HPCA Response to Lansdowne Live Proposal
The current proposal of Lansdowne Live presents Ottawa citizens and taxpayers with one vision, and only one vision, to develop a prime and central piece of City property, Lansdowne Park. The Heron Park Community Association has serious concerns about both the process used in choosing this proposal, and about the merits of the proposal itself.
Regarding the process, we object to the abandonment of a competitive process. Concern over such disregard for standard professional purchasing practices has already been voiced by many others; suffice it to say that we echo and share those concerns.
Regarding the merits of the Lansdowne Live proposal, our concerns include the following:
- Redevelopment of the stadium for a new football franchise is a questionable decision given that many major cities are unable to support a football team and Ottawa has a history of failure on this front twice already.
- Furthermore, the scope of the project, particularly the retail aspects, would burden congested Bank Street and surrounding roads with greater traffic congestion and rely on public transit on the same roads to transport large numbers to/from the complex. The City would be responsible for about $130 million in costs but not see any returns on their investment until the private developers had recouped their investment with an 8% interest rate.
- Other than some increased densification, the concept of Lansdowne Live appears contrary to the City’s Smart Growth plan. From an environmental viewpoint, the proposal adds only limited green space (not to be confused with “green areas”) and would operate under a “municipal services corporation” that could lease the land for up to 70 years. This is a long time to live with a mistake and a long time to pay for it.
Notwithstanding the design, function, traffic, retail issues, the City needs to make every effort to demonstrate to its citizens that this is a fiscally sound proposal and one that will benefit the City and its residents for many years to come. We are not persuaded that this is the case.
On this basis, the Heron Park Community Association actively opposes the Lansdowne Live proposal.