportunities as problems, fussing about the cost while making no effort to see the benefits. Too many in the public have taken the same approach.

A real city offers more than just good roads and sewers. It should provide a vibrant cultural life and unique public places for people to gather. That means we need a Lansdowne Park that is something to be proud of. We need professional sports teams. We need a new public library worthy of our city. We need a downtown concert hall. We need a first-rate municipal art gallery.

All that costs money, but if we want Ottawa to be something more than a collection of generic suburbs and nondescript downtown office buildings, we need to start investing in ourselves.

We are fortunate in being the capital. The federal government has created an excellent base of cultural attractions. But what have we, the people of Ottawa, done? We have not built a consequential municipal building of city-wide importance in 20 years. As a result, while other cities have become more interesting and more urban, Ottawa has remained stuck in the past.

The reason for this goes back to the early 1990s. The former city of Ottawa had gotten in over its head with a lavish new city hall and a new baseball park. The city was in serious financial trouble and councillors swore off anything that could remotely be called a "mega-project." Spending for entertainment and sports dried up in Ottawa. Even places like Nepean, home to sportsplexes and the Centrepointe Theatre, stopped spending. Over at the regional government, there wasn't the same issue. Spending for sewers, water and roads continued at a significant level.

Today, the new city is still locked in the same pattern. It can plan to spend $45 million for improvements to the sewage treatment plant and no one expresses a flicker of concern when the cost increases to $74 million. It can suggest the expenditure of $105 million for a new bridge across the Rideau River and it's not particularly controversial, even though most people will never use it. Suggest spending similar or smaller amounts on a football stadium, a library or a concert hall, though, and the word unaffordable is quickly uttered.

If we want to be a capital city worthy of the name, we must do more than just provide the basics. Do we want our civic slogan to be "The least we could be," or "Not bad for the money, eh?"

Since amalgamation, people at City Hall have spent a lot of time looking inward, trying to improve the way city government works and change administrative structures. Not nearly enough time has been spent planning to make our city great.

What's required is a broad view of the city's future, one that acknowledges that sports and culture are a big part of what makes a city interesting. It's not up to government to put on shows, create art or buy sports teams. That's the role of individual Ottawans. It is legitimate, though, for government to provide the places where these things can happen.

There is strong opposition here to spending tax dollars on anything that is not entirely utilitarian. People are naturally worried about their tax bills, but this kind of excessive thriftiness leads to a city that is dull and limited. We need to remember that the kind of sports and cultural buildings we need will be paid for over the long term and they will be used by our children and even our grandchildren. The annual costs are relatively minor in the scope of the city's $2.7-billion annual budget.

It can be difficult to see the value of these improvements until we have them. When professional hockey was proposed for Ottawa, the naysayers and skeptics were legion. Now the Senators routinely sell out the building. Who can seriously argue that the city is not a better place for having this hockey team? It has become part of who we are.

There has never been a better time to end our long city-building hiatus. Senior governments are giving away money that could make our city better, but this week the city submitted a $636-million project list that featured not a single interesting idea. Big, city-enhancing projects should be at the top of the list, but they are not on the list at all.

When opportunity comes knocking, we lock the door and pretend we aren't home. We can do better, and now is the time to start.[/i]

Good on Ottawa to see if Melnyk was bluffing, that was a smart move I think. Yes, could be intrepreted as one article suggested a slap in the face to the Hunt group but really, I don't think there was any other choice. Hunt's group knew this obviously and I'm sure there were some behind closed doors conversations.

Update......

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Council+group+favours+Lansdowne+Live/1510843/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Council+gr ... story.html[/url]

Council group favours Lansdowne Live

By Ken Gray, The Ottawa CitizenApril 18, 2009 12:37 PM

Roger Greenberg's group believes Lansdowne Park can be rebuilt for $97 million.Some Ottawa city councillors are working feverishly behind the scenes to craft a motion that would have the municipality enter into negotiations with a group of area businessmen to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

College Councillor Rick Chiarelli is writing a motion similar to one he drafted two weeks ago that would have the city begin negotiations with the Lansdowne Live group to seek a new model to develop the site in the Glebe neighbourhood that would include a stadium there or at a different location. The motion makes no mention of a competing bid by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to put a stadium in Kanata near Scotiabank Place, the home of his National Hockey League club.

"My motion appears to have the best chance of success," Chiarelli said in an interview Saturday.
Word of the motion comes a day after Minto Group chief executive officer Roger Greenberg, one of four important area businessmen forming the Lansdowne Live group, told Ottawa City Council that his group's plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park for football is near a take-it or leave-it stage..

Greenberg, speaking at a Citizen editorial board Friday, said that he wants a "decision in principle" to support his group's proposal at Wednesday's city council meeting. The Minto CEO said he is unprepared to have the city study the plan much longer.

"We want a decision now from council. If council approves another study for six months, we are out," Greenberg said.

Greenberg and a group of high-powered Ottawa businesspeople have joined to form Lansdowne Live—a plan that would bring a Canadian Football League club to a new stadium on the site plus commercial, entertainment and residential developments there. Greenberg left open the possibility of professional soccer at Lansdowne, but said his group is too busy to pursue that. However, he would be open to giving soccer a primary role at the new Lansdowne stadium if another group wanted to operate the team. A competing bid by Ottawa Senators' owner Melnyk would put a Major League Soccer team in a stadium near Scotiabank Place. The Greenberg group won't get involved with that plan.

"It is not the right location for a stadium and we don't want to be part of that," Greenberg told the editorial board.

My fingers are crossed so tightly that they're turning white...

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Take a look at this. It looks like they added something to the last article posted:

Council group favours Lansdowne Live

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Council+group+favours+Lansdowne+Live/1510843/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Cou ... story.html[/url]

By Ken Gray, The Ottawa Citizen
April 18, 2009 2:01 PM

[i]Some Ottawa city councillors are working feverishly behind the scenes to craft a motion that would have the municipality enter into negotiations with a group of area businessmen to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

College Councillor Rick Chiarelli is writing a motion similar to one he drafted two weeks ago that would have the city begin negotiations with the Lansdowne Live group to seek a new model to develop the site in the Glebe neighbourhood that would include a stadium there or at a different location. The motion makes no mention of a competing bid by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to put a stadium in Kanata near Scotiabank Place, the home of his National Hockey League club.

A rival motion being touted by an unnamed councillor would see no stadium at Lansdowne, but a redevelopment project there, Chiarelli said. That motion includes a design competition to decide who would build the new Lansdowne Park. It would also call for city money to go a stadium being promoted by Melnyk. That stadium is envisaged for professional soccer. Chiarelli says he believes his motion has more support on council than the rival initiative. However, he declined to say how many votes it has.

A third motion being touted by Mayor Larry O'Brien that would ask the competing stadium groups to work together on a project is a non-starter, Mr. Chiarelli said. Both bidding groups have pulled back from that option. Chiarelli says he doubts the O'Brien motion will appear at council.

"My motion appears to have the best chance of success," Chiarelli said in an interview Saturday. He cautioned that motions are often in a state of flux and that they can change after negotiations have occurred.

The Chiarelli initiative would include going to the federal government for money for the Lansdowne project. The councillor said it would be "premature" to say whether he had talked to federal Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird about federal money for the project. Chiarelli and Baird are old friends from their school days and meet regularly.

The Chiarelli motion would require that the Lansdowne project generate a stream of money for the city so that the Civic Centre, home of the junior hockey team Ottawa 67's (whose owner Jeff Hunt is part of the Lansdowne Live group), could be repaired or replaced.

Word of the motion comes a day after Minto Group chief executive officer Roger Greenberg, one of four prominent area businessmen forming the Lansdowne Live group, told Ottawa City Council that his group's plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park for football is near a take-it or leave-it stage..

Greenberg, speaking at a Citizen editorial board Friday, said that he wants a "decision in principle" to support his group's proposal at Wednesday's city council meeting. The Minto CEO said he is unprepared to have the city study the plan much longer.

"We want a decision now from council. If council approves another study for six months, we are out," Greenberg said.

Greenberg and a group of high-powered Ottawa businesspeople have joined to form Lansdowne Live -- a plan that would bring a Canadian Football League club to a new stadium on the site plus commercial, entertainment and residential developments there. Greenberg left open the possibility of professional soccer at Lansdowne, but said his group is too busy to pursue that. However, he would be open to giving soccer a primary role at the new Lansdowne stadium if another group wanted to operate the team. A competing bid by Ottawa Senators' owner Melnyk would put a Major League Soccer team in a stadium near Scotiabank Place. The Greenberg group won't get involved with that plan.

"It is not the right location for a stadium and we don't want to be part of that," Greenberg told the editorial board.

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

I'll give you three guesses who the rival motion is coming from... coughClive Doucetcough... probably with the Kanata councillors backing him up. I got an e-mail from one of them today and he said he supported Melnyk over Lansdowne.

A design competition. Gee, I wonder if that might be Doucet again? :roll:

Chris Stevenson from the Sun;

Assuming rational minds will prevail and we will have a new stadium -- somewhere -- is assuming a lot.

Too much, I fear.

When I pick up the Sun and see a comment like this, I think the worst:

"When council met at Pineview Golf Course in the spring of 2007 for our visionary exercise for the city, not one of us said a stadium was a priority." That's what West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry was quoted as saying when asked in which direction he would like to see the stadium issue go.

Really?

A new stadium wasn't a priority in the spring of 2007?

Of course it wasn't. Frank Clair Stadium was getting ready to host the world U20 soccer championship. The old lady was run down and in need of repair -- the result of previous councils not putting the needed money into maintenance -- but at that point it was still a functioning facility.

Why would it have been a priority?

As far as we knew at that point, we had an embarrassingly rundown facility that was still capable of hosting a CFL team or an event like the world U20.

