Here’s The Play-By-Play Of The Lansdowne Live Chat

Here is a transcript of the Tuesday evening live chat here on The Bulldog about Lansdowne. It starts with the last comment first so you might want to start from the bottom:

Good night and good luck.

  • Ken Gray :Thank you all for your participation. I hope we’ve moved the discussion forward. And these words are much appreciated here at Bulldog World Headquarters. Good night and good luck. k
  • The Voter : Are you kidding, Kosmo? I love your comments. Even when you’re wrong.
  • Ken Gray : If The Voter says we’re done, then it’s official.
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: I have no idea why they put up with me. Goodnight big guy.
  • Kosmo : Ya I’m out of here, 100% sens from here on in. Good night
  • The Voter : Aye aye, captain!
  • Kosmo : Ken, I need to thank you for letting me make these dumb uneducated comments on your site. And still let me come back. I feel blessed to be able to contribute with such elite members of our community.
  • Ken Gray : Folks: I think the discussion is diminishing. Do I hear ayes for coming to a conclusion?
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: That is hilarious.
  • Ken Gray : the Voter: You know HTN still runs like Watson is still running the joint.
  • Kosmo : The Voter, being a bit silly about the marathon comment. It takes a lot to run 26 miles and not being chased
  • The Voter : Jimbo just gave him the Happy Town News version of the joys and tribulations!
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: that’s funny … I think they’ve been talking.
  • Kosmo : The Voter, mayor Jimbo never warned him about the bad stuff.
  • The Voter : Kosmo, a lot of people who run marathons do it against themselves, not the rest of the field. They are trying to beat their own times and aren’t overly concerned with other people’s times. He may be one of those.
  • Ken Gray : The Voter: I saw that too and it didn’t seem like Mark. He must be feeling the pressure. It’s a tough job.
  • The Voter : I was really struck by a comment earlier this week in The Bulldog from someone in the Glebe. Sutcliffe was doing some door knocking and when the resident said he was opposed to Lansdowne as well as a few of his other projects, Sutcliffe’s demeanor changed. Maybe in his previous endeavours, he hasn’t come up against a lot of opposition. I don’t expect people were that distressed with what OBJ was about to press him on it.
  • Kosmo : Watching the game and they panned through the market and not a person in site
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: You know I”m just hip deep in money from this Bulldog venture. … well maybe not hip deep. Well maybe not at all. But it keeps me off the streets and causing trouble.
  • Kosmo : Funny not enough to be called mayor
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: People are like that sometimes. I’ve been opportunistic on occasion but not enough as I should have been. LOL
  • Kosmo : Marathons just means he has a lot of time on his hands
  • Kosmo : Very nice guy f0r sure made to be a politician. Very opportunistic.
  • Ken Gray : He’s a determined guy … you can tell from the marathons.
  • Ken Gray : Well I know a Mark a bit and he is a gentleman. A much better gentleman than your agent here.
  • Kosmo : Mayor Sutcliffe is a people pleaser and wants everybody to like him. And wants to come across as a business Saviour
  • Ken Gray : Yes, how are we feeling out there Bulldog contributors. I see it is 8 p.m. and that was the sign-off time but I’ll hang in here if you want to continue for a bit.
  • Evan : Not only footsie…city hall has been captured by them. In academia we call it ‘elite capture’ and this has happened in spades on Lansdowne 1 and 2. I have nothing against development because I develop real estate. But this stuff if beyond the pale. Really, really bad public policy. Embarrassingly bad. Now I really weill sign off, bye.
  • Ken Gray : Don’t know Voter but it might we worth a peek.
  • Alex Macaulay : thanks everyone, good night
  • The Voter : I haven’t checked the numbers but does anyone know how much Sutcliffe raised from OSEG-connected donors in his mayoral campaign?
  • Di McIntyre : Ken you are right- way to many deals made under the table.
  • Ken Gray : Briant: You can’t blame developers for being developers. Lions hunt, developers develop. The problem is that our city government in Ottawa plays footsie with them rather than keeping them under control.
  • Di McIntyre : I sang my message – check “Lansdowne follies the tonettes”
  • Evan : And I usually don’t get involved in municipal politics. But this time, the stuff has been so bad that I decided to step in as a citizen.
  • Alex Macaulay : just before sign off, it’s actually $437.7m, staff report sliced off in two components, most of project + parking stalls, but total is $437.7million with $17.7M annual debt repayments needed for 40 years.
  • Evan : Yup, this Lansdowne thing has stunk from the get go. It’s a total rip off and I’m tired of being lied to by City Hall about it with fake consultations and fake surveys. It’s been a total sham.
  • The Voter : I think Roger will be surprised to find out the number of diehard sports fans who don’t want to spend that kind of money and have the return go in his pocket.
  • Kosmo : I want a sens win tonight
  • briant : Greenberg is a developer doing what developers do; the problem for us is our City … Councils / Councillors. They made this deal ( on our behalf ! )
  • Ken Gray : Evan: See … both you and roger know what you want.
  • Evan : Nice guy or not. He wants that $419M from us. We can’t give it to him.
  • Di McIntyre : see you on the 2nd.
  • Ken Gray : I wouldn’t paint roger greenberg as a bad guy. He’s always been a gentleman to me. that said, like most of us, he knows what he wants.
  • Evan : Thanks everyone and see you on Nov. 2nd. Hope there is a really, really big crowd in the morning.
  • Evan : Last comment: OSEG and roger greenberg seem to think that their ‘silent majority’ of Ottawans who like sports will be enough to sway councilors to vote Yes.
  • Ken Gray : thank you Alex. Team Bulldog can take on the Redblacks any day.
  • The Voter : Golly gosh! Ken will be surprised to know I can still blush!
  • Alex Macaulay : “here” not “her” !
  • Alex Macaulay : The Voter is doing a great job, as is the entire Bulldog team. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss her.
  • Evan : That’s the other side of this. The influential persons collective is high credibility media source. Oseg can’t defend against this.
  • The Voter : Be my guest, Di. Sorry I’m giving you an extra step or two.
  • briant : there is something happening tomorrow in this regard: at least some the 6/7 highly credible authors of the letter to Mayor and Council regarding financial transparency will be holding a press conference, where they’ll have to tell us that they haven’t received the info ie. what they need from the City… other than what’s in the Staff Report(s)
