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This proposal for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park is a bad move for the environment. But beyond that, it’s a financially risky and unaffordable plan in light of several critical yet significantly underfunded City priorities, like responding to climate change, fixing public transit, and supporting affordable housing.
Here are some points to consider:
- The project, aimed at rescuing the underperforming Lansdowne Partnership, will cost $419.1 million and incur $312.7 million in public debt. Its financial success depends on the profitability of the retail leasing, yet profit projections for this key business line have not been well substantiated.
In relocating the arena, Lansdowne 2.0 will remove 50,000 ft2 of greenspace in what is currently a public park, in a part of town significantly underserved by parks. Hundreds of new residents and even larger numbers of visitors to the site will ultimately mean increased competition for this smaller plot of recreational greenspace.
- Reduced greenspace on the site also reduces climate resiliency, in particular with respect to counteracting the heat island effect, absorbing rainwater and mitigating climate change.
- The transportation concerns posed by this large development in an already highly congested part of the city – with inadequate public transit service and far from an LRT station – have not been addressed. Active and zero-carbon transportation has not been prioritized. Rather, this is an outdated, car-centric proposal that will encourage continued transport emissions: 336 car-parking stalls are being proposed, mainly for the high-rise residents.
- With the construction of the new arena, north stands and high-rises, it does not appear that there are plans to require anything beyond the minimum LEED standard for building sustainability. An earlier proposed green roof for the arena has been deemed too expensive. Surely this represents a significant missed opportunity to green Ottawa’s built environment and showcase Lansdowne as a net-zero model of sustainability.
- The plan requires disturbing and relocating the 10-metre high berm of contaminated soil, with little information made available as to the environmental impact or costs associated with doing so.
- Lansdowne 2.0 proposes to tear down commercial buildings that were newly built during the project’s first phase a decade ago, representing a tremendous waste of resources. The plan to destroy the north side stands and arena in order to rebuild is likewise problematic. Even if imperfect, the lifespans of these structures could be extended, and significant construction waste avoided, by making necessary repairs only.
The Lansdowne 2.0 project is deeply unpopular among Ottawans. The Federation of Community Associations of Ottawa, representing 70 community and civic associations city-wide,
Make your voice heard too on this important decision, which will have lasting repercussions for the city.
Phone or email the Mayor and councillors on the two committees and let them know your thoughts.
- Bring your friends, placards and noisemakers to the Better Lansdowne Rally: an Alternative for Lansdowne Park on November 2 at 8:45 am at City Hall (before the 9:30 Committee meeting).
- Register to speak (for up to five minutes) on Lansdowne 2.0 (item 3.1 on the agenda) at the Joint Committee meeting on November 2 by contacting the committee coordinator, Melinda Aston, at (613) 580-2424, ext. 21838, or [email protected].
This isn’t a done deal. Council is split on the issue and it could be a close vote. Let’s hold City officials accountable on Lansdowne 2.0!
Kate Reekie is a board member of Ecology Ottawa.