It wasn't until cracks were discovered in the lower south stands after the U20, leading to the stands' demolition, that the future of the stadium became an issue.

Of course, if that meeting at Pineview had truly been a "visionary exercise," the impending need for a new stadium would have been raised.

Some sort of plan would have been created to start dealing with the region's impending need for a facility to replace Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre, something that would have been just common sense given the Civic Centre was wheezing into its 40th anniversary -- a few years past the "best before" date for such a facility.

Now we find ourselves in this ridiculously muddled situation where it seems each councillor has a different opinion on which direction we should go -- where is the leadership on council? -- and the Melnyk and Hunt groups have certainly grown frustrated watching the indecision and lack of vision.

At the outset of the "MLS in Kanata vs. CFL at Lansdowne" debate, I favoured the Lansdowne proposal. Still do.

I like the idea of a gathering place downtown and there are few better -- anywhere -- than the Lansdowne site on the Rideau Canal. (I am a CFL football fan. Pro soccer wasn't part of my sports upbringing and I don't begrudge those who favour soccer in this debate. I applaud the passion and entrepreneurial energy of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk when it comes to the MLS.)

Now?

I am just hoping -- and I know after watching this it is a lot to ask -- that somehow somebody

will have the vision to realize the opportunity that is being presented

to us here. Soccer? Football? Kanata? Downtown?

Just choose.

Despite the frustrating depths to which this process has sunk, it is still not too late to take advantage of an opportunity -- two, as a matter of fact -- to enter into a public-private partnership that can create a win-win for everybody involved. Council should negotiate hard for the best deal for taxpayers; not pass up this opportunity.

If this fails, it will likely be a long time before individuals like Melnyk or the group of developers led by Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt will join again in making a new, outdoor, world-class gathering place a reality.

It's the type of facility the capital of a G8 country should consider a necessary part of its inventory, not a luxury.

"Just choose" - Exactly. I grew up with football and don't understand soccer and this ethnic group vs that ethnic group type of thingy in the stands as it is for soccer but if that's the way to go in Kanata, so be it.

Just friggin choose!!!!!!!!!!

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Also from the Sun:

Exhaustive fight to keep bid in play

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Columnists/Sherring_Susan/2009/04/17/9153081-sun.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Columnist ... 1-sun.html[/url]

By SUSAN SHERRING
Sat, April 18, 2009

[i]It's been about 13 months since a consortium of well-known local businessmen shared the news that they'd secured a CFL franchise.

At the time, there were plenty of broad smiles, lots of slaps on the back and congrats all around.

Just one hitch.

The group, which includes Minto head honcho Roger Greenberg, Trinity's John Ruddy and the 67's Jeff Hunt, needed to work with the city to fix up the stadium at Lansdowne Park.

That seemed easy enough -- and almost too good to be true. City officials had started once again to talk about the future of Lansdowne Park and what they should do to revitalize the land.

Perfect fit?

Many thought so at the time, including Mayor Larry O'Brien -- or so it seemed.

With a full 12 months to get a council decision to meet the (first) March 2009 CFL deadline, the consortium expressed (naive?) confidence the group of 24 municipal politicians would easily have enough time to approve the plan -- if not every nitty gritty detail.

Fast forward to today, and the picture isn't so clear.

In fact, it's downright muddy.

The original task was to figure out how to bring the CFL back to the nation's capital and revitalize Lansdowne Park, but this Monday two city committees will hold a joint meeting to debate choosing between an open-air stadium at Lansdowne Park for football or one near Scotiabank Place for soccer, after a last-minute proposal from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

Does that make any sense?

"I think for me, the debate should not be about football vs. soccer. There's no reason why we can't have both, they're both terrific sports, it should not be a debate between them," says Greenberg.

Of course it shouldn't.

The football consortium appears to have bent over backwards to make both football and soccer work at Lansdowne Park.

(Perhaps they fear -- possibly with good reason -- that councillors have stars in their eyes when Melnyk comes to City Hall.)

Greenberg doesn't pretend there aren't financial benefits to be had with the retail end of developing Lansdowne Park, but his credentials in the field of philanthropy are impeccable.

"This might sound hokey, but we're civic boosters. Our motive was not to promote our own business. At its core, we're civic boosters, and we do want to be as accommodating as we could be," he said.

Greenberg has been a benefactor to most every major charity in the city. So when he says he's a civic booster, it's entirely believable.

"We've said this can be a soccer-first stadium, give them first crack at the dates. I will make that point very strongly again on Monday."

Why should city council choose Lansdowne Park for the outdoor stadium?

The park needs to be revitalized and its location makes it the right pick for the city, Greenberg says.

Politics might be in Greenberg's blood -- his uncle was former mayor Lorry Greenberg -- but the head of Minto says he has no desire to be a politician himself.

And as such, he won't criticize any of the politicians he's been dealing with.

How he feels about some politicians' about-face on the issue isn't important, he says.

