Lansdowne Park redevelopment should be an election issue, adviser suggests

An Ottawa city councilor said decisions about the proposed renovation of Lansdowne Park should not be made by council’s outgoing term.

Com. Shawn Menard told CTV News at Five that the more than $330 million plan to rebuild the north side bleachers, the civic center, and add high-rise apartment buildings on the Glebe site should be debated in the municipal elections. .

“I think it should be debated in the election. I think there are a lot of good ideas here and a lot of questions too,” he said.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) unveiled its “Lansdowne 2.0” plan last week. The three-phase plan includes demolishing and rebuilding the aging civic center, dismantling and replacing the stadium stands on the north side, then building three residential towers, with a mix of condominiums, rental housing and affordable housing. .

The city’s finance and economic development committee (FEDCo) will review the plan at a special meeting this Friday.

Ménard said there has not yet been time for a public consultation.

“It was kind of like ‘shock and awe’ with Lansdowne because you only have seven days until the committee debates this $332 million deal and unfortunately we haven’t seen any consultation yet. public about it,” he said. “What we’re hoping for is that the committee can get a report and then do a public consultation to get people’s input on it without immediately making these hundreds of millions of dollars of decisions without having that input.”

Menard, who represents the neighborhood that contains Lansdowne Park, says the plan contains some good ideas, but there are issues that need to be addressed.

“Affordable housing, I looked into it, it’s actually not affordable, unfortunately. Transportation plans in this area, you know what Bank Street looks like, it’s congested,” Menard explained. “These are the kinds of things that we need to talk about and debate and get that feedback from the staff so that we can improve this plan even further. I hope it’s an election issue; it should be.”

The report prepared for Friday’s FEDCo meeting indicates that 10% of the proposed units would be affordable housing, estimated at 120 apartments. According to the report, “affordable housing,” for the purposes of this development, is defined as rental housing whose monthly rent does not exceed the citywide average market rent per unit type. The report estimates rents would be between 80% of average market rent and 35% above average, which it says is still “significantly lower than market rents charged for comparable rental units in the area. “.

Menard also thinks the city needs to be upfront about the cost.

“New buildings there will not be what will pay for it. It’s debt,” Ménard said. “We have to talk about what we need here. Obviously a civic center and a few booths would be nice there. Three 40-storey towers? Well, without affordable housing, that’s something we really need to think about. I would like to see more affordable housing. We’re going to sell public land, make sure there’s real affordable housing there, and work out a deal to make this site work well in terms of transportation.

Menard hosted a Zoom chat Monday night to discuss the plan with community groups and residents.

One of the main criticisms from community groups concerned the lack of public consultation before an agreement in principle, as highlighted in the report before FEDCo.

The city’s chief planning, infrastructure and economic development manager, Steve Willis, assured those in attendance that the report Friday before FEDCo was not a final approval vote.

“It all depends on a series of approvals that won’t happen this term of the board,” he said.

Willis said the city hopes it will already be in the public consultation stage, but negotiations have been complex.

The report prepared for the May 6 meeting, if approved, would see FEDCo recommend that the board approve the Lansdowne Partnership Sustainability Plan and Implementation Report, which includes the recommended concept plan presented by the OSEG, Affordable Housing Goals and Funding Strategy.

It would also direct staff to launch a citywide public consultation and start the rezoning process.

“The language of the report gives the impression that this is a final decision, but it’s far from it,” Willis said. “There is at least a year and a half of work, minimum, ahead of us.”

The special FEDCo meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Friday. Approvals at that meeting still have to go to the full city council on May 25.

Leave a Comment