Lansdowne Live got the green light from city council yesterday, while the proposed Kanata stadium has been shelved for at least a couple of months.
Over the next 60 days, the city will enter into negotiations with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to redesign all of Lansdowne Park, including rebuilding Frank Clair Stadium and the Ottawa Civic Centre.
However, the motion that passed at council by a vote of 14–9 comes with a host of conditions, including no large-format commercial establishments, no housing components and improved pedestrian and cycling access to the Rideau Canal.
Speaking on behalf of OSEG, Minto Developments chairman and CEO Roger Greenberg called it “a terrific day for the residents of Ottawa.
“Council decided very clearly that their preference is to try to work out something that works at Lansdowne Park,” he said.
Greenberg and a group of other prominent Ottawa businessmen have secured a CFL franchise to play in the stadium whenever it’s complete.
Capital Ward Coun. Clive Doucet warned that approving Lansdowne Live was like pulling a “pin on a grenade that will never stop going off.”
Doucet said the sole-source procurement process establishes a precedent for disposing of valuable city assets without a competitive process and the stadium is in a poor location since a rapid transit network will never serve it.
However, College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli said residents should be pleased the city finally made a decision to improve a part of the city that now resembles “a scene from The Flintstones.”
While the city is negotiating with OSEG, the proposed stadium in Kanata is on hold.
“We’re disappointed,” said Senators Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer Cyril Leeder. “We still believe that we have a good proposal and I’m pretty confident that a soccer-specific stadium was the right way to go.”