Lansdowne delays are an opportunity to offer ideas, not lay blame

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It may be convenient to label Glebe residents as anti-anything at Lansdowne Park, but that does not make it true. People here have co-existed for many decades with the traffic, noise and exciting energy that characterize this public venue, and they are more interested than anyone in seeing Lansdowne Park redeveloped as a vibrant hub of culture, enterprise, recreation and sport. 

Indeed, local residents are positively bursting with constructive ideas about how to redevelop this public space to offer opportunities for athletes, businesses, artists and others. Not once in many weeks of campaigning in Capital Ward — and not once since — have I heard a single citizen say they want to leave Lansdowne Park as it is.

Lansdowne Park is arguably Ottawa’s most important public space, and many continue to believe that it should be redeveloped in a way that achieves the very best results for the public good, remaining in public hands.

As for the delays, it is equally convenient and untrue to attribute these to the court challenge. I sit on the Lansdowne Design Review Panel and can tell you that everything is well behind the original schedule. This is a big and complicated project, and delays have been encountered in all most every aspect of the design work, the legal agreements and the search for commercial tenants.

But delays are not always a bad thing. Used constructively, delays offer us a chance to question, revisit and improve on what has been proposed to date. Delays also provide an opportunity to listen to the many ideas that previously went unheard at open houses that were more sales pitch than consultation. The best ideas could still be adopted, the rest rejected.

The outcome of the court challenge will not be known for months. Let's use the intervening time to improve, not to blame.

–David Chernushenko