"Whether I feel frustrated, it's not relevant," he insists.

Still, it's clear it's been a trying process, a 13-month ordeal with very little progress.

He says he's getting tired of being asked detailed questions on any number of variables when there's no decision on the table.

"We don't even know if anyone on council wants the bloody thing or not."

For Greenberg, councillors should be asking themselves two very direct questions.

"Do you want an open-air stadium? And do you want it at Lansdowne Park?"

Unfortunately, city council has proven nothing is ever so simple. [/i]

.

The news has been rolling in lately.

By my count, the press has estimated so far that Lansdowne Live has the support of at least five votes in city council:

Larry O'Brien
Bob Monette
Maria McRae
Rick Chiarelli
Jan Harder

Councillors move to back Lansdowne
Key issue keeping development 'revenue neutral'

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/18/9160401.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 60401.html[/url]

By AEDAN HELMER, Sun Media
Sat, April 18, 2009

[i]A group of Ottawa city councillors are prepared to give Lansdowne Live the green light.

River Coun. Maria McRae said she’s working on a motion, to be introduced at Monday’s special committee meeting, that would back the Jeff Hunt-led proposal to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

College Coun. Rick Chiarelli is expected to introduce the motion with support from others at City Hall, including Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder.

“There’s a group of councillors that are working together to make this motion happen? said McRae.

McRae said the key issue for her was to ensure that any proposal would be “revenue neutral.?

After meeting with the Lansdowne Live group, which includes developers Roger Greenberg, Bill Shenkman and John Ruddy, on Thursday, she said there was “significant movement? in the group’s proposal.

McRae said she walked away from the meeting with assurances that the Lansdowne Live group would not require any additional funds from taxpayers.

“I believe if there’s a way of using the current money we’re slamming into Lansdowne, which is anywhere from $3.5 million to $4 million a year, plus any new tax revenue the building would generate ... then there’s a (viable) financial formula in place,? said McRae.

McRae also said the issue of traffic congestion and limited parking facilities could be solved with shuttle services from designated park-and-ride lots.

She said council should not ignore the “economic uplift? that a revitalized Lansdowne Park would bring to the area.

“There is significant lost opportunity in leaving Lansdowne in the big mess that it is today,? she said.

“Taxpayers are paying and nobody’s playing.?

Meanwhile, Coun. Clive Doucet, whose Capital ward includes the Lansdowne property, is preparing a counter-motion of his own.

Doucet believes council should be focusing less on what to do with Lansdowne Park, and should be simply deciding which of the two stadium proposals, if any, are viable.

“That should occupy the centre stage,? said Doucet, who doesn’t favour either Lansdowne Live or Eugene Melnyk’s Kanata-based soccer stadium proposal.

“If we decide that these unsolicited proposals aren’t what we want, then we need to give staff at least a couple of weeks to consider how we want to proceed, either by re-animating the design competition or through a new process,? said Doucet.

“I don’t see why we should be pressured into making a decision in 48 hours when we’ve been waiting a year for these proposals to formalize.?

McRae said while her motion strongly favours Lansdowne Live, it doesn’t preclude future discussions with Melnyk about another open-air stadium in the city.

“I was very torn about this, because what Mr. Melnyk is offering is fantastic as well,? said McRae. “But my heart lies in fixing Lansdowne. The city owns it, it’s got major history, it’s a good central location and there are many opportunities to utilize infrastructure that we already own.? [/i]

I can’t recall an article making me more optimistic in quite some time. I should know better, of course, but…

Looks like it is gaining ground…

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Chiarelli+pushes+make+Lansdowne+plan+work/1511503/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Chiar ... story.html[/url]

Chiarelli pushes to make Lansdowne plan work

Councillor seeks colleagues’ support for exclusive talks with developers

By Paula McCooey, with files from Ken Gray, The Ottawa CitizenApril 19, 2009 8:13 AM

College Ward Councillor Rick Chiarelli has crafted a motion that would have the city immediately enter into negotiations with one group of businessmen to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

The motion was drafted Saturday with city staff and Mayor Larry O’Brien, just one day after Minto Group chief executive officer Roger Greenberg, one of the four businessmen who make up the Lansdowne Live group, told the Citizen editorial board he wants a “decision in principle” to support his group’s proposal at Wednesday’s council meeting.

The Minto CEO said he is not prepared to have the city sit on the plan much longer, and needs to know where council stands on the unsolicited proposal, which was made last fall.

Chiarelli stressed that if the motion is carried Monday, it does not mean the Lansdowne Live proposal will be accepted outright; rather, the two sides would immediately dive into a 60-day negotiating period, followed by 21 days of public consultation.

If they do carve out a deal, council will vote on it, followed by another round of consultation.

“It (the motion) is to enter into sole negotiations with Lansdowne Live to see if we can change the business model to something that is mutually agreeable,” said Chiarelli.

He said he told Greenberg about the motion.

“This isn’t exactly what he wants, but I think he is happy with it,” said Chiarelli.

