City committee to debate ‘Lansdowne 2.0’ plan

A community group is calling on the City of Ottawa to delay its decision on the $332 million Lansdowne 2.0 plan until after the municipal elections this fall.

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 events center, new north side kiosks for TD Place and 1,200 new residential units.

The project would be carried out in three phases:

  • Event Center: Start in November 2022 and end in September 2024
  • North Stadium Grandstands, Retail Podium, Parking: Early Dec. 2024 and ended May 2027
  • Residential towers: Start in 2024 and complete in 2029

According to the report of the committee meeting, 10% 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 through the sale of air rights, debt financing and some capital budget funds for internal costs. The city would borrow $239 million for the project.

“Annual debt service will be funded by property tax increases, ticket surcharge revenues from Lansdowne Park games and events, and cascading distributions to the city.”

However, the Federation of Citizens’ Associations of Ottawa is calling on the city to postpone any decision on Lansdowne Park until after the October election.

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

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

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

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

“It would make sense, then, to take the time to engage in broad public consultation with Ottawa ratepayers on these proposals before any decisions are made. And let the new city council make those decisions.

Com. Shawn Menard, who is seeking re-election in the Capital District, said earlier this week that the future of Lansdowne Park is expected to be debated during the election campaign.

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

With files from Ted Raymond of CTV News Ottawa

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