Frustrated residents voiced their disapproval with the city’s plan for Lansdowne Park last night, saying they felt they were being sold on a plan instead of being consulted on the proposed redevelopment.
“It’s not really a consultation. It’s more of an information session,” said Maurizio Martignago.
“This is a done deal and they just plan on showing us what they plan on doing.”
Martignago was one of about 1,000 people who attended the public consultation in the Civic Centre salons, which were intended to be an opportunity to learn about the proposal by visiting a series of placards and asking questions to city planners nearby. Then they would provide written feedback.
But the frustration was obvious as some residents took to standing on chairs while yelling into megaphones to voice their disapproval with the plan and the public consultations.
Glebe resident and business owner Doug McKeen said there are enough problems just relating to issues arising from parking to cast serious doubt over the whole ordeal, but he doubted his concerns would be addressed.
“This is just a dog and pony show,” said McKeen. “They’re not here to listen to complaints. They’re presenting it as, ‘This is the way it is folks, tough luck.’”
Denis Abbott, director of communications and customer service with the city, said open house process was the best way to present a complex issue while answering their questions in an informal setting to let the residents form their own opinions.
“A lot of the information is presented in a very neutral language,” he said. “We tried to make it very factual.”
Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt, a member of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, spent most of the night defending the plan.
“For the most part people came with an open mind. Some people came with their minds made up and they were going to tell us what was right,” said Hunt.
“Lansdowne can’t be everything to everybody. I’d rather do a few things really well than to try to accomplish everything and not do any of them well.”