Lansdowne: Councillor Feedback As Staff Sees It

Here are councillor criticisms of Lansdowne 2.0 as interpreted by city staff in report to go to finance committee on Tuesday:

Lansdowne 2.0 – Procurement Report
It is important to note that my office has not been provided the full report by staff to
provide comments, only an executive summary. The follow are ongoing concerns:

Financial Concerns Persist
We continue to have serious concerns about the underlying financial projections for
Lansdowne 2.0 and the risk presented to the city by the project. The city bearing the
cost of construction over-runs (instead of the private partner in Lansdowne 1.0) and the
potential for major cost escalations and legal battles, which have occurred with the
Ottawa LRT, are significant unmitigated risks for the city. There is more spending being
proposed that Council did not previously approve and we are getting to the point where
the city has spent so much money on an unapproved final product.

Sole Source Contract
It appears the city will not be using a competitive procurement for an architecture firm,
which could yield better designs and instead is continuing with a sole source contract
with the OSEG architecture firm. The proposed delivery is predicated on the decision to
engage Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects (BBB) as the architect for the project without
going to tender. BBB was “retained by OSEG as the lead consultant to deliver this work
due to their expertise and experience in sports and entertainment projects.” Considering
this description, it is not clear why BBB could not be expected to reply to—and be
selected via—an open and competitive selection process. Nor is it clear why an
architectural firm that could provide a winning proposal over BBB would not be the
better selection.

City not leading project
It seems the recommendation is for the “partnership” to lead this procurement rather
than the city, which is incredibly rare. These are city assets and there is the potential for
conflicts if the city is not considering its best interest and risk mitigation but rather the P3
“partnership” would decide what is in its interest. These are public funds being spent
and the project should be led with public interest, public taxpayers and community
shaping the outcomes.


Auditor General Report Only Months Away
Another concern that arises is there is further spending within this report that would
represent an interest the AG would want to consider. It seems we are putting the cart
before the horse with the AG report on Lansdowne 2.0 due in June 2024.
$20 Million Line of Credit
There is a proposal to float more cash to OSEG in this report, raising concerns about
financial liquidity of the partner, which is likely to be backed by the city, putting more risk
on the city. This $20 million is in addition to the $10 million already approved by Council
for “lease disruption costs” as part of the project. It seems that the private operation
aspects of Lansdowne Park continues to not meet the original financial projections used
to sell Lansdowne 1.0 to the public, an ongoing concern that will very likely be repeated
with Lansdowne 2.0.

No Alternatives
The city has not provided a proper alternative should city council view the costs of
Lansdowne 2.0 to be too great. A proper alternative that renovates the existing safe
facilities and upgrades accessibility features (for another 40 years), is a viable option
that should be properly explored to save money for the city of Ottawa and allow for
continued operations of the historic civic centre, with more seats, cheaper tickets than
the current proposal, a north side stand roof, and the maintenance of the sledding hill,
greenspace and great lawn.

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