The Basic Unanswered Questions From Lansdowne (3)

Here are some questions arising from Lansdowne as a joint planning and finance committee decides the project’s future:

Why is OSEG pleading poverty in this deal? It’s hard to imagine a better agreement for OSEG at Lansdowne and still it can’t make money on a deal that is designed for the city not to make money. Maybe Lansdowne is just a bad idea in its current configuration?

Why did the city fly in the face of a legal vote by city council to create an international design competition and abrogate that decision without permission from council to sole-source Lansdowne?

Why is the city wanting to assume $419 million more in plain, unadulterated debt in a high-interest-rate environment when it can’t balance its budget, when transit is accruing ridiculous losses and the light-rail project is sucking astonishing amounts of money from a city that has been drawing on reserves for 12 years?

Why is the city trying to sell a bad deal to the taxpaying public? Or simply, why does the city want to sign a bad deal, period? What’s going on here? Hello, auditor general.

Why does Lansdowne 2.0 not address the basic problems of the original deal? As in, the wrong product, in the wrong neighbourhood, with the wrong transportation, with the wrong parking with the wrong transit?

How long will it be before OSEG returns hat-in-hand to city council saying that Lansdowne 2.0 needs Lansdowne 3.0?

Why does city council refuse to acknowledge that Lansdowne is a failed concept and that, in the private sector, people are bound to make lots of money or lose lots of money?

Why does OSEG need charity from the City of Ottawa? Will OSEG come to the aid of funding taxpayers in their hour of need? Not a chance.

Why don’t we just let Lansdowne fail as it would in the private sector and go to another Lansdowne concept completely? Why are we delaying the inevitable? Lansdowne doesn’t work and it should be allowed to die a natural death.

If the city is willing to bail out private-sector OSEG, why did it not try to bail out the critical industry of Nortel? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Businesses with bad ideas or bad implementation fail. That’s how the marketplace works. That’s how it worked for Nortel. That’s how it should work for Lansdowne.

Taxpayers do not owe OSEG a profit. OSEG is responsible for its own profits … and losses. Sometimes businesses just fail and something comes along with a better idea or better implementation to replace them.

Why don’t we move on from the frill that is Lansdowne and get our vital transit system working properly? Why don’t we deal with hideous Ottawa traffiic and brutal roads? Why don’t we find a proper solution to our landfill problems? The job of the city is to provide basic services, not to be a sports and entertainment promoter or a supporter of shopping malls. Basic services, not frills.

Ken Gray



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