CFL Looks At Lansdowne Model For Halifax: Whopper Watch

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“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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2 thoughts on “CFL Looks At Lansdowne Model For Halifax: Whopper Watch

  1. I apologize up front for the length of this but I did the best I could.

    1) I agree that the city of Halifax needs to some serious homework before seriously considering Lansdowne as any kind of model for their stadium development, but the end result – even if imperfect – is much better than what was there before.

    2) The Lynx failed because Ottawa just isn’t a baseball town. There’s support for minor ball, but unless the Blue Jays are winning that’s really it. I do not believe that AA ball would have done any better here in the long run. The baseball stadium should be downsized for community and minor league use, but not demolished.

    3) Melynk did not propose a “small stadium” for an MLS team, it would have been just as large as TD Place. The city gave fair consideration to his proposal and decided they’d rather redevelop Lansdowne.

    4) The city (yes led by Watson) did however insult him by not giving his casino proposal any fair evaluation. I completely understand Melnyk’s anger over this. I hope the city realizes the LeBreton proposal can be a way to make up for the insult, but I can’t say if that means the city should offer to help clean up contaminated federal land.

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    1. Duke:

      Always good to hear from you … you’re becoming the sports critic.

      1. The city poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the stadium. Any money from the waterfall has been delayed for a number of years. That’s a lot of money for no return;

      2. We lost the Lynx because Howard Darwin wouldn’t advertise the team and the city took away its parking lot. A stadium beside a freeway almost without a parking lot. Hmmm;

      3. TD Place by modern standards is a small stadium;

      4. I agree.

      cheers and thx

      kgray

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