Watson Has Killed NHL Hockey In Ottawa

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Bruce Webster 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #738630 Reply

    Ken Gray

    Your agent told you this would happen and guess what? It happened.

    The City of Ottawa bent over backwards to build a new stadium for its “partners” Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group and is still waiting for significant revenue from its investment … down the road … someday … maybe not. Furthermore City of Ottawa staff, flying in the face of a council decision, unilaterally killed an international design competition to create a new Lansdowne. That was woefully improper.

    Instead, the city sole-sourced Lansdowne to a group of local developers.

    But for the Ottawa Senators it won’t even honour its own brownfields program that would pick up half of the $170 million necessary to clean up LeBreton Flats. And it doesn’t want to take on a bunch of fancy parks. And it wants the Senators to pay for the extra transit required for the games. Kind of sounds like the interchange the hockey team had to pay for on Highway 417 so that people could access the Canadian Tire Centre.

    When did hockey teams have to pay for public infrastructure?

    The city, as a partner in Lansdowne, has a horrible conflict-of-interest. Interestingly the Senators arena at LeBreton would be in direct competition with the programming at Lansdowne. In direct competition with the City of Ottawa.

    Lansdowne is the gift that keeps on giving. It divided the city in its planning and is now threatening the future of the giant LeBreton Flats development.

    Why is the city favouring Lansdowne over LeBreton?

    Well there is the aforementioned conflict of interest in the partnership. Mayor Jim Watson and Senators owner Eugene Melnyk don’t get along after Watson refused to hold a promised RFP for a casino that Melnyk wanted a piece of. Instead Watson sole-sourced the casino to Rideau-Carleton Raceway then blamed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for the problems because she wouldn’t allow a second casino for the Ottawa. Yes just what Ottawa and Gatineau need … a third casino. Wynne and OLG were right in not allowing a third casino in the area because an economic case for it couldn’t be made.

    So Melnyk was overlooked on his MLS pro soccer project by the city in favour of Lansdowne and was not allowed to bid on a promised casino RFP.

    Now the city isn’t honouring its own brownfields program at a cost to the LeBreton project of an extra $85 million.

    Why does this keep happening to the Senators? Well Watson doesn’t like Melnyk or the National Capital Commission. Watson is a partner with OSEG which directly competes with Melnyk and the CTC. The Lansdowne partners are part of the Ottawa old boys network while Melnyk is not. Watson and city council owe a lot of favours.

    With the city backing out of its responsibilities at LeBreton, the municipal government is putting that entire project and the Ottawa Senators in jeopardy.

    People have been saying that the city should not give money to the Senators but now it is not even honouring its brownfield commitment to LeBreton that every two-bit developer in town gets. It’s punitive. It is improper and unethical.

    If the Senators can’t move downtown, NHL hockey in Ottawa is dead. The Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata doesn’t work anymore. It is very poorly located and tough for fans to get to. That is reflected in empty seats for games.

    What Watson is doing by throwing the Senators and LeBreton the brownfields anchor is killing the redevelopment, the Senators and getting revenge on the NCC that Watson hates so much. He has made a political career of hating the NCC.

    Don’t let Watson turn this into supporting public money for professional sports. He’s already poured tens of millions of dollars into the Redblacks’ stadium.

    No. Instead Watson isn’t giving the Senators anything that every other developer in the city has received. That’s not extra money. That’s a civic program to clean up brownfields. The Senators and LeBreton deserve that money as much as all the businesses in Bells Corners which are receiving that money now for redevelopment of polluted lands.

    What Watson is doing is killing the Senators, the LeBreton project and getting back at his old enemy, the NCC.

    If the Senators leave Ottawa and with them NHL hockey, there will only be one person to blame … Mayor Jim Watson.

    Senators fans should start to express their outrage for this is an outrage.

    And they should remember this when they go to the polls next year.

    There are a lot of Senators fans in Ottawa.

    #738638 Reply

    The Voter

    Looks like the basis for a campaign plank in the platform of a new mayoralty candidate.

    Who’s ready to pick this up?

    It’s another reason why Watson should not be given carte blanche to ‘negotiate’ with the NCC and RLG around the LeBreton site. The NCC and the Sens group should be preparing their development and bringing it forward to the city through the normal channels just like any other development would be handled. Even if Watson wasn’t in such an egregious conflict of interest, it’s inappropriate for him to have his nose in a development proposal before it is presented to the city. This is particularly so when that may include proprietary information that wouldn’t otherwise be disclosed to the partner of OSEG who are the Sens’ competition.

