Aerial photo of TD Place Stadium and shops at Lansdowne Park with the Glebe at top and left. WAYNE CUDDINGTON / OTTAWA CITIZEN
Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen
The finance committee has endorsed a deal to end the city's $23.6-million dispute with its Lansdowne Park business partners, despite a legal opinion that says the city would likely win if the matter went to arbitration.
The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) and the city differ over who's responsible for work related to repairing rusty steel structures in the arena's roof, which were discovered after a contract had been signed, and other costs for bringing the retail area up to the same design standard as elsewhere in the park.
OSEG believes the roof repair is beyond the scope of the agreement it signed with the city, so the city should pay; the city believes the bill belongs to OSEG.
A legal opinion from Gowling Lafleur Henderson, shared in confidence with councillors, says that on every front the Gowlings lawyers think the city would probably win. On the big-ticket steel, OSEG knew that rain leaked into the Civic Centre hockey arena from above — not least because it dripped into Ottawa 67's owner and OSEG partner Jeff Hunt's private box. OSEG had a report in hand suggesting that the steel in the arena roof, which supported the concourse for the football stadium built on top of it, had probably been exposed to a lot of water.
The developers might not have known precisely what they were getting into, the legal opinion says, but they knew they were taking a risk when they signed a deal to take on renovating the stadium and arena at a fixed price.