OSEG to seek tourism designation for Lansdowne

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By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group will submit an application to declare Lansdowne Park a tourism site, the CEO says.

"We'll be working on that as soon as possible," Bernie Ashe said Monday.

Ashe said the company is working with the Glebe BIA and hopes to have the paperwork filed at City Hall within 60 days. From there, it will be up to council to make a decision.

Declaring Lansdowne a tourist site would allow stores to be open on statutory holidays, adding to existing sites in Ottawa that include the Byward Market and Rideau St.

Whole Foods at Lansdowne received a visit from police on Good Friday when the store was open against the law. The grocer claims it thought Lansdowne already had tourism designation.

OSEG, which is the city's partner in the Lansdowne redevelopment, is the landlord for the retail stores.

Since council's meeting schedule thins out over the summer, Ashe doesn't expect a quick turnaround on a decision.

Ashe on Monday was at City Hall fielding questions from council's transportation committee about the first year of traffic and parking for major events at Lansdowne.

The committee, which includes Lansdowne-area Coun. David Chernushenko, