Published on August 29, 2009 12:39 PM by dbo.
After a quiet summer the Lansdowne Park redevelopment plan discussion has ramped up again as the Tuesday, September 1 reveal date for the city and Lansdowne Live! co-operative plan approaches. In a final flurry of proposals, plans and opinions, the past week has provided some glimpses of the city’s plans as well as alternative plans from those opposing the city’s direction.
On Thursday Ottawa councillor Clive Doucet unveiled an alternative plan for Lansdowne Park by architect Lester Johnson, which features keeping the hockey arena but removing the football stands and field in favour of much more park space, a canal and space for the farmer’s market. The plan also includes townhouses, shops and apartments along with underground parking.
This alternative plan suffers from the same issues as other plans: the lack of parking and mixing residential and commercial space in the park. The canal plan also doesn’t provide for the same amount of uses of the park, with the farmer’s market used in the summer, the arena in the winter and the open-air theatre and green space likely a few times a year. While there is nothing wrong with this vision of the park, it has one major flaw — it has no development or city backing. There is no suggestion as to who pays for what in terms of development and long-term maintenance of the park. The opposition to the park was always criticized for not putting forward an alternative plan. They now have an architect’s vision, but no plan for costs and cost-sharing possibilities. In takes very little to effort to create a vision on paper for a new park or stadium, but until you have also looked at the economics of it, architectural plans are a dime a dozen, any group can produce one.
Meanwhile, the city and Lansdowne Live! redesign plans are being completed. Some details of what the plan will encompass have been announced by councillor Rick Chiarelli, including expanding the scope to the whole park, not just the Bank Street side. The farmer’s market will play a prominent role along with restaurants. The city’s contribution will be capped at $50 million, their cost to upkeep the existing park if nothing was done. Capping the city’s cost has to be seen as a big win for the plan compared to alternative plans where the city may have to be on the hook for developing and maintaining all the green space of the park along with the arena, which is surely to exceed $50 million over time.
Also revealed earlier this week was the status of bringing USL soccer to the new stadium. The negotiations are serious enough that the stadium plans have been adjusted, requiring additional demolition to accommodate the soccer sized field.
The revised plans will, naturally, have the support of the city officials, councillors and developers who were involved with their creation. Support of the whole city and council will be more difficult. For it can be expected that the opposition from Glebe neighbourhood will remain no matter what the plan provides as long as the stadium still exists. As with this post on the alternative plan from the opposition on The Bulldog, a commenter fails to even read the article before launching into a dressing down of Ken Gray for posting something in support of the Lansdowne Live! plan. Unfortunately we are all stubborn, on the defensive and afraid to compromise on issues we believe in during our lives.