After two nights of listening, residents had the opportunity to ask questions about the Lansdowne Partnership Plan after the city took a slightly different approach to the third public consultation yesterday.
It was standing room only inside Andrew Haydon Hall as hundreds of people lined up to grill city manager Kent Kirkpatrick for details, mostly focusing their questions on the financing of the project, why the design competition was cancelled, and how more retail would fit in the Glebe.
Despite moments of audible skepticism, the crowd of more than 450 was mostly appreciative for the opportunity to ask their questions, even applauding Kirkpatrick just for taking part.
In explaining the funding arrangement, Kirkpatrick elicited guffaws when he described it as a “closed financial system.”
“That’s garbage! What’s a closed financial system?” shouted one woman.
Kirkpatrick took responsibility for suspending the design competition in order to deal with two unsolicited stadium bids, but he said city council had plenty of opportunity to restart it, and they chose not to.
This brought passionate reaction from Capital Ward Coun. Clive Doucet, one of the most vocal opponents of the plan, who chastised the city manager for acting beyond his powers.
“No councillor could write a letter to anybody saying I’ve just decided to suspend the competitions,” said Doucet. “The mayor couldn’t do it, but Mr. Kirkpatrick did, and I think that’s an abrogation of the democratic process that serves us all.”
The applause accompanying Doucet’s comments, prompted Orleans Coun. Bob Monette to storm out of the room.
“All these speakers have done is attack the credibility of Kent Kirkpatrick, the city manager, the council and the city,” said Monette before he left. “That is disgusting and I’m walking away from this meeting.”