“And certainly happier than with anything else that was coming out of City Hall.” Given that the land at Lansdowne alone is worth between $75 million and $100 million, Chiarelli said one of the key issues to be addressed is the idea of giving an expensive public asset to someone else to develop without any financial incentive.

“We want to change it (the proposal) so, first of all, there is an income stream to the city, because this is a valuable public asset.” Chiarelli says this could come in the form of a percentage of rents, a commission on sales, or a ticket surcharge.

“It could be contributions from other levels of government toward the whole thing, it could be any number of things, but that would all be subject to negotiation,” he said.

If the motion is accepted, Chiarelli said the city would also be negotiating a lease longer than the 50-year lease the group proposed – with the city having the option to sell Lansdowne to them or keep it at the end.

River Ward Councillor Maria McRae said she will support the motion because she says the city has a responsibility first and foremost to protect what it already owns.

She stressed that the issue at large is not about whether to choose the Lansdowne Live bid over another bid by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to put a stadium in Kanata near Scotiabank Place, the home of his NHL club.

She says the city has an obligation to taxpayers to "get that park up to standard.

“It is despicable that we have allowed Frank Clair Stadium to get to a point where we are sinking millions of dollars into it like a black hole and it’s not usable,” said McRae.

“And it’s got nothing to do with whether it’s used for football or soccer or concerts. It has everything to do with the fact that we own an open-air stadium and we have allowed it to rot.”

She said she met with the Lansdowne Live group Thursday, and they presented her with more data that show they can make a rejuvenation of Lansdowne “tax-neutral to the city,” given the city is already pouring millions of dollars into Lansdowne just to keep it in “an unusable form” since the demolition of the south-side seats last July.

She said the group raised the possibly of “satellite parking” options, which will help ease congestion during the 10 home games per season of a potential expansion Canadian Football League franchise.

Orléans Councillor Bob Monette said he will second Chiarelli’s motion on Monday. He also said the city cannot afford to do nothing – leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions for the upkeep of an unused facility – and said he thinks the motion “goes in the right direction.”

“It (the motion) seems to find a middle ground with how we can move ahead with this … make Lansdowne work and also make it cost effective.”

As most of us have said, people who bought houses in the Lansdowne area had eyes and knew the stadium was there obviously to begin with and obviously couldn't have been that concerned if truth be known.

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Nothing really new, but a nice little article. Enjoy the read, and try not to be distracted too much by today's sunshine girl... her name's Angelina and she's 18 and some day, she's hoping too...... oh right, sorry, the article!

Team holds onto dream
A 'slam dunk' a year ago, Lansdowne Live group now enters final play to win over council

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/19/9163311-sun.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 1-sun.html[/url]

By SHANE ROSS
Sun, April 19, 2009

[i]What started two years ago with a couple of buddies musing about bringing the CFL back to Ottawa has turned into a complicated, exhausting exercise about where to put a stadium and what to do with Lansdowne Park.

"All we wanted was to lease the stadium from the city," said Roger Greenberg. "We were excited. It was unbeknownst to us at the time that the south-side stands were crumbling."

You'd have to hypnotize them -- or at least get them drunk -- to find out how they really feel now. Or what has transpired behind the scenes.

Maybe they don't believe city council is a bunch of bumbling idiots who couldn't make a decision if it was handed to them on a $100-million silver platter. But if they do, these savvy businessmen aren't going to say it.

Wouldn't be prudent.

Not now. Not when the prize appears so close. Not when council is scheduled -- finally, only days from now -- to make a decision about who will build and manage Ottawa's open-air, 20,000-seat multipurpose stadium.

Will it be Greenberg and his richy-rich partners, fellow developers Bill Shenkman and John Ruddy and 67's owner Jeff Hunt, who want to renovate Frank Clair Stadium primarily for their CFL franchise? Or will it be Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who wants to build it in Kanata primarily for an MLS team?

Or neither?

Neither? Forget the hypnotist. First round's on me.

I've been following this story since I arrived in this fair city last May. ("You'll get to cover some CFL games," my editor said on Day 1. "Ottawa just got a team for 2010.")

AMBITIOUS DESIGN

It was just over a month after Greenberg's group was granted a conditional franchise, on March 25. All they had to do was convince the city, by the following March, to fix up Frank Clair Stadium. Seemed like a done deal. After all, at the news conference announcing the franchise, Mayor Larry O'Brien grinned and shook hands with "the dream team."

To win over the rest of council, Greenberg's group knew they had to package the stadium and Civic Centre renos with an overall vision for Lansdowne Park that would appease the backers of the international design competition that was proposed. Enter Lansdowne Live, an ambitious project that would include a hotel, theatre, aquarium, green space, you name it. Cost: $97 million in public money for the stadium and Civic Centre, $120 million of their own money for the retail development.

But before they could share their vision with council and the public, Melnyk swooped in and held a flashy news conference in September to unveil his own plan for a $110-million, mostly taxpayer-funded stadium. It would be for soccer, he said, and it would succeed. Guaranteed.

