Published on August 3, 2011 7:43 PM by dbo.
The Lansdowne Park Conservancy (LPC) today issued a press release of 15 issues that they believe need to be argued before the court. Originally their argument was the city didn’t follow their own policy regarding hearing procurement complaints. Of the 15 issues stated, 14 have nothing to do with not having their proposal reviewed by the city and the other is about the city acting unreasonably or in bad faith, which has already been ruled on (but not from a second proposal perspective). Instead, they focus on the merits of their proposal versus the OSEG plan the city has developed with OSEG over the last three years.
Changing their tact from arguing they weren’t getting their due hearing to arguing details of the proposals, the LPC grasps at its issues. As noted, their first point on Supreme Court precedent is not properly researched, is not the opinion of the court and there is plenty of opposing court opinions since.
They lack an understanding of the CFL conditional franchise granted OSEG, which grants them a franchise when they acquire a lease. If they do not sign a lease, they are not contractually bound to field a team, in fact the conditional franchise expires and has been extended by the CFL a couple times I believe. They can choose to not sign a stadium lease with the city if the details can not be agreed upon. I don’t know OSEG”s intentions, for if they are committed to Ottawa football, they would sign any agreeable lease to allow football to return. I only seek to clarify how the conditional franchise agreement works in my understanding.
They also note the historical franchise rights do not extend to the Lansdowne Park land. Again, I believe they are spinning claims. The argument has been used that the historical presence of a stadium overrides community claims that a stadium was being placed in their park. The fact that the city decided to enter into a partnership and partially develop the park is a fiscal one, not due to rights owed to the franchise owners and I have read no information that such rights were being claimed.
In the end, LPC’s proposal has never been serious (the believe they are, and have done a good job being out of their element, but LPC has had no consideration outside their own group). Initially submitted with two options (pdf of text of original Ottawa Citizen article), with full and half stadium options last year, they were way late in the game and their continuing revisions, while improvements, did not make the proposal any earlier. Try explaining to any organization that accepts applications with a deadline that though I am late, since they haven’t announced their decision, they can still consider my proposal. You will find out pretty quickly that deadlines do matter.
LPC’s only mandate is to prevent development on the park. They have no expertise, experience or background to see their plan through, and management of the plan would rely on the city, provincial organizations and external management companies to see it through. That has to be a factor for the city. It would be a waste of time to consider LPC and greater yet to accept their proposal, because then the details would need to fall into place. All of the assumptions by LPC in the proposal for funding, design, budget, etc. would have to be vetted by the city. If LPC’s proposal had come in 2006 it could have been something to build on. Instead, delivered only as a response to the two years of debate ending with the OSEG partnership, it is too late. In 2008 the city said they would not seek additional stadium proposals, but let’s not forget the city did review another stadium proposal for Kanata and rejected it. The current plan has undergone extensive scrutiny, review and changes. Where was LPC during these years? What is in it for the city to even review a proposal in the early stages when they are so far developed with the current one? There were issues with the process, but throw out the baby with the bathwater?
There is no money behind LPC. They have more money to spend on the legal fight that they will put into the development of the plan, stadium and park. Like the Friends of Lansdowne group they will use all methods possible to derail and delay the project. It is hard to see any high ideals of fiscal responsibility, conservancy and democracy in their arguments when they ignore reality. It may not be agreeable to all, but increased commercial and residential expansion does affect citizens, however governments will always be looking for additional development opportunities and will not pass up a deal that expands that base for one that doesn’t. Politicians work to expand tax bases, increase employment and otherwise improve the economy, full stop. That is progress. You cannot live in a city of a million people and not have it. Anyone with a memory of the last 30 years in an urban setting can see it, some are more bothered by progress than others. Ultimately, the city considered the LPC proposal when it chose not to consider it, giving it the consideration it deserved.