  • Ken Gray : Don’t steer her away.
  • Ken Gray : The Voter is plenty busy writing good stuff for The Bulldog. don
  • Evan : The message has to be super simple. Call your Councilor to make sure that they vote for affordable housing, ambulance, and transit and not property tax increase to give 419M subsidy to developers at Lansdown.
  • Di McIntyre : thanks would be pleased to repost her messages.
  • The Voter : Di: No – sadly, it’s just too much to keep up with another means of communication.
  • Ken Gray : The Voter is a respected community activist who prefers to remain anonymous. She is also a vital part of this community and of the Bulldog.
  • Di McIntyre : curious to know who The Voter is- do you tweet?
  • The Voter : Ken
  • The Voter : One of the things that needs to happen asap is to have information prepared that is easily read and understood by the lay reader so that the average Ottawa resident can understand what’s being proposed. The campaigns being put forward by the City and OSEG are pretty slick and sound reasonable until you get the real truth. Most of us are up on municipal shenanigans to some extent and I think I can safely say that none of us really understand this whole thing. How is Joe or Josephine supposed to f
  • Ken Gray : You spell good, Kosmo.
  • Kosmo : Ken, is that a compliment ? My English no to good
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: you are insufferable and I love it.
  • Evan : Good.
  • Kosmo : No RedBlacks fan is taking a call from anyone at OSEG these days
  • Ken Gray : Voter: Many years ago my mother did die of a heart attack. On a hallway stretcher because there were no beds for her.
  • Evan : Thanks. Fight the good fight until the very in. You never know….
  • Ken Gray : RM: Thank you for participating. Enjoy dinner.
  • Evan : Mark Goudie is going to pull out all the stops now. He’s not only going to send emails to all 67 and redblack fans but he is going to have to take out ads eventually.
  • Di McIntyre : Thanks RM for leading the phone call charge!
  • RM : Folks, we need everyone to continue to with the messaging: the priorities are wrong with this money! Can we all mobilize/amplify this message,; continue to write blogs, OpEds, make calls. I have to sign off; dinner is awaiting. Thanks!
  • Ken Gray : Voter: I hate it when you are right. LOL
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I don’t know if everyone agrees. I think OSEG might differ.
  • Evan : So everyone agrees: you have to stick the $419 (call it half bil) in the Councilors faces for next 10 days.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I think they are already feeling the heat. Some of them are actually responding to logic. We can’t afford $419 million for Lansdowne.
  • The Voter : The real problem is the logjam in ER where the ambulance crew can’t transfer their patient to hospital staff and get back on the road for the next call. Since the province has refused for years to correct this, paramedics are looking to other logical solutions since there are now way too many times when there are literally no ambulances free to respond to calls. When your mother has a heart attack and the ambulance doesn’t come for over 45 minutes, you’ll wish I’d been put in a cab with my sprai
  • Evan : As someone who has run business in Byward, I can tell you that it is dead. It will not be revived and certainly not with downtown arena and new entertainment zone.
  • Kosmo : It’s worst than people can imagine, it’s a see it to believe it situation.
  • Evan : Remember this has to be a take no prisoner hard campaign for next 10 days so that councilors feel under duress and know that voting for 419M for roger greenberg is a really bad personal move for them–especially newbies.
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: Good point. The ByWard Market is a very real problem. I don’t think people realize how bad it has become down there. It’s terrible.
  • Kosmo : Does anyone travel past Billings Bridge going north? Lansdowne is empty and the Byward Market is a cesspool and dangerous
  • Evan : Yup, that’s where. You just have to force the choice in councilors’ minds for what happens the day after when they have to look their constituents in the eyes and say no more ambulance, no more affordable housing because I voted to subsidize roger greenberg. at Lansdowne on nov. 10th.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: And repairs for the fillings in my teeth that have been knocked out hitting city potholes. I have no idea why we have speed bumps when our potholes achieve the same purpose for nothing … except for the aforementioned dentisty.
  • Ken Gray : Now where do we get that $400 million for new ambulance and new hospital facilities? Let me see. I’ll find it somewhere. Lansdowne?
  • Evan : At the same time that the Mayor is doing ceremonial duties around town, the social media and phones at councilors offices should be ringing off the hook and people should be screaming that they are not paying developers and that they want services.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I wouldn’t be giving anything to police for awhile until they can prove they are doing concrete things to clean up their collective act.
  • Evan : exactly. this is a forced choice question from now until nov. 2: subsidy to developers or ambulance, police, housing, and transit. You put it to them exactly like that. Now ask them to choose and then vote and remind them that their constituents will be watching which lever they pull.
  • Ken Gray : Or $200 million of new ambulances and $200 million of better reception facilities at hospitals.
  • Alex Macaulay : Di, City debt (in the form of debenture) $154M was issued to help fund L 1.0, City still has $100M to repay until July 2053 (30 years). Also City guarantee of Civic Centre roof loan (repaid OSEG for repairs) – $23M with $16M still outstanding. Even if Civic Centre goes, roof loan stays.
  • Di McIntyre : Did you know OSEg gave $21M in tenant inducement fees to rent at lansdawne & did not build in leasing costs for new & renewing tenants (p 14)
  • Kosmo : The Voter: this is a dumb and disrespectful idea, another example of pay more get less for your taxes.
  • Ken Gray : Voter: I would rather have $419 million of new ambulances.
  • RM : It’s about what Evan writes and constituents need to rise up! Call. Attend the rally! Delegate at the Joint Cttee.
  • Evan : of course we cant afford it. this is why there was a fix in this from day one. someone at city hall has kept carrying water for oseg. I’d like to know who.
  • Di McIntyre : We cannot afford $460 million of debt at 4.6%
  • The Voter : Ken, the cabs would only be used for minor cases that don’t need the high-tech ambulance service. If you sprain your right ankle, you can’t drive yourself to Emerg. A friend or family member might take you but, if nobody’s available, you would call the ambulance now.