The same Mayor O'Brien said, "The fact that Eugene Melnyk and MLS are looking at Ottawa as a potential venue for professional soccer is a huge positive for our city."

In the ensuing months that led up to this week, councillors and city staff have done plenty of hemming and hawing, wishing and wondering. Back and forth. Maybe this, maybe that. What if, what of.

Oh, and there's an $81,000 city staff report that suggests 21 other sites.

But hold on. Do we even want a stadium? Do we even have money for a stadium?

Thirteen months after Ottawa was granted a conditional CFL franchise, these are questions that still haven't been answered.

Frustrated? Irrelevant, Greenberg said.

"We in the development business are constantly frustrated, so what's new here?"

Orleans Coun. Bob Monette said last week, "There's no doubt in my mind that Lansdowne Live would've been a slam dunk had Melnyk's proposal not come in."

Bitter? Roger, John, Bill, Jeff, anyone?

"He's a businessman, too," said Hunt, who partnered with Melnyk for the world junior hockey championship in Ottawa. "As long as there's nothing unethical going on, there's no problem."

Greenberg is involved in Lansdowne Live as an individual, not as chairman of Minto Developments, which is a corporate sponsor of Melnyk's Senators. Ruddy's Trinity Development Group owns land around Scotiabank Place. This is no time to burn bridges.

Greenberg, teeth not even gritted (but sober and not under hypnosis), went so far as to say he's "delighted" Melnyk introduced a competing proposal.

"Competition is a wonderful thing, that's what people like," Greenberg said. "They don't want to be in a city where they only have one choice. So we are very glad that Mr. Melnyk has come forward with his proposal."

Publicly, both sides have consistently shown respect for each other. True, they have taken shots at each other's proposal, and debated which sport -- football or soccer -- would be the safer bet before the Lansdowne group put that to rest by saying it would accommodate both. Senators Sports & Entertainment continues to point out the lack of parking and transit at Lansdowne, while the Lansdowne group sees Kanata's suburban location as a major weakness.

The two sides present their cases to a joint council committee tomorrow. Council is scheduled to make a decision on Wednesday. No matter what the outcome, none of these millionaires will starve.

Melnyk won't have to sell his beachfront home in Barbados and, with or without an outdoor stadium, his Senators will continue to be one of the most successful franchises in the NHL.

SIDE PROJECT

Hunt, with the future of the 67's arena on the line, perhaps has the most at stake. But life will go on for the Lansdowne group, which has spent more than $500,000 and countless hours on their proposal.

"Three of us in particular have lots of other things to do," Greenberg said. "This is Jeff's lifeblood, it's his whole business so it's tricky when we talk about what could be. But for John, Bill and myself, this is an interesting sideline but it's not our main business. So if council says no, okay, we've had our fun together. I've got to know John and really like him, Bill I've known for years and I play hockey with Jeff. So what have I learned? Well, he's got a pretty good shot. He's learned don't go in the corners with me."

That's it? Somebody buy that man a beer.

SHANE.ROSS@SUNMEDIA.CA [/i]

Ok, where to start and I don't want too type much. Major significant events in CFL history as of late besides of course that western Canada has been on board with the CFL all the way which is huge!!!!!!!!!!!!! The rock!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. Well heeled owners showing up in Toronto and Hamilton at just the right time.

  2. Winnipeg getting a new stadium.

  3. Toronto, of all places, selling out RC for the GC without the Argos.

  4. Ottawa on the verge of putting the CFL over the top as THE league in Canada bar none.

And then there is this little lead up to the 100th Grey Cup in a few years. Holy shyteeee!!!!!!!! Huge, thank you western Canada and all the rest who have stepped up, I love you!!!!!!!!!

I love this league called the CFL and there is no ethnic crap associated with it like in soccer, great game but where the fans are all about ethnic bullcrap stuff which we don't need in Canada, thank you very much, one ethnic group agains't another fighting it out in stands at a friggin soccer game. NO!!!!!!!!!! I hate this crap associated with soccer and one reason I will never attend a TFC game in Toronto, it reaks of ethic in-fighting crap. That's what soccer is about in this country since we have so many ethnic groups that have grown up with this aspect of the sport and the fanbase. Everything we don't want to encourage in Canada, respecting ethnic backgrounds, by all means, but no using sport like soccer does to support historic nation-state prejudices and all that is associated with why people came over to North American from Europe etc. in the first place. That is not my Canada.

An interesting read,

http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/glen_suitor/?id=275669

SUITOR: WHAT'S TO DEBATE OVER TWO OTTAWA STADIUM PROPOSALS?
GLEN SUITOR
4/19/2009 2:36:45 PM

It seems like the debate has gone on for months. In Ottawa, everyone and his brother have weighed in on the two stadium proposals that are currently awaiting a decision from city council. If you don't live in the Ottawa area, I'll outline the short versions of the two plans.

