Top Ten Reasons Why We Need Proper Consultation on the Future of Lansdowne

Last summer, city staff were tasked with coming up with a plan to rejuvenate Lansdowne Park, with a specific focus on the development of new north side stands and a new event centre. As part of that work, city council directed staff to hold public consultations on how we could rejuvenate Lansdowne.

Unfortunately, those public consultations did not happen.

This month, city council is receiving the staff proposal for the future of Lansdowne, and council will decide how we will proceed on this large, important project.

Here are the Top Ten reasons we need proper consultation on the future of Lansdowne Park:

  1. City debt and the sale of air rights. staff were tasked with a Herculean task to come back with a plan for the $332.6M project that would be “revenue neutral”. This project will require the city taking on over $500 million in debt and interest payments over 40 years. This is a significant amount of money, and part of it will be paid for by selling-off of a highly-valuable city asset, the air rights along the south side of Exhibition Way.
  2. The loss of millions in property taxes: but selling air rights won’t cover the entire cost of the project. To pay for the rest of it, staff have proposed devoting 90% of the estimated property tax revenue from the proposed development to the debt servicing fees. But condos don’t pay property taxes, people do. The residents living at Lansdowne will still require city services—water and sewer, transit, libraries, etc.—yet only 10% of their property taxes will help fund these services. And, of course, the Lansdowne re-development will not create new city residents, just change where people are living, so the development won’t create any new taxpayers to pay for this project.
  3. Prioritizing private profit before public benefit: the impetus behind this project is to create a new event centre and new north side stands, and, consequently, the staff report focuses on these projects, as well as the proposed towers that we hope will pay for the project, however, there is insufficient discussion regarding much-needed improvements to the public realm that would offer significant benefits to residents visiting the site. We need a plan that benefits both private corporations and the residents of Ottawa.
  4. The loss of 58 000 square feet of public green space: the new event centre is proposed for the east end of the stadium, and it would encroach on the berm and Great Lawn by 50 meters. The event centre would be sunken with a green roof, but the roof would be inaccessible, taking away a significant portion of greenspace for residents to use.
  5. Forty-storey towers proposed in an area without proper LRT or BRT connections: the three proposed towers would reach heights exceeding 30 and 40 storeys, with a total of 1200 units. These are figures that would normally be associated with Transit-Oriented Development, but Lansdowne Park does not have an LRT stop and Bank Street does not have Bus Rapid Transit.
  6. The legal risks: the first Lansdowne rejuvenation project led to multiple legal challenges, settlements and binding agreements. Forty-storey towers would almost certainly violate these agreements. Before we make these plans, we need to make sure we have the legal right to follow through with them.
  7. Lack of proper transportation network improvements: the addition of 1200 residential units and the desire for additional events coming to Lansdowne would put significant pressure on the local transportation network that already consistently fails to service Lansdowne properly. With additional parking, we will see more and more people drive to the site, yet Bank Street and the surrounding streets cannot handle this increase. Any development of such degree must be accompanied by a proper transportation plan that will help shift the modal share away from private automobiles to sustainable transportation, especially public transit.
  8. No action on motor vehicle traffic around Aberdeen Square: the Aberdeen Pavillion is the heart of Lansdowne Park, and Aberdeen Square is the main pedestrian gathering place. Currently, traffic binds Aberdeen Square on three sides, often using the square for parking. This makes the square less accessible, less attractive, less comfortable and less safe for pedestrians. A rejuvenated Lansdowne Park should eliminate cut-through traffic around Aberdeen Square, while maintaining emergency and delivery vehicle access.
  9. The proposed affordable housing isn’t affordable housing: last year, council asked staff to include affordable housing in the proposal. Due to financial constraints, the staff report proposed 10% of units in the proposed towers be priced at “Average Market Rents”. Such a standard would not meet the standard definition of affordable: monthly rent would not exceed 30% of the gross income for those in the lowest 30% of income distribution.
  10. We’ve made these mistakes before: the original Lansdowne rejuvenation project was supposed to pay for itself…in fact, it was supposed turn a profit for the city. Sadly, both the city and OSEG had to spend more money than expected, and we never saw the profits we were promised. Without transparency and input from the public, we’re liable to make the same mistakes we made a decade ago, and that’s not acceptable. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it right this time…and that begins with full, robust public consultation.

 

Showing 9 comments

  • DH
    Daniel Harris
    ()
    Flag

    Michael Bishop is right. Point #2 is dead wrong.

    We are in a housing CRISIS. We need as much housing as fast as we can get it. And, yes, that will increase property taxes. It is almost bad faith arguing to propose that it will not. Do you think other houses will go vacant because of this? Do you not realise that Ottawa’s population has been rising faster than our housing supply, and that is why housing prices are ridiculous?

