Former Bay councillor Alex Cullen tells why he voted against the Lansdowne project:
I was on City Council when this deal was made, and opposed it from the start on two grounds:
- It was (and still is) a huge public subsidy to support a private for-profit business venture, nominally to re-establish a CFL football franchise in Ottawa but morphing into event management of a major sporting and entertainment facility not to mention commercial and residential development;
- The size and scale of event activity at this site could not be supported by transportation infrastructure (roads, parking, transit) serving this site – indeed, the city’s official plan clearly requires such a site to be located on or by either a provincial highway (i.e. the Queensway) or by the Transitway.
OSEG was able to cash in on the city’s desire to refurbish a deteriorating facility and the popular desire to have a CFL football team back in town. It demanded full control of the whole public facility and the opportunity for commercial and residential development on the public land in order to minimize its risk and maximize its return to its investors. Unfortunately the city – both mayor, a majority on council and city staff – agreed to this, which is tantamount to a huge public subsidy to support a private for-profit enterprise.
And if it happened here, then what portends for the NHL Senators and their desire for a new arena on LeBreton Flats? Many who voted for the OSEG-Lansdowne deal are still on this city council.
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