The giant parking lot that is Lansdowne Park is not going away; it’s just moving out to the airport, say critics of the proposed Capital Exhibition Centre.

Last night, the Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport asked the city’s committee of adjustment to amend the zoning bylaw for a parcel of land near the airport to allow a “place of assembly” that is not an airport terminal or a hotel on that property.

That area, which is currently leased to the airport, is an uncultivated forested area. The airport plans to lease that land to the Shenkman Corporation in order to build the city’s new trade show centre and exhibition hall.

With so much open space already around Ottawa, Sawmill Creek resident Jason Garlough questioned why land that is essentially part of the Greenbelt needed to be clearcut for a giant parking lot.

The proposed 2,000-car parking lot on Uplands Drive is going to cause serious traffic issues on Uplands Drive, the Airport Parkway and Hunt Club Road, said Bernie Geiger, an area resident and member of Transport Action Canada.

Mayoral candidate Clive Doucet said the location of the trade centre is another example of the problems with the Lansdowne Park redevelopment.

“We’re going to clear cut woods and fill in wetlands. It’s an environmental and social nightmare,” said Doucet.

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