There is the Lansdowne Live Group, fronted by Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt. This also includes successful local businessmen like John Ruddy, Bill Shenkman and Roger Greenberg. They have found a solution for what has been a frequent and lengthy discussion on what to do with Lansdowne Park. This vision includes the return of CFL Football to Ottawa in a state-of-the-art stadium that could also host a soccer team, as well as concerts and amateur sports. The plan also calls for practice soccer fields, a shopping mall, office buildings, restaurants, a hotel, an aquarium, green space, ponds and an amphitheatre.

There is also a proposal on the table from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk for the area near Scotiabank Place in Kanata, which consists of a state-of-the-art soccer stadium which could become the home of an MLS franchise, several soccer practice fields, retail and entertainment development, as well as 450 residential units and two hotels. Now I may be slightly biased - I don't live in Ottawa and I don't pretend to know all the in-depth details of the proposals. However, from the outside looking in, it is hard to understand what the debate is really all about.

MLS Soccer vs. CFL Football

This is where the bias will come in but let's examine. Let's hypothetically assume that both sports are equally popular, and that way we don't offend anyone. In reality, at this point, it's really not a debatable topic because the CFL franchise has been conditionally awarded, whereas the MLS franchise is still in the application stage and has not been given to Ottawa in any form. End of debate.

Both sports in the same stadium

This would be a partnership between the two groups to get the new stadium and both sports. First of all, I would assume that it is a pipe dream to think that the Melnyk group and the Hunt group could just go for lunch one day, shake hands and decide to become partners. I'm no Donald Trump, but I'm guessing multi-million dollar real estate deals and partnerships are a little more complicated than that, which means that any hope of a partnership just puts this whole concept off for another 10 years.

So if both proposals remain separated, the question becomes: which group is willing to make their new stadiums the home of both football and soccer? The Hunt group has said that the possibility of soccer and the CFL together has always been part of the Lansdowne Live plan, whether it is in the form of amateur soccer or the possibility of a USL franchise. Conversely, the Melnyk group has made very clear their lack of interest in adding football to their plan.

Location, Location, Location

Which location is better for the city of Ottawa? Keep in mind I don't live in Ottawa, but is this really debatable? The Lansdowne Live group is offering a solution to the Lansdowne Park issue. That piece of land should be one of the most desirable attractions in the country for both residents and tourists and is currently nothing but an eye sore.

This parking lot and broken down stadium are, according to an article in the Globe and Mail written by Dave Naylor, currently costing the city $3.8 million a year in maintenance.

Both plans provide tremendous infrastructure to the city, but only one does it in a location that has been an issue for city councillors for years now. Also, whether it is a sporting event, concert, trade show or farmers' market, the closer the stadium is to a city the better chance it has to succeed. No one needs to spend millions on government studies to know that.

Is a state-of-the-art stadium even necessary? Are there better ways to spend the money?

This debate is not about which sport is better or more popular, or about whether pro sports will sell in the city. This is about the youth of Ottawa, about inspiring kids to get up off the couch and go out and throw a football back and forth or kick around a soccer ball, rather than sit in front of a TV and play video games. It is about building family memories, like a father and son together at their first football or soccer game, or a family at their first outdoor concert.

Pro sports not only inspire kids and provide strong role models, they can also quickly become a source of provincial and civic pride as city residents rally around the home team. Kids never forget the first time they got a chance to play football or soccer in the "big stadium", the stadium they watched the pros play in the night before. If society really wants to curve child obesity and lessen the burden on our medical system down the road, then build more stadiums, rinks and practice fields to promote amateur sport and inspire our youth to participate in athletics.

Costs

Yes, it all costs money, so which proposal carries greater risk for the city? As stated earlier, I do not know all the details of these proposals, only what I have read, but it sounds like both will cost the city upwards of $100 million.

So rather than break down the accounting for both proposals, consider this: city council has to be concerned with the residents of the areas involved, and how increased traffic will affect their day-to-day lives. They also have to think of the people that believe that things like building better roads or improving a sewer system outweigh the need for a stadium. That is fair, but I hope that the city officials also take into consideration the citizens that are taking the financial risks here, and are putting their time and money into making their communities a better place to live. Yes, there is a possible upside financially for both these groups, but remember there are risks involved - a ton of risks.

I have also read that city council will consider improving the Lansdowne area without a stadium on their own, an idea that would increase the value of the property for all the residents of the area. I wonder if all those residents would be willing to take a substantial amount of money from their own bank accounts and invest it into the project, or whether they expect all taxpayers to split the bill, therefore escaping any personal risk. The same could be said for the residents near the Kanata area. Both the Melnyk and Hunt groups are putting their money, time and reputations on the line to improve the city.

So from what I have read to date on the "great stadium debate" in Ottawa, those are the major issues. A tough decision for city council without question, and a debate that is clearly more complicated than I have made it in this blog.

