Public Values

Decisions today on Ottawa's Lansdowne Park

Council to decide if landmark will be privatized and intensely developed, or kept public and whole.

by Tim Lash

Ottawa, 28 June 2010: This evening Ottawa city council is to decide whether to privatize most of Lansdowne Park, a heritage jewel in the city core, for intense commercial and residential development. There are alternatives – to refurbish it and transform it into a world class green space and public activity area in the turn of the canal, referring to examples like the Tivoli, Central Park, Granville Island. The Council is divided on it geographically – while outer city councillors are in favour, the core city councillors oppose it, with many reasons.

The OSEG proposal isn't ready for decision. Last minute changes keep appearing. Its separate parts have never been seen whole or brought together in a master plan, as the City required before a decision. The governance for the complex long-term P3, up to 70 years for parts, hasn't been There's a motion to waive normal provisions that would require support for affordable housing. Traffic and transportation remain a huge problem. A related motion has appeared to have one of the OSEG developers also build a new trade centre to replace the function that would be lost from Lansdowne.

And Ottawa isn't ready to make a decision – there's no option yet that opponents and proponents can both live with.

The New Edinburgh Community Alliance (not near Lansdowne) calls community associations in Ottawa to join in getting Council to stop it, because the plan is deeply flawed, and the process is a dangerous precedent for all communities. A public meeting on Lansdowne last week was hosted by groups from around the city – the Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton, the Federation of Citizen's Associations, the Centretown Citizens Community Association, the Glebe Community Association, Kanata-Beaverbrook Community Association, the Old Ottawa East Community Association, the Old Ottawa South Community Association, and from Manotick.

An open design competition for the whole site was stopped midstream by the City Manager, to give prior consideration to a proposal the mayor had been discussing with big developers in Ottawa. The four partners in the sole-source development group, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), are Roger Greenberg (Minto), John Ruddy (Trinity Development Group), Bill Shenkman (another major developer in Ottawa), and Jeff hunt (owner of Ottawa 67s).

Tim Lash is an Ottawa resident with a graduate degree in Environmental Studies (York U).

Links and sources
  Lets Get It Right website
  Ottawa Citizen story

Posted: June 28, 2010

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