  • Evan : there is no trust in city hall. they lie to use all the time.
  • RM : Three sets of calls, depending…. Encourage NO: M Luloff, Clarke kelly, R Brockington, CatherineKitts Appeal calls: L Dudas, C Curry, G Gower, T Tierney, G Darouze, M Sutcliffe Thankful recognition: T Kavanaugh, L Johnson, R Kinf=fg, A Troster, SMenard, Wilsdon Lo.
  • Ken Gray : The operative problems council is having that they don’t think the city can afford $419 million at present and … they don’t trust city staff. Trust. Thank goodness council is starting to act like a council rather than a bunch of parrots.
  • Di McIntyre : Alex is right again. OSEg promote themselves as being a commercial real estate management group
  • Evan : Good correction. They did. You have to put councilors on the hot plate and force them to say that they would rather subsidize developers than use that money for affordable housing and transit. that will get them very uncomfortable — esp. tierney.
  • Alex Macaulay : That’s my point, Ken – OSEG conducted a thorough due diligence, facility inspection process before signing on. To claim now that “gosh” “we didn’t understand what we were getting into” rings a bit hollow.
  • Ken Gray : I’m less sure now.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I thought they had it in the bag.
  • Evan : Up until a month ago, Oseg thought they had this in the bag and that they could count on Mayor.
  • Ken Gray : Voter: What if the person takes a turn for the worse halfway to the hospital?
  • Ken Gray : Di: I don’t.
  • The Voter : Kosmo, Maybe be they’ll set up a taxi drop-off zone that would get you in the door. There would be fewer ambulances there so perhaps part of the ambulance bay could be converted.
  • Di McIntyre : Does anyone know who held the debt for Lansdowne 1.0?
  • Evan : To win: you always have to create a ballot question for councilors: they either act in private interest of oseg or in public interest of citizens. You force them to choose. No wriggling out of the choice. No half-way out. They are either for citizens or for developers
  • Ken Gray : We all did.
  • Ken Gray : Alex: I don’t think OSEG came into this blindly. They might have made mistakes but they knew the facilities were pretty bad.
  • The Voter : Kosmo,
  • Alex Macaulay : *after City already has spent $210M on L.1*
  • Ken Gray : That half billion doesn’t appeal to the left or the right. Interesting.
  • Evan : or Councilors are on the side of angels vote No and demand money be spent on housing, policing, and transit.
  • Alex Macaulay : OSEG, a group that has generations of construction experience brought unsolicited bid to City based on their Own projections. They did full due diligence of facilities and took them on “as is” when entering into legal agreements. In 2015, after construction and after they got intimate look at facilities and operations began they revised projections – but year over year, results have continued to fall short. Now, guess what? the only “solution” is get city to spend another $500M (after city alre
  • Evan : Subsidize developers to tune of half bil.
  • Evan : Councilors either:
  • Evan : The only way No wins now is if you force the binary choice on Councilors:
  • RM : Making 3 sets of calls: calls to Lo, Kavanaugh, Menard, Brown
  • Ken Gray : Evan: that’s a full house at the new event centre.
  • Kosmo : The Voter, will the cab driver stay with me in emergency? Or is it to the door service cuz no one in emerg helps you until you enter the building.
  • Di McIntyre : Rally starts at 8:45 on Nov 2nd.
  • Evan : 5. Make sure CBC and CTV local reporters are made aware well in advance.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: it’s interesting how this is falling. I see the left being against Lansdowne because it is subsidizing hoary capitalism. But the right is coming out against Lansdowne because they are fiscally conservative and don’t want to waste money. Interesting joining of opposites.
  • Evan : 4. 500 rowdy people show up on Nov. 2nd at Committee.
  • Evan : 3. You point out that Sutcliffe is the spokesperson for developers.
  • Evan : 2. You point out that Lo, Kavanagh, Menard, Brown and Devine have stepped with hard No’s in public interest and you ask rest of Councilors where they stand.
  • Ken Gray : The Toronto Argos were valued at $5 million a number of years ago and are still valued at $5 million … if you can find a buyer.
  • Kosmo : 67’s were valued at $50M when Hunt partnered with OSEG
  • RM : Yes!
  • Evan : 1. you drown them with telephone calls
  • RM : ills!
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I’ve been waiting for this.
  • RM : We all know the ill!, What can we do about it? Let’s talk about action! ReImagine Ottawa along with other civic orgs are arranging meetings with councillors and providing them with objective info.. Also we’re putting out a plea to our 500+ supporters to call councillors; don’t email, they often get lost! FCA can help too, who else?I’m reminded of the Ford decision reversal on the greenbelt. It was his MPPs receiving calls. That how it works!
  • Di McIntyre : according to Document 11 all of the teams had operating losses in the period 2022-2027.
  • Kosmo : All the private owned CFL teams lose money and all the community owned teams make money… a bit fishy to me
  • The Voter : Kosmo, The taxi proposal actually makes sense. The ambulance would come to your house, assess you as they do now and then, if you just need transport to the hospital but not in a fully equipped ambulance with two highly trained paramedics, they would have a cab provide that transport. An example is a sprained ankle – they would strap it, send you on your way and go on to the next call. That keeps them out of the traffic jam in ER that sometimes ties them up for hours.
  • Evan : But OSEG is losing money. Their latest gambit is to put loaded question on Ekos survey in which they ask respondents to consider what would happen to sports teams if Lansdowne 2 isnt’ approved.
  • Mulvihill : Thanks.
  • Mulvihill : Good one Ken!
  • Ken Gray : I asked that or something similar and the rail boss just blew it off.
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: Do we know that?
  • Mulvihill : I agree Ken. It would be interesting to know how much LRT has actually cost us this far.
  • Kosmo : All units are sold
  • Di McIntyre : OSEG were getting an 8% return on all of their investments. While the City paid for all infrastructure including rebuilding Bank St so that it could bear the weight of the trucks.
  • Mulvihill : I love the housing and parkland instead of retail.
  • Kosmo : RedBlacks don’t lose and 67’s don’t Lose
  • Evan : Sutcliffe’s job for OSEG is to get the 13 votes ‘yes’.
  • Ken Gray : Donna: We can’t afford another $419 million when LRT is sucking the life blood from us.
  • Mulvihill : Hence the touch on Sutcliffe ..
  • Evan : I mean OSEG has lost this amount.
