City committee set to debate ‘Lansdowne 2.0’ plan

A community group is calling on the city of Ottawa to defer a decision on the $332 million “Lansdowne 2.0” plan until after this fall’s municipal election.

The finance and economic development committee will hold a special meeting today to discuss the next phase of the revitalization of Lansdowne Park, which includes a new event centre, new north-side stands for TD Place and 1,200 new residential units.

The project would be completed in three phases:

  • Event Centre: To begin Nov. 2022 and completed Sept. 2024
  • North stadium stands, retail podium, parking: To begin Dec. 2024 and completed May 2027
  • Residential towers: To begin in 2024 and completed in 2029

According to the report for the committee meeting, 10 per cent of the proposed units in the residential towers would be affordable housing.

Staff say the plan with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group will “make Lansdowne Park and the Lansdowne Park Partnership sustainable for the next fifty years.”

Staff say the city’s $332.6 million capital contribution for the project will be funded from the sale of air rights, debt funding and some capital budget funding for internal costs.  The city would borrow $239 million for the project.

“The annual debt servicing will be funded by the property tax uplift, ticket surcharge revenue from Lansdowne Park games and events, and waterfall distributions to the City.”

However, the Federation of Citizens’ Association of Ottawa is calling on the city to hold off on any decision about Lansdowne Park until after October’s election.

“The Federation of Citizens Associations (FCA) strongly believes that there needs to be broad public consultation on this $330 million plan involving the City’s 40 acre park that includes major city assets, including a stadium, arena, heritage buildings, and parkspace, as well as the commercial developments that Lansdowne 1.0 created,” said FCA president Alex Cullen.

 “To this end we believe that FEDCO and Council should defer this report to the new City Council in 2023 and direct staff to develop an extensive public consultation on these proposals.”

The association says the recommendations from city staff for the project are “premature” without the opportunity for public consultations on whether it’s the right plan for Lansdowne Park.

“It is important to remember that this Council is at the end of its term, and in 2 months time will become a legal ‘lame duck’ Council, with limited ability to make significant financial decisions,” Cullen said.

“It would make sense, then, to take the time to engage in broad public consultation with the taxpayers of Ottawa on these proposals before decisions are made. And to let the new City Council make these decisions.”

Coun. Shawn Menard, who is seeking re-election in Capital Ward, said earlier this week that the future of Lansdowne Park should be debated during the election campaign.

“I think there are a lot of good ideas in here and a lot of questions, too,” Menard said.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Ted Raymond

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