    1. is complicated. If 10% is the best that we can do with financial constraints, that’s still good. Any housing will reduce rent. It’s better to build as much housing as we can than wait for an affordable option that may never come: https://www.lewis.ucla.edu/research/market-rate-development-impacts/


    I am definitely concerned about the lack of transit and the debt burden on the city. But the fact that 2 points on a list of 10 are against all the research

  • CJ
    Catherine Johns
    ()
    Flag

    I am appalled by this proposal and the fact that the City is even considering it. Signs of a scam are when the scammer is wanting money, wants it kept secret (no competition or consultation), the proposal seems to good to be true, a decision is urgent. This was OSEG’s process 13 years ago. The profits promised have not materialized.

    Any project worth doing, is worth taking the time to do properly, with full and thorough consultation. If the public are consulted and accept the proposal they will buy in, else they will boycott.

    $333 million will go a long way to rebuild the derelict Ottawa Community Housing, get people out of motels, and homeless off the street.

  • Michael Bishop 🇨🇦🇺🇸
    Michael Bishop 🇨🇦🇺🇸
    ()
    Flag

    Regarding your reason 2: “And, of course, the Lansdowne re-development will not create new city residents, just change where people are living, so the development won’t create any new taxpayers to pay for this project.”

    Actually, building higher density housing does increase the number of city residents. Sure, some will move from other areas of the city, but then their previous residence could be filled with someone from further away (often someone who couldn’t afford to live in a new building). Increasing density is also the most environmentally beneficial thing the city can do.

    There may be things about this proposal that should be improved but more housing is a very good thing. Many people in the Glebe are willing to sacrifice some inconvenience for the benefit of others.

  • DC
    Dr. Denis Caro
    ()
    Flag

    Ten excellent reasons for the need for public consultations and over 300,000,000 reasons this Lansdowne proposal should not be approved!

  • Shawn Menard
    Shawn Menard
    ()
    published this page in News & Updates 2022-05-18 09:14:34 -0400
  • BG
    Barb Grisdale
    ()
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    Appalled by the proposal, by the city’s giving it any consideration and by the lack of thorough public consultation. What is already running a deficit with shops being empty at times for years and replaced with cheaper businesses (cinnamon buns?) will now become crowded, increase high traffic congestion on Bank, create a wind tunnel, become even less user friendly and cost the city a bundle does not appear to be the ideal solution to what is already an unsuccessful venture.

  • CM
    Catherine Marquis
    ()
    Flag

    I am often at TD place for various reasons. I’ve seen only a few sporting events that fill up the stadium. Athletico games only partially fill the south stands, regular RB games don’t fill the space either. There are a number of empty shops, and whatever is there is not as interesting as some of the shops and long standing businesses on Bank St. This project will finish killing off small businesses in the rest of the Glebe, to be replaced by uninteresting franchises…. And, Bank St is not designed to take on more traffic. Like it or not, active transportation will not be what is expected. People will want parking, will want to drive since this is not on the LRT route. The little green space that residents can enjoy will further be encroached on, and the supposedly green roofs will not replace that. There is so much more to say. The City should listen carefully to their residents before going ahead with this project. The way in which this project is being shoved down the residents throat is insulting, disrespectful and selfish. but then again, they also decided to put up a parking lot for the Civic at the experimental farm…

  • CR
    Christina Rudin-Brown
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    Flag

    The Plan states that “To be successful, the sustainability of the Lansdowne Master Partnership Agreement (LMLP) depends largely on attracting visitors to the site with a base target of 5 million visitors per year.”

    On reflection, that means 14,000 visitors per day (the Canadian Tire Centre holds about 19,000). There are currently 1,000 parking spots at Lansdowne.

    I just hope that someone is thinking about these things…

  • CF
    Chris Ferris
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    Flag

    The entertainment complex is a lure to attract the support of the suburban citizens. They don’t have to live with 1,200 new units and 40 story towers in their back yard. Build the 40 story buildings beside scotiabank place, at least there would be a transit connection. In this location it adds to the parking and transit nightmare on event days and reduces the livability of the neighbourhood.
    This doesn’t seem like a sustainable project. It will do more harm than good to the neighbourhood.
    The lack of public consultation is insulting.

  • CR
    Christina Rudin-Brown
    ()
    Flag

    The Plan states that “To be successful, the sustainability of the Lansdowne Master Partnership Agreement (LMLP) depends largely on attracting visitors to the site with a base target of 5 million visitors per year.”
    That is an awful lot of people for a city the size of Ottawa.
    I am wondering if part of the unspoken plan is to fill those 3 towers with AirBNB apartments. That would raise other issues, I would imagine.

    Why is there nothing in the Plan about having a hotel at Lansdowne? That would attract visitors…

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