  • Di McIntyre : Wonder if the retail spaces at Lansdowne be converted to affordable housing with a grand parkland around it.
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: I’ve been told he’s been hurt. How much? I don’t know.
  • Mulvihill : How much? He didn’t make any money
  • Kosmo : Don’t believe Greenberg lost $100M
  • Mulvihill : We can’t afford another Lansdowne debacle and for OSEG to think taxpayers will bail them out of this financial mess .. I don’t think so.
  • Ken Gray : Evan: I’ve heard there have been a number of cash calls and that’s not good. It’s unfortunate. They deserve better luck.
  • RM : Glen Gower, Stittsville councillor was the moderator at the Urban Land Institute panel where Bird spoke.
  • The Voter : I would be very interested in hearing Graham Bird’s take on this. He has the experience in the industry and at City Hall as well. Plus his projects seem to work!
  • Mulvihill : …Does ..
  • Ken Gray : Build a subdivision, sure. Shopping mall … not so much.
  • Mulvihill : Dows.anyone think the arena and stadium should be built at Bayview? Ease of access, transit, parking, maybe one day LRT … thoughts?
  • Evan : bottom line: Roger Greenberg has lost of $100M on Lansdowne since 2012. He wants Mayor to whip the vote and get it done.
  • Ken Gray : Voter: Yes. OSEG is not exactly the right mix for running a shopping mall.
  • Di McIntyre : Thanks Alex – you have been right on with all of the numbers.
  • The Voter : I’d love to hear what an outfit like Cadillac Fairview, Riocan or one of the other major shopping centre operators thinks of 2.0. Riocan is redeveloping some of their centres and adding residential towers so, unlike OSEG and the City, they actually know something about such things.
  • Alex Macaulay : Di, the issue raised in the EY report is that when OSEG prepared their projections for Council they did not consider standard, normal retail rent forecating variables like tenant turnover etc., it is astonishing. These are the projections that staff presented to Council in May 2022. No oversight.
  • Kosmo : Command sense I would hope
  • Ken Gray : Donna: Many come to mind.
  • Di McIntyre : Alex you are right about OSEG poking us in the eye- no sense of neighbourhood.
  • Mulvihill : There are some who are ambitious but there are those who follow orders … one comes to mind.
  • Ken Gray : Or as Dire Straits said in Sultans of Swing: He’s got a daytime job and he’s doin’ alright.
  • Mulvihill : So what’s it going to take for councillors to stand up to the mayor?
  • Ken Gray : Di: I don’t think they’ll be holding any tag days for Graham. He’s doing alright.
  • Mulvihill : Winners isn’t Glebe material at all.
  • Kosmo : Graham is a smart dude
  • Di McIntyre : If Bird is making that statement he is trying to prepare us for his bid to do the work. Look at all of the stranded investment of LRT with Bird trailers parked alongside the Queensway.
  • Ken Gray : Yes, the medical experts at Uber will treat you on the way to emergency, Kosmo.
  • Evan : Lansdowne 2.0 is a subsidy to developers at OSEG. Councilors should vote No on Nov. 10 and use our money to pay for housing, policing, and transit.
  • Ken Gray : RM: You know I heard that too. I called Bird but still haven’t got an answer. Bird knows his stuff but I’m not sure he trusts The Bulldog.
  • Kosmo : Why taxis? After the city of ottawa came this close to destroying cabs in ottawa. They should have stuck with Uber
  • Di McIntyre : No, they project annual increases in income. Clearly OSEG are unable to manage their business nor make solid projections.
  • Ken Gray : Donna: Winners works in the suburbs. Not sure the Glebe will buy it.
  • RM : Last week Graham Bird whose firm is doing the TOH presented at a panel of experts in town and stated that the real costs of L2.0 is $1.5 billion.! Anyone know what that means? I presume it is for complete winterization, a roof and toxic wast removal, etc.
  • Ken Gray : Di: Does it take into account a coming recession?
  • Mulvihill : I was at Lansdowne exactly twice .. there’s nothing there. It’s cold, uninviting, mediocrity at its best. When Winners is your flagahip store, you’re in trouble.
  • Di McIntyre : Page 14 of the E&Y report shows several unrealistic rental expectations- “considered optimistic” not building in tenant rollovers, vacancy lags, etc
  • Ken Gray : You’re dead on right, Alex.
  • Ken Gray : Trying to sell Lansdowne to the Glebe is like trying to sell space heaters in the South American jungle.
  • Alex Macaulay : There is a huge potential consumer market within a 5 km radius for Lansdowne, but OSEG has poked, what should have been, their bread-and-butter customer in the eye, and what’s on offer has been underwhelming and under performing.
  • Ken Gray : You’re right, Donna.
  • Ken Gray : The world is in a state of flux. It is not static as in the 50s and 60s. The internet and technology is changing everything and the best minds in the world are having difficulty with it. The best minds in the world are not at Ottawa City Hall.
  • Mulvihill : I’m late to the game (no pun intended) but …how can this council actually contemplate more $$$ for Lansdowne 2.0 when considering taxis for hospital bound patients?
  • Kosmo : The empty real estate their would prove that
  • RM : I agree with Alex and I imagine suburbanites feel the same way, hy both….. And our Stittsville counsellor? What does he see in the proposal?
  • Kosmo : It sure is not
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo: Apparently that’s not enough today.
  • The Voter : Di, You can thank Robert Campeau for the loss of the height controls. When he built Place de Ville, he had the Peace Towe view zoning knocked out.
  • Kosmo : People go to lansdowne for the same reason they have been for over 75 years, see a football game, hockey game and sometimes a concert
  • Ken Gray : RM: not many games. And Amazon is more convenient than Lansdowne. Ask any mall owner about that. Retail is in crisis unless you’re online.
  • Di McIntyre : good question RM- easier to watch a soccer game on Sports Net
  • RM : Retail in this digital competitive world? football for how many games?
  • Ken Gray : The market is a good draw but then there’s the Parkdale Market which is plenty healthy.
  • Alex Macaulay : Ken, I lived in Kanata for 22 yrs, past few years in Ottawa East, the answer is that there is no reason for anyone to drive from Kanata, deal with traffic and parking, other than maybe once a year for a few hours. Kanata now even has a fabulous farmer’s market.
  • Ken Gray : DC: You’ve got it. If you have a good product, people will go there. They will buy it. But the product that Lansdowne is offering is the same as you can get most anywhere in town with free parking and less driving. Except the football team.
  • Di McIntyre : The Ottawa Farmer’s market is still a draw & the City has hosted some festivals