    His Council lackeys, of course, chose not to see this and allow him to have whatever he wants. Some of them need replacing too.

    #738640 Reply

    Ken Gray

    The Voter:

    Watson brings his personal biases into public policy.

    That’s wrong.

    He has just alienated tens of thousands of Senators fans. Remember the crowds on Sens mile?

    I just talked to an old political hand who thinks this could bring Watson down in the next municipal election.

    Watson thinks he’s so smart but he has bitten off more than he can chew.

    He just made a fatal political mistake.

    Watson will be known as the man who killed the Senators.

    He better find a new city in which to live. Because people here will make his life miserable.

    Hockey isn’t a sport in Ottawa … it’s a religion.



    #738642 Reply

    Bob LeDrew

    Remind me again how the Flames did in Calgary’s election? IMO, people don’t take well to threats levelled by billionaires.

    All of that in no way changes my hearty wish that a legitimate candidate appears to challenge Watson. God knows he needs it.

    #738645 Reply

    Ken Gray


    With respect, you just drank the Watson Kool-Aid and what worries me is that if a bright and informed person like you just did it, what will voters do who follow municipal politics a couple of days a year?

    This is not about subsidizing the Senators. The Senators have not asked for money to build the arena.

    RLG is asking for the same program that every other developer gets when they build on polluted land.

    How can you deny RLG that money when every other developer gets it?

    This isn’t about city finances. Watson has already ruined those. Why do you think the city is delaying and delaying on building overpasses on deadly level crossings north of Barrhaven?

    This is about Watson trying to find a way of putting a stick in the spokes of two old personal enemies … Sens owner Eugene Melnyk and the National Capital Commission.

    The mayor is taking personal fights into the realm of public policy and that is just dead wrong.

    The mayor and city manager Steve Kanellakos get sole authority to negotiate a deal. Why is that necessary? Doesn’t he not trust his hyper-pro-development planning committee?

    Watson is asking for sole authority because he wants to impose his personal agenda on public policy.

    And his personal agenda will kill the Ottawa Senators because he and Melnyk don’t get along.

    The Senators in a variety of ways, such as international civic publicity, are critical to the well-being of Ottawa and its economy.

    Let Watson take his act to Madison Square Gardens and see how many people show up.

    But tens of thousands of people in the most important economic city in the world have Ottawa on their lips for three hours. It’s probably the only time they will.

    Let’s see Ottawa Tourism buy that kind of advertising. It can’t.



    #738659 Reply

    Jay Topland

    Why do you write this garbage? Got nothing better to do? Get a real job.

    #738667 Reply


    Hi there Jay,
    Why did you read this stuff? Why did you bother to comment?

    Ken is pointing out that there is a conflict of interest.

    The city shot itself in the foot.

    When the city became a partner in a for-profit business it lost its neutrality. The city can not now defend its partnership against competitors by treating its partnership’s interests differently than it treats the competition.

    The city put itself in this conflict of interest position and now it must stay out of the negotiations.

    #738682 Reply

    Robert roberts

    I am not interested in professional sports. I find it difficult to cheer for a corporation. Amateur sports Yes. With professional sports the dollars become the main thing. We are supposed to feel badly because ticket sales are down for the Sens. I feel bad that Sears is closing, workers are getting screwed. If Sens sales are down it means that a million or so dollars may be knocked off each of the celebrity players. With amateurs, the game is the thing. With corporate professionals the bottom line is the thing.
    Lansdowne was wrong.

    #738689 Reply

    The Voter

    If RLG isn’t eligible for the remediation grants for polluted land, I’d like to see the list of all the other developers on the Flats that have been refused the same grants. That would include the development that’s on the triangle on the other side of Wellington bounded by Wellington, the O-Train tracks and the City Centre property. Then let’s have a list of all the developments in the City that have received the grants over the last five years and what amount they got. I’d also like to see the reasons that RLG would be ineligible.

    #738720 Reply

    Bruce Webster

    The Sens are still in most people’s view a valuable viable vibrant part of Ottawa … just not so much to Watson.


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