“But the great thing is we have this model that Ottawa used for the redevelopment of Lansdowne. There seems to be a lot of interest in Halifax in how that model works.”
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie on possible expansion to Halifax
Well, that’s easy. Here’s the Ottawa model.
Get the city to pay for the CFL Ottawa Redblacks’ stadium.
Then lease the most valuable empty civic land in the community to a business group over a period that lasts more than a lifetime for a shopping centre.
Then say the so-called expected waterfall of city money from Lansdowne is but a trickle for years down the road.
Then with the city as “partners” in Lansdowne, use taxpayers’ press releases to advertise events at Lansdowne at the expense of the only major league team in the city, the NHL Ottawa Senators.
Then the city’s mayor tells the Senators that the team, which wants to move downtown to survive, won’t receive millions of dollars of municipal brownfields money that every developer gets to use to pay for half of cleaning up polluted land. The downtown arena would create added competition to the Lansdowne partnership which includes the city.
Prior to that, the municipality denies the Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk civic help to build a small stadium for a Major League Soccer club, a franchise which, given the boom in MLS interest, could have become something very big for the community. Melnyk had the MLS franchise in the bag. Also Melnyk and some associates were denied the opportunity to bid on the location for the city’s new casino. That casino could have helped pay the bills for the troubled Senators franchise.
Mayor Jim Watson promised a RFP for the casino site, then went back on his word and sole-sourced it.
The city’s actions have put the Senators’ franchise in jeopardy. This is the same city that made it impossible for the International League Ottawa Lynx baseball club to survive in the nation’s capital.
So there you have it Mister CFL Commissioner. You want Halifax to use the Lansdowne model? Best of luck. God bless ya.
TD Place Stadium: Looks great from a distance … say from Halifax.
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