Watson’s LeBreton Sole Authority Whoppers




Perhaps we should call this segment Whopper Watson.

Here are the major flaws in Mayor Jim Watson’s statement from April 12 seeking sole civic authority for himself and city manager Steve Kanellakos to negotiate the redevelopment of the LeBreton lands with the National Capital Commission and RendezVous LeBreton Group which has Senators owner Eugene Melnyk as a part of it.

To read the statement in full, click here. The quotes are from the document and The Bulldog’s responses are between them:

The mayor seeks to represent the City in those discussions to ensure that the best interests of the City of Ottawa and its taxpayers are represented during the redevelopment of one of the most noteworthy land areas available for development in Ottawa’s downtown core.”

The city has a long history of fiscal mismanagement under the Watson administration and has not represented the best interests of Ottawa’s taxpayers. During Watson’s term the city has rolled up the largest operating and accumulated deficits in the history of the municipality. As for representing the best interests of the city, The Bulldog would recommend that readers consult the website’s city screw-up page by clicking here.

“The Mayor will also work with the Ottawa Senators organization, West End councillors, businesses and residents to ensure that appropriate options are being developed to help make up for the potential economic loss to Stittsville, Kanata and the West End of Ottawa, should the Canadian Tire Centre be relocated.”

When has the mayor successfully worked with the Senators? On the team’s casino bid? On getting a Major League Soccer franchise and stadium?

Photo above: Controversial LeBreton Flats.

“The mayor asked City staff to prepare a report outlining Council’s vision and setting a mandate for future negotiations …”

Council’s vision? Perhaps that’s to approve every development that comes its way. Its vision includes doing every knee-jerk thing the mayor asks for. Vision? Not likely.

” … delegated authority for both the mayor and city manager to enter into discussions moving forward.”

Why? What’s wrong with the process in place now? The lack of process is what caused the enormous problems with Lansdowne and the public. Do we want to repeat that?

“The report will also identify the potential long-term city-building benefits of the redevelopment, including a more viable transit system, an increase in environmental sustainability and a more prosperous and vibrant core.”

Great. A city report will identify these factors. A grade-school child could do that. This is bureaucratic bafflegab designed to put a pretty facade on a Watson power-grab.

“The City will encourage an open dialogue of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment by offering opportunities for feedback and public consultation.”

The city has repeatedly ignored or disregarded public input. Mooney’s Bay playground immediately comes to mind. A public process was put in place once the playground was approved.

Come on.



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3 thoughts on “Watson’s LeBreton Sole Authority Whoppers

  1. These are all lovely points that Watson is making. However surely the time to think up the City’s vision for Lebreton and talking about “city-building” there is long gone. The redevelopment of Lebreton has been on the table for literally decades including the time Watson was mayor of the old City of Ottawa. Where was he then and since? The current iteration of planning for Lebreton has been going on for years. Where has his vision-seeking been all this time? This is what we call closing the barn door after the horse is long gone.
    The most amusing bit is the one about “a more viable transit system”. Is he saying we have a non-viable transit system?? Really? What are all those photo ops about?
    I have a great suggestion on that transit thing – why don’t we think about running a bus line or two near the site? Maybe one right along Wellington/Scott and another up Preston Street? An even better idea – let’s think about developing a train system and have it go right through the Lebreton lands with a stop close to the Sens location? I think that’s brilliant and am surprised nobody thought of it before.
    Oh, wait a minute! What’s this I hear about an LRT that will be on-site and operational long before the Sens get there? In fact, it will offer its passengers a lovely view of the construction of the new arena and all the other additions to the site. If you like, you can ride Bob Chiarelli’s O-Train to the site right now!
    Of course, the good people of Kanata are losing one of their arguments to get the LRT extended to the about-to-be-extinct Canadian Tire Centre since the action’s moving downtown. But Watson to the rescue!! He’s going to work with people he’s never worked with before to save the day! Please …

  2. What’s the purpose of asking for a report to tell you about benefits you already know?

    “The report will also identify the potential long-term city-building benefits of the redevelopment, including a more viable transit system, an increase in environmental sustainability and a more prosperous and vibrant core.”

  3. “The mayor asked City staff to prepare a report outlining Council’s vision…”
    I just caught this bit now – the Mayor has already asked staff to prepare a report with Council’s ‘vision’ in it. Did I miss the Council meeting where Council articulated that ‘vision’? Or is it staff’s job to see visions on behalf of Council and translate them into words? Or … did Watson’s ask to staff perhaps include the outline of what that ‘vision’ would look like? Maybe he, as a dreamer, is taking his lead from Joel – ‘… your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’ (Joel 2:28).
    Given his usual M.O., my expectation is that the plan is for Watson’s vision, which will include him in a starring role, is being written up by staff so that it can become the vision of 50%+1 of Council. Expect to see a lovely photo of a group of smiling councillors surrounding the Mayor at the Lebreton site shortly either with vision in hand or perhaps gazing skywards. Do not expect to see Eugene Melnyk anywhere in that photo.


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