However, when you simplify things and take a look from the outside in, there really doesn't seem to be much to debate. The city needs to fix Lansdowne Park, and in doing so they can revitalize one of the most picturesque and historic locations in the country while creating an attraction that residents can be proud of and tourists will flock to see.

They have local businessmen with roots that run deep in the community who are willing to partner with the city to get things done. In an evaluation of both proposals by the municipal staff to assess the needs to the city, the risk involved, plus the costs, business plans and other factors, the Lansdowne Live proposal rated over 80 per cent and the Melnyk, Kanata plan rated over 70 percent.

What exactly is there to debate?

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............for the win???????????????????? <oh please, oh please, oh please?!?!?!?!>

Lansdowne Live motion has votes to win, Chiarelli says

[url=http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/bulldog/archive/2009/04/19/lansdowne-live-motion-has-votes-to-win-chiarelli-says.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/ottawacit ... -says.aspx[/url]

By Kenneth Gray
04-19-2009

[i]A deal to have the city enter into exclusive negotiations with the Lansdowne Live consortium to redevelop the Glebe's landmark park is likely to pass as it now has the support of more than half of city council, College Councillor Rick Chiarelli said Sunday.

Chiarelli declined to say how many votes the motion, which will be presented to council on Wednesday, has, but said that the group in favour of the deal includes Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder, River ward's Maria McRae and Mayor Larry O'Brien. While warning that support can be fickle, Chiarelli said the group has more than the necessary 13 votes to carry the day. "It can change in an hour, but we have enough to win."

As well, Chiarelli said two city officials, including himself, have been in touch with the federal government about funding. Chiarelli has had conversations with Transport Minister John Baird and, though there has not yet been a pledge of money, the minister said any federal payments would not come from funds earmarked for transit and would not be used to build two stadium projects. Ottawa Senator's owner Eugene Melnyk has presented the city with an alternative proposal that would see a stadium constructed on city land near Scotiabank Place. Chiarelli hoped Melnyk could proceed on his own or with other private partners to build the Kanata project and proposed donating the city property to such an endeavour.

The motion would see negotiations undertaken with the Lansdowne Live group to build a multipurpose stadium at Lansdowne Park or elsewhere in the city; start negotiations on a new business model for the Glebe park; and negotiate some green elements for the land including more parkland, playing fields and a new way of dealing with parking on the site. The Lansdowne Live group proposes building a stadium and a mix of parkland, commercial, residential, entertainment and office structures there.

Chiarelli said the city would like to see a stream of revenue coming from the property, which he said has been estimated to be worth as much as $100 million. He believes the revenue from the development should be used to pay for the stadium and rebuild the Civic Centre. The current offer from the Lansdowne Live consortium - which includes Minto chief executive officer Roger Greenberg and Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt - "is not a good deal for taxpayers yet," Chiarelli said.

The property, perhaps the best underdeveloped site in the city, should generate revenue for the municipality as a result of a Lansdowne Live deal, Chiarelli said. The councillor said the Lansdowne Live promoters "would like to make (the development) the crowning achievement of their careers."

In addition, Chiarelli said it is uneconomical for the city to pump $55 million into "a pretty trashy-looking site" over 10 years only to have that same unsightly piece of land at the end of that expenditure. Accordingly, he said a majority of councillors believe it is time to move on the Lansdowne Live project. The group is the only one in the city with money on the table to redevelop Lansdowne, Chiarelli said.[/i]

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inches to go!!!

Council support for Lansdowne Live growing
Chiarelli says majority ready to back motion to be tabled Wednesday

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndRegion/2009/04/20/9180791.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAnd ... 80791.html[/url]

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, Sun Media
Mon, April 20, 2009

[i]It looks like a touchdown for Lansdowne Live.

A motion expected to be introduced by councillors Rick Chiarelli and Jan Harder is asking council support investing tax dollars into redeveloping Lansdowne Park and renovating Frank Clair Stadium.

According to College Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who is one of the key movers behind the motion, the majority of councillors support it. Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder and River Coun. Maria McRae have already publicly stated they support the motion, and the mayor's office has also come out in favour of redeveloping Lansdowne Park.

The motion will be debated at City Hall Wednesday.

The motion requests the city "negotiate a partnership agreement with The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to redevelop Lansdowne Park, including revitalizing the Civic Centre and Frank Clair stadium, enhancing Trade and Consumer Show space and protecting the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, based on a revenue- and value-neutral basis."

[b]There are a few conditions, including:

  • The city continue to support the Central Canada Exhibition’s move to the Albion Rd site;

  • The City of Ottawa’s contribution to the revitalization of Lansdowne Park be limited to a dollar amount to be established during the negotiations, based on the principle of not increasing the overall cost to the taxpayer;

  • Any revenues generated from the revitalized Lansdowne Park not be used to subsidize any professional sports teams.[/b]

The terms of the agreement call for negotiations between the city and OSEG to take place within 60 days.

Chiarelli and Harder are also calling on council to confirm that the revitalization project be a priority project for when requesting federal and provincial infrastructure funding. [/i]