Councillor calls for Lansdowne 2.0 changes

The councillor whose ward includes Lansdowne Park says a survey done by his office shows wide opposition to the plans to replace TD Place Arena and the stadium’s north side stands, and is laying out some alternative options.

“This will be the biggest potential investment this term of council, and I think a lot of councillors are looking at this and saying, ‘let’s make sure we get this right,”‘ said Shawn Menard, the councillor for Capital Ward.

Menard said his office conducted a survey of about 2,000 residents from across the city — urban , suburban and rural. He said only about 17 per cent of respondents were in favour of Lansdowne 2.0 as it currently stands.

“They haven’t been in favour of Lansdowne 2.0, and they want to see changes as well,” said Menard. “Whether it be a roof over the north side stands, more reasonable housing so you don’t have giant wind tunnels coming through here, whether it be that greenspace they want to come and enjoy.”

The biggest criticisms of the Lansdowne 2.0 plan include three high-rise towers of luxury condos — the tallest, 40 stories — and the potential loss of greenspace to build a new arena to the east of the stadium’s football field.

Menard worries the proposed green roof for the arena could get cancelled because of the costs. But Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) says it is in the plan.

“The green roof is part of OSEG’s proposal,” said Janice Barresi, vice-president of brand and social impact with OSEG. “Whether it’s accessible to the public or not, is for the city to decide.”

Menard led a walking tour of about 50 residents through the site, highlighting his other critiques of the plan: a lack of public washrooms, a lack of affordable housing, and transportation improvements to better get people to and from Lansdowne Park.

Barresi said that OSEG is open to feedback and changes to the plan, but pointed out that OSEG has done what the city asked it to: develop a plan to replace the arena and north side stands that will pay for itself.

“We hear from businesses that increased density and attracting more events to Lansdowne is key to their profitability,” said Barresi.

Menard said that OSEG isn’t due to provide its next update on the Lansdowne 2.0 proposal to city councillors until the fall, and he would like that discussion to he held sooner rather than later.

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