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Court allows Ottawa P3 development of Lansdowne Park to proceed

Friends fear courts giving "undue deference" to Council's decisions, based on inaccurate data.

Creelman: Principles of transparency, accountability at stake for municipal projects across Canada.OTTAWA, ON, April 30, 2012: The Ontario Court of Appeal rendered its decision on the Friends of Lansdowne legal challenge. The Court dismissed the community group appeal, giving the City of Ottawa the go-ahead to proceed with a sole sourced, public-private partnership approach to developing Lansdowne Park.

June Creelman, President of Friends of Lansdowne, commented, "The Friends of Lansdowne are deeply disappointed with the outcome of the Appeal. Our 7,000 supporters have raised nearly $300,000 to bring this public interest case forward because there were important principles of transparency and accountability at stake, not just for Lansdowne but for municipal projects all across Canada."

  "The public needs to know what we are getting in return for $400 million of taxpayers' dollars and a giveaway of public land."

Friends of Lansdowne respects the decision of the Court of Appeal. The Court took five months to review the evidence and treated the case with the seriousness it deserved. However, we continue to be concerned that the courts are giving undue deference to civic decisions based on misleading information. For example in 2010, citizens were told by some Councillors, "Lansdowne would not cost the taxpayers a dime"— something that has proven to be untrue. We would like to draw attention to the Court's observation that erroneous financial data was supplied and that Council would need to see corrected information before the Lansdowne Partnership Plan is approved.

Friends of Lansdowne is already refocusing our efforts on asking the province to reform the Municipal Act to better protect the public interest, and to ensure that proper heritage and environmental approvals are obtained before the City begins any construction. "We will continue to monitor the costs and benefits of the project," said Creelman. "We remind everyone that the City has not yet signed the final deal with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG). This includes a complex web of financial arrangements that should be made public. The public needs to know what we are getting in return for $400 million of taxpayers' dollars and a giveaway of public land."

"We have been working to ensure the appropriate revitalization of Lansdowne Park," said Creelman. "We are here for the long-term."

Related individuals, organizations and significant events
How to improve the Lansdowne deal for citizens

Links and sources
  Friends of Lansdowne disappointed with Court of Appeal ruling

Posted: May 09, 2012

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