  • RM : I agree with Briant that ‘the old guard’ needs to do what’s right! How does this get done? Constituent feedback? Voter let’s not forget a commenortive plaque!
  • DC : No one wants to go to Lansdowne and that’s the problem.
  • Ken Gray : Di: yeesh. I can see barbie at Kanata Centrum with free parking.
  • briant : most of them no; but the trip to emergency ward starts with stopping the bleeding in some way.
  • Alex Macaulay : So many “ifs, ands, and buts” in projections: hotel tax: IF someone is found who would like to operate a hotel there, and especially IF Tourism Ottawa agrees to forego hotel tax for 40 years and let Lansdowne have it instead. So many uncertains and risks in the proposal.
  • Di McIntyre : you want to dress in pink & see the Barbie movie with Justin
  • Ken Gray : Voter: God bless you.
  • Ken Gray : Alex: Answer me this. If I live in Kanata, why do I want to come to Lansdowne? Give me a reason.
  • Di McIntyre : There was a time when City zoning did not allow any structure higher than the Peace Tower
  • The Voter : I’m just following the OSEG pattern!
  • Ken Gray : Voter: your imagination is on overdrive.
  • Ken Gray : Briant: do they have the knowledge to fix this?
  • The Voter : I have it – let’s get a group of people together, pull together a plan to tear down City Hall and replace it with three 65-storey residential buildings and maybe an NHL arena underneath. We’d create a podium that would provide space for a new, improved City Hall and the Heritage Building would stay as is. How do you think that would be received at the Laurier bunker? Especially when we tell them they can pay for it … Makes as much sense as OSEG’s plan except it’s close to the LRT.
  • Alex Macaulay : one of the assumptions of staff report is that rents will return to “market” for projections to work, means they are currently below market. City is renting stadium, arena and retail for $1.0/yr to OSEG, it could say we have 100% occupancy! – need to know lease rates not just occupancy rates to assess performance.
  • Di McIntyre : struggling sports franchises=operating losses;
  • Ken Gray : Sorry Di … what do you mean by “knocked out.” Have we technical problems?
  • briant : what Im saying is that any Councillor who is still with us on Council today … and was there when Obrien cancelled the design competition has their chance to fess up and clear their name …. by being part of the gang that agrees to a do- over of some sort
  • Ken Gray : the errors leading up to Lansdowne and light rail are so numerous that they defy description. The city staff needs major reform.
  • Di McIntyre : I keep getting knocked out so have missed some chat- anyone know why they are including “hotel tax” in. numbers?
  • RM : What I objected to on the condition of the facilities was the use of the word “crumbling’ in the city/OSEG propaganda! Shameful!
  • Ken Gray : Alex: right on. The No. 1 priority in this city is fixing transit. That’s a basic service the city has just destroyed.
  • briant : completely agree that this was a bad idea from the moment Larry O decided to cancel the design completion …BUT: Council didn’t push back on that !
  • Alex Macaulay : What we do know from the May 2022 staff report is that about $1M/yr is being spent on sporting faciities upkeep, they are structurally sound, and about another $25M would give them another 40 yrs of life. The opportunity cost of spending half a billion dollars on 2.0 is huge – spend the money on actual priorites.
  • Ken Gray : You’re way ahead of me on this Di.
  • Ken Gray : Well debate is a good thing. We see a bit of that on The Bulldog.
  • Di McIntyre : All of the commercial leases are being signed with incentives…why not market value. Just a way of showing higher occupancy below market rates
  • Ken Gray : Good points Briant but what I’m saying is that if 2.0 were a great idea … a wonderful idea … we’d likely all recognize that. This is a badly flawed idea and thus the criticism.
  • briant : Just like ‘consensus’; its not everyone agreeing .. just everyone gets their chance to have their say … and then everyone agreeing that they still have to decide
  • Ken Gray : If you would see what I’m talking about, see the provincial LRT inquiry report. The city acted in a horrible manner.
  • briant : be careful using the word divisive; what it has often come to mean is that there are groups with different takes / opinions on an issue; Thats not being ” divisive” ;that’s democracy ; then you still have to decide… but you do it by hearing the different parties / sides out and THEN deciding.
  • Ken Gray : You’re right as ever, Voter. But I’m not confident the city has the ability or ethics to do the right thing … whatever that is.
  • Ken Gray : A good idea stands on it own.
  • The Voter : The City’s talking about the terrible cost of not doing 2.0 with maintenance, etc. What’s the cost of putting a hold on it to make sure the financials are in the City’s favour and that this is the best we can do for Lansdowne’s future? IF, and it’s a big ‘if’, the OSEG plan is perfection and the best we can do, so be it but why are they so afraid of proving that to us? We need to see that this is the best thing, not just be told it will be good for us and all will be well.
  • Ken Gray : If Lansdowne 2.0 were a logical good idea, people would see that and support it. If it were good, we would see that and agree. This discussion is proving, if nothing else, that 2.0 is divisive and thus not a good idea.
  • Ken Gray : Stephen Lewis said at an NCC urban planner meeting that if you want to know what is good for a neighbourhood, ask the neighbourhood. The city doesn’t do that. It dictates and fakes like it is listening. The city has forgotten what it’s role is.
  • Ken Gray : 12 years of bad administration has crippled city hall. Municipal government has lost its way. The city wants what it wants and that’s it. The people are here to pay taxes to cover the planners’ flight of fancy. Such as Lansdowne.
  • Ken Gray : City planners? Sheesh? They are lost.
  • Ken Gray : RM: You are correct but I’m not sure the city wants to step back or admit a mistake. Remember, the previous city manager was “great”. The culture is shot there.
  • Di McIntyre : I wonder where the City Planners are- promises made in the Official Plan are not being followed especially with respect to community well being markers like green space & trees, regular reliable transit & now ambulances.
  • Alex Macaulay : Ken, in that case, “stop the bleeding” is only option.
  • RM : Yes, these decision-makers need to be courageous enough to admit a mistake and step back and correct it with genuine community feedback. Not to mention we need imagination and innovation to be at the fore front in the design, instead of a concrete mall and stadium. No where near world class for that kind of money!
  • Ken Gray : The city is dysfunctional.
  • Ken Gray : Alex: All good points but I’m not sure the city is capable of solving this problem. I’m not sure it knows the answers or could even remotely implement them. The city is in a bad spot both ethically and functionally.
