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Mayor set to meet with Sens group to discuss LeBreton

Jim Watson's office sent a letter to Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk after some public wavering over the future of the project.
2017 Lebreton Flats project1
Image of Lebreton Flats development project taken from Ottawa's Amazon HQ2 bid video, 2017.

Planning for a new arena development at LeBreton Flats looks to be moving forward, despite Ottawa's mayor questioning Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk's commitment level.

Melnyk recently told Senators season ticket holders that the LeBreton Flats redevelopment process was more risky than he first thought. That prompted Mayor Jim Watson to ask if Melnyk and his group were 'dead serious' about continuing with the process. 

"The challenge I have is that Eugene has made a number of musings, publicly, about whether he even wants to do downtown, and he's done that on two occasions," Watson told Ottawa Today with Mark Sutcliffe on 1310 NEWS.

The mayor's office ended up writing a letter to Melnyk last week, to ask if he was interested in sitting down and talking about his vision for LeBreton Flats.

"[Melnyk's comment] does send a mixed signal," said Watson. "You signed up for the NCC process, you went through the bidding, and you won it. We've been doing some preliminary work in terms of background and so on, and we don't want to waste their time, the public's time or our time if they're not serious about moving forward."

The lead negotiator for Melnyk and the Sens group Jeff Pueblo wrote back this week, saying they're willing to meet with city officials in the coming weeks. Watson added, they just need to pick a date.

"I recognize Eugene's concerns about overgrowth of condos and housing and so on [in the LeBreton Flats area], but this is a 30-year build out. We're not going to do everything overnight," explained the mayor. "The first stage is really the arena and then the rest of the project carries on after that."

Watson continues to be a major proponent of the development project. He thinks it will benefit both the Ottawa Senators franchise and the west side of downtown.

He said their meeting with the Sens group will mostly consist of the city listening and figuring out what their their role might be moving forward.

Listen to the full conversation with Mayor Jim Watson:


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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