Lansdowne: Questions, More Questions: THE VOTER


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If any Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group sports team is, for any reason, no longer using the facilities that we are renovating for their use, is there anything in any contract that obligates them to repay the investment we have made unless and until we are able to secure another tenant for the premises?

At what specific points in the future will Council have an opportunity to reconsider Lansdowne 2.0 in whole or in part? What events or occurrences would trigger such a reconsideration? Bear in mind that, once Ottawa City Council has voted on an issue, to bring it back for reconsideration within the term of this council requires a two-thirds majority to approve the motion and the motion has to be put by someone who voted in favour the first time. There can still be other votes related to Lansdowne but it is very difficult to overturn an actual approved vote.

Are there any circumstances under which OSEG would have to reimburse any part of the money the city has put into Lansdowne to date or in the future?

LANSDOWNE: Suburbs Still Back Sutcliffe: THE VOTER

If the agreement(s) break down at any point, is there anything that OSEG would retain ownership or control of at Lansdowne?

No actual question here but when will all members of council, including the mayor, release a list of any conversations they have had with any proponent of Lansdowne 2.0 and/or any person or entity representing a proponent?

Lots of other questions but, since I already know how they will be answered, I’m not sure of the utility of even asking them out loud.

The Voter is a respected community activist and long-time Bulldog commenter who prefers to keep her identity private.



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6 Responses

  1. Ron Benn says:

    Voter, there were a number of the lessons offered during the legal morass of failed public companies that arose in the early 2000’s. One of those was the need to ask questions on the record. To demonstrate that decisions made were informed. Failure to have the record show you asked questions leave it to the courts to decide whether a question was ever asked, but not recorded.

    As I said, lessons have been offered. There isn’t much evidence that those lessons were learned down at city hall. The public records show that Ottawa’s council is not much more than a somewhat collegial group of well paid sycophants. Too often council accepts staff reports at face value. They ask few if any probing questions. They seldom ask for clarifying information. When councillors speak it is far too often nothing more than ideological platitudes. Empty words for the record.

  2. Ron Benn says:

    Two questions I would love to know the answer to.

    What happens if the air rights bids come in materially below the oft cited $39 million?

    What happens when (not if) the cost to construct the city owned facilities is materially higher than the $420ish million approved.

    Can the city say Lansdowne 2.x is now in limbo due to a material change in the financial assumptions?

    Keep in mind two things.

    First is that is the order of those events is air rights first, with the actual cost to construct an unknown until the final bills have been submitted.

    Second is that the zoning variance regarding building height/density at Lansdowne has effectively already been approved.

  3. The Voter says:


    Lansdowne, the gift that keeps on taking!

    Even if a councillor had posed a question, the style of minuting that Council uses only records decisions and broad sweeps of the discussion. When they introduced that system years ago, they claimed it was to save money on transcribing, translating and printing the old almost-verbatim minutes. I begin to suspect that another reason was to give councillors cover if they don’t want to be attached to a particular comment or question plus the ability to claim things were questioned and they took the answer into consideration when voting.

    If there was anybody around the table when that vote took place who seriously believed that the costs would stay at the $420M and/or that the air rights, now that they have very publicly stated their opening position, will attract $39M and/or that the feds/province have their cheque books at the ready and are just waiting for the opportunity to kick in $20M, they should not be let out of their house unsupervised let alone be allowed to participate in Council deliberations.

    This is the same practice that had them giving the feds and the province back-of-a-napkin numbers at $1.8B for the O-Train; letting them both lock in their contribution at $600M each and leaving the City on the hook for any overage – which there was aplenty. And we know how that turned out. Not exactly the kind of precedent thinking people follow but there goes Council.

    Learn lessons? Not Ottawa City Council! in fact, they seem to prefer to make the same mistakes over and over again. And still find new mistakes to make!

  4. Ron Benn says:

    Voters, lessons are offered. It is up to the recipient (read councillors, staff) to learn the lesson. That implies that there is:
    > a willingness to accept that you don’t know everything already;
    > an acknowledgement that improvement is not only possible, but desirable;
    > an awareness that you aren’t always the smartest person in the room.

    And that is why city hall dwells in a festering, cultural sinkhole. Everyone knows everything, thus there is no need for improvement, because everyone is the smartest person in the room.

  5. Ken Gray says:


    And that’s a culture that is deeply rooted in city hall and no one is interested in changing it. We needed someone who would change things at the comfortable chambers but the new city manager just likes the past. Maybe she’ll turn into a great leader.



  6. The Voter says:


    Is that a “great leader” in the Steve Kanellakos sense or following the dictionary/common usage definition of “great”?

    If you’re hired into the top job, you should already be a great leader. It’s not a ‘learn-on-the-job’ position. I suppose. though, if the mayor who’s on the hiring committee sees his job as a training position, we can’t expect the City Manager position to be viewed much differently.

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