  • The Voter : Good to be able to speak where you get listened to and heard.
  • Ken Gray : Great to have you aboard Voter. You’ve been writing some wonderful stuff lately. Thank you.
  • The Voter : Hey there!
  • Di McIntyre : Carolyn MacKenzie presented a great set of ideas especially as we are going to lose the downtown Y- “Taggart Family Y”
  • Ken Gray : Hi Voter:
  • Ken Gray : I’d kill it and start looking for new ideas. Ideas that address the problems, if they are solvable.
  • briant : This live chat session isn’t the right place to be trying to work this out; it IS complicated ; but it must be admitted that we will be trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear; The City has to see that they need to say ” OOPS ‘ ( “we made a mistake”) ; and then take the time to figure out a way … to repair/ reverse this… but with its citizens being involved
  • The Voter : Could the City ask if there’s any other proposals that might be out there that would answer the public’s concerns. Who says OSEG are the only way to go forward?
  • Alex Macaulay : That is the problem, Ken, no one has looked at the root problems of year over year losses at Lansdowne, these losses have come pre-Covid, during covid and after-Covid. Not only losses but losses that have fallen well below the projections – prepared by OSEG. There is always an excuse, but what we need is financial transparency into the operating units in order to assess what has gone so wrong. Operating statements for Retail, Redblacks, 67s and stadium/event centre (all in the partnership) are
  • Ken Gray : Both Dudas and Brock. were unconvinced and sounded like they were supporing 2.0. But that could change if they receive enough heat.
  • Di McIntyre : And we need a full reveal of the financial flows….
  • The Voter : One of the City’s and OSEG’s tactics has been to insist with 2.0 as they did with 1.0 that there’s no time to hit pause and re-examine. Someone, possibly Menard, needs to put a motion out at the Nov 2 meeting recommending a step back to see what the options really are.
  • RM : Yes, the Horticultural bldg at Lansdowne. Not only was RB there but L Dudas too, right. Any word from LD?
  • Ken Gray : The Cattle Castle is sacred.
  • Ken Gray : Sometimes things just fail. One hopes not but customers will go where they want and spend their money how they want. You must have a good idea that appeals to the market. I don’t see it in 2.0.
  • The Planner : Here is an idea – responsible action by councillors that avoids failure and financial harm to residents of this wonderful Capital city by pausing the decision process and supporting the public good and public interest and allowing for another approach in the form of a national creative planning and design competition moving foreard.
  • Di McIntyre : Watson wanted to have casino at Lansdowne & tear down the Aberdeen. But we rallied, painted one end of it to show its potential and now they call it the jewel.
  • Ken Gray : The city is in so deep on this, I don’t see a way out.
  • Ken Gray : How does 2.0 solve the problem? What is the problem?
  • briant : But SOMETHING has to be done … and it has to be towards the public interest / common good; its ( was) a City park !
  • Di McIntyre : Landsdowne 1. has been a financial failure & OSEG are looking for a bailout.
  • Ken Gray : Sounds like a certain sports team.
  • Di McIntyre : Shawn Menard has been a hero on all of this. We need to see all of the numbers . I understand that the Ernst & Young report had many caveats & mentioned many optimistic assumptions. Bottom line IU want to see the City in the black not in the RED ( Red to Black)
  • Ken Gray : Alex: What does it solve? Give us a solution. What is the problem 2.0 is trying to solve.
  • Ken Gray : Briant: I’m not sure that the problems of Lansdowne can be solved. Parking? Location? Alienated market in the Glebe? The wrong idea. A recession coming. Inflation. High mortgage rates. The problems might be beyond solution.
  • Alex Macaulay : One thing we do know, throwing another minimum $437.7 million ($419.1 main project + city funding $18.6M parking stalls) of City funds, and at least $331.3 M of City 40 year debt on a hope that “things might turn around” is simply too big a bet with very high risks for the taxpayer.
  • briant : right Hort. bldg (not Fort)
  • Ken Gray : Briant: I took it as the Horticulture Bldg but I could be wrong.
  • briant : Sutcliffe should be asking Menard to help him ‘out’ of this sticky spot; Menard has been very respectful and thoughtful … and imaginative on a number of issues. My guess is the 1st thing he’d propose is to put 2.0 on hold … and try to get at the underlying difficulties … but in the public ( not private sector’s) interest
  • Ken Gray : I’m sure they are feeling the pressure. Not just from the public but Sutcliffe and OSEG. OSEG is a very powerful organization with enormous influence in this city.
  • RM : Briant, what is the meeting at the Fort Bldg? Thanks.
  • Ken Gray : Di: I’m sure we won’t have Watson but it would be interesting if he participated.
  • RM : I do hope the councillors feel the same pressure and wear their bigger hat when voting!
  • Di McIntyre : And don’t leave out Jim Watson who sealed the final deal.
  • Ken Gray : I’m enjoying this discussion. I’d love to have Bob Chiarelli and Larry O’Brien in this chat.
  • Ken Gray : Sutcliffe is in a very tough spot on this one. One wonders what his obligations are.
  • Ken Gray : Alex … they can walk and pay the consequences … whatever they are. And one wonders if the city will hold OSEG to its obligations. They seem to be drinking the same bath water.
  • Ken Gray : It was good RB was at the meeting. Don’t know if it affected him at all. We’ll see.
  • RM : Thanks for this opportunity, Ken. And for that poll! It’s encouraging. I also hear that the Mayor is holding meetings with his councillors. Feeling the pressure?
  • Di McIntyre : Given that they have a secretive agreement it is hard to propose a compromise. It may be like the LRT p3 that leaves the City on the hook.
  • Alex Macaulay : At the moment, OSEG has legal and commercial obligations to maintain, manage, operate the facilities and sports teams. If Council votes no, OSEG’s legal obligations remain, they can’t just “walk.” If OSEG chooses to default under the agreements that will be their decision, but according to the legal agreements it is not simple as “walk and take the teams,” the City as partner in the assets also has legal recourse and protections . Best solution would be for OSEG to roll up its sleeves and start
  • briant : I heard quite indirectly that Brockington thought the meeting organized at Fort. Bldg had ” biased ” presentations; I can believe he said that … but wonder whether that comment shows that he too has been accepting the codswallop of / from Staff despite too many warnings about their cred. by now
  • Ken Gray : Good for you, Di. Participatory democracy. The New England Town Hall. Does my heart good that you are taking concrete steps to contribute to the discussion. I wish there were more people like you.
  • Ken Gray : Perhaps some great compromise that will get Sutcliffe and council off the hook. That said it could be a compromise that is just words and satisfies voters but doesn’t solve the problem.
  • Di McIntyre : I will be presenting at the committee meeting on Nov 2 so welcome any ideas.
  • Ken Gray : Briant: remember it is Oct. 24 and lots of things can change between now and Nov. 10 council meeting.
  • briant : Tks: that’s helpful
  • Ken Gray : I was very surprised by the results. I thought Lansdowne was a slam dunk. Councillors must really be feeling the heat on this one.
  • Ken Gray : I can’t reveal the source, Briant. If I could, I would tell you. That said, I’m confident that it is accurate and done in good faith.
  • Di McIntyre : Wish I could see you all – we are singing in unison on this!
  • Ken Gray : I think you’re right, Helene. You get the basic services right before the frills.
  • briant : re. that poll by ” a reliable pollster”: who did it ? because it does seem to have given ‘us’ the prospect that this isn’t a done deal
  • Helene Marceau : Lansdowne 2.0/2.1 needs at least to be delayed as the City of Ottawa has more urgent priorities, eg LRT, transport as a whole, affordable housing.
  • Ken Gray : You know if the city is intensifying that means parks become very important. Condo owners are people, too. And god knows, the Glebe is intensifying.
  • Di McIntyre : Even the mention of a hotel
  • Di McIntyre : Have you seen any of the Ernst & young report- lots of doubtful assumptions.
  • Ken Gray : I don’t I’ve looked at the cost-benefit relationship of drunken fans and parks but I’m thinking parks would win out.
  • Di McIntyre : We need more parks & greenspace not more noisy drunken sports fans.
  • Ken Gray : Or get rid of everything and create a park. How could the city take one of the most valuable pieces of land in Ottawa and turn it into a fiscal sinkhole.
  • Di McIntyre : The land was deeded to the City as a park.
  • Ken Gray : Di: I don’t know why the city is involved in Lansdowne at all. The city could have renovated the stadium if that is what OSEG needed and sold the land off to help pay for the reno.
  • Di McIntyre : Ambulance service by taxi !
  • Di McIntyre : Lansdowne 1.0 construction required bank St to be torn up to carry the weight of trucks. Wonder where those expenses were accounted for.
  • Ken Gray : The city is crying poor on light rail and transit and yet wants to find $419 million for Lansdowne. What is more important? Transit or Lansdowne?
  • Di McIntyre : also lots of concern about the Glebe Center LTC residents who will be disturbed by noise- and caregivers who will not have parking.
  • Ken Gray : And like it or not, the CFL is not the chosen sports league of young people.
  • Di McIntyre : This is another boondoggle to fund private interests while City is on the hook for all of the business losses during the construction period.
  • Ken Gray : Many of the older fans have tickets on the northside because they are sheltered from the elements.
  • Di McIntyre : Fully agree Ken.
  • Ken Gray : Frankly Di, I don’t see the purpose of tearing down the present stands when the 2.0 stands would be without a roof.
  • Ken Gray : It is the wrong project in the wrong place surrounded by the wrong local market with bad transportation. Does the new Lansdowne address this? I don’t see it.
  • Di McIntyre : City declared October to be circular economy month- yet propose to tear down north stands & presumably send to landfill- does not compute!
  • Ken Gray : Kosmo I keep looking at Lansdowne 2,0 and wonder what problems it solves.
  • Di McIntyre : City declared October to be
  • Kosmo : There’s only one way out of this mess and it’s to like a baby… and… head out first.
  • Kosmo : Let’s hope Mayor O’Brien makes it tonight, he was the mayor that started the project. I remember being told by people trying to get involved not to bother. They were working for a Vancouver outfit and had assembled a local team of real estate people and lobbyists hoping win the Lansdowne bid and Mayor O’Brien’s office told them not to bother it was staying local.
  • Ken Gray : I have a feeling that the city wishes it never got involved in this so-called partnership and likely OSEG feels the same way. There’s no easy way out of Lansdowne.
  • Ken Gray : B — that’s not a good way to encourage season ticket packages.
  • Ken Gray : Brocklebank: That is a good question. What happens to Lansdowne with no big stadium reno? Does OSEG just hand over the keys to the city? It has threatened to do that before. And if we get Lansdowne 2.0, when does 3.0 come along? BTW there is a questionnaire out there that implies that no 2.0 and the sports teams fold.
  • Brocklebank : Can’t join you tonight, but hope discussion will return back to OSEG’s idea that Lansdowne is not sustainable in its present form. Is it up to the taxpayers to make Lansdowne sustainable? Should the partnership be sustained by massive City investment, laughable levels of rent and exemptions from City policies?
  • Ken Gray : guest 5945 (is that your real name?) I think that story about the informal poll of councillors has really change the tenor of the debate. I believe the no side thought the battle was hopeless. Now I’m seeing a bit of desperation after that story from the city and OSEG. That said, a lot of things can happen between now and nov. 10. Or even the upcoming finance and planning committee. It’s a horse race now rather than a one-horse race.
  • Ken Gray : guest 5945 I know what you are saying. The city asks all kinds of questions about how would you like to see Lansdowne turn out but not do you want Lansdowne. Unless some cruel arm-twisting goes on, I’d say the city has overplayed its hand.
  • Ken Gray : hello guest 5945 … thx for contributing … if you will be commenting again give yourself some form of name plse … so you don’t blend in between all the other guest 1234 s. thx k
  • guest_5945 : delighted that Bulldog is doing this; the City itself has NOT done much themselves by way of ‘independent’ public input; there may even be a few contributors / participants this evening who have new info for us
  • Ron Benn : Those are words that OSEG and Mayor Sutcliffe might want to keep in mind as they try to muster support for Lansdowne.
  • Ron Benn : I recall PM Mulroney’s observation when the Charletown Accord went down in smoke. It was to the effect of there being very few reasons for voting in favour and an almost unlimited number of reasons to vote against it.
  • Ken Gray : We’re ready to go at 6 p.m. but if you want to write a comment now, that will help me to ensure that the chat is working properly.
  • LANSDOWNE: Tell Ottawa What You Think : Welcome to the Bulldog Live Chat

 

Good night and good luck


Good night and good luck.

 —

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7 Responses

  1. The Voter says:

    Thanks, Ken, for pulling this together. Some good info was shared and those of us who sometimes feel like we’re voices crying out in the wilderness got an uplift from the strong support for logic and reason as measuring sticks for anything to be done at Lansdowne.
    Very useful.

  2. Ken Gray says:

    The Voter:

    Thank you for your participation.

    I think that story about the polling of councillors has made a difference.

    cheers

    kgray

  3. Ron Benn says:

    Sorry I wasn’t at my keyboard last night to contribute. I was out in Kanata, watching the Senators mail another loss in. Sigh.

    I just finished reading the transcript. Some interesting themes emerged. One that stood out is that the more progressive segment of society is against Lansdowne for what it fails to do and the more fiscally conservative segment is against Lansdowne because it has been and will remain a financial sinkhole.

    We need to use that convergence of non-support in public presentations and calls to councillors to show them that there is broad public support for a No vote. That the ramifications of a Yes vote is to fail to meet the expectations of both ends of the spectrum.

    The challenge for the next 2-3 weeks isn’t how to fix Lansdowne. It is how to get at least 13 members of council to say to OSEG and city staff, thank you but no.

  4. Ken Gray says:

    Ron:

    From a readership and strategic view, it was my short-sightedness that forgot there was a Sens game that night.

    I won’t do that again but there is very little overlap between Sens interest and interest in The Bulldog.

    I saw the same thing you did only I called it the left and the right. People really care about this.

    I have the feeling that residents have no confidence in the City of Ottawa. We’re noticing that many councillors don’t have faith in staff.

    Council’s concern should be in having more public servants who are public servants rather than servants to themselves and to outside pressure groups.

    Council has only itself to blame. Councillors became lapdogs of the mayor in the Watson years and staff lost respect for them in the process. Sutcliffe must move with public opinion or lose the next election. His political future depends on getting the train and bus service working again and finding a solution to the Lansdowne problem. Both might be beyond fixing. Certainly Lansdowne 2.0 doesn’t do it. We’re spend half a billion dollars on a $5 million football team. Good grief.

    Council must re-assert its control over the bureaucracy. There needs to be a house cleaning of the sycophants on city staff who are wasting our money in the hundreds of millions … perhaps the billions. The new city manager is not the person for the job. With her, it is business as usual. She dismisses the damning conclusions of the LRT inquiry by praising former city manager Steve Kanellakos who took a beating at the inquiry … deservedly so.

    City staff thinks it’s just business as usual. Tens of thousands of people who took part in the live chat say otherwise.

    City council represents the residents of Ottawa. Start doing that very thing.

    cheers

    kgray

  5. Andrew says:

    Deception by staff: no images of the buildings are presented that are required for a zoning change. Only odd “30 degree aircraft angled” views are available which are specifically designed to minimize 40 stories true impact from the ground. Everyone else applying for a zoning change has to provide standard views yet not 2.0. The city is not exempt from its rules if it is the co-developer. As well it is ignoring the newly approved Official plan and Official Parks and recreation plan which does not allow this type of development. Removal of designated parkland is not possible, but they use the “special district” to allow what is unconscionable in a undeserved area for Parks and Rec. (P and R plan) In fact the priority in the plan is to ADD parks-space to under-served urban areas (1 Hectare/1000 people is the minimum standard), not remove it! Where is the sense?

  6. Andrew says:

    (forgot to clarify staff also present buildings that are cut off at 14 stories in various views again not meeting zoning change requirements). The proper required views are available as they were used for the shadow study. the shadow study is also flawed as the entire shadow is missing, it is so large it extends beyond the page. other cities use 4x the height as a scale to capture the whole shadow, Ottawa allows the shadows to be cut off. Your tax dollars paid for the flawed shadow study.

  7. Michael Vickers says:

    As the person who reported about Sutcliffe’s cheerful demeanour turning sour under a little bit of pressure, I gotta say, I wasn’t even very effective in my critique.

    I literally just saw him outside my window, and thought that if he was (inexplicably) doing the rounds in the Glebe I had better go and let him know I did not agree with his positions on several issues, including: Lansdowne, QED, continuing transit dysfunction and austerity budgeting. I wasn’t prepared and not as eloquent as I would like, but apparently it was still enough to knock him off message. And frankly, knowing my neighbours, I can think of several of them that would have given him as equally sharp a tongue-lashing.

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