*Enter your postal code below to let City Council know that you are concerned with their plan to bailout the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), the city's P3 partner for operating Lansdowne
Rather than focusing on ways to make Lansdowne sustainable in consultation with the public, city staff are recommending a bailout package to OSEG with no public consultations, no business plan, and no public vision for the future of the park.
The staff proposal makes significant, long-term changes to the Landsowne Park deal. It would keep the city from realizing all the benefits of the deal for an extra ten years. This comes after a similarly rushed proposal last year to transfer operations, programming and city control of the remaining public space at Lansdowne. This step towards privatization of this great public asset was prevented thanks to a public that mobilized to protect Lansdowne Park.
This new proposal is being rushed through council amidst a global pandemic, a housing emergency, a climate emergency, and a crisis for local and small businesses. The city is proposing to take quick action for wealthy owners of OSEG, but there is no bailout for the rest of us, as the recently tabled draft 2021 city budget reveals. We need an alternative that puts people first in this city.
The Lansdowne Park deal is currently the city’s biggest source of debt besides LRT. The city put in $200 million dollars to the re-development of the project. We rent the stadium to OSEG for only $1 a year.
Lansdowne Park is a valuable public asset. It could be a thriving urban centre, but, so far, the deal struck between the city and OSEG has not brought as much life to this public space as hoped, and it has brought no financial returns to the city.
Now the city manager and mayor are pushing for a deal that will borrow 4.7 million from the site’s lifecycle renewal fund, extend this P3 deal by ten years, change the real estate lease conditions and remove the city’s ability to end that lease for convenience if it is in their best interest.
The history of Lansdowne is one of the public demanding that this public asset be used for public benefit, not private interests. We believe the public should be at the centre of any effort to re-imagine or revive Lansdowne Park.
The city needs to hold off on this decision until full, proper public consultations can be held. We need an honest reckoning on the state of the Lansdowne deal, and what will happen if we don’t agree to the OSEG Bailout.
Do we want to extend the deal for another ten years?
Do we want to give OSEG access to reserve funds?
Do we want to change the way the partnership works?
Do we want to lose more control over our public space?
These are questions the city never bothered to ask. Instead, they want to rush through a bailout package to OSEG—a package that doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
We want scrutiny. We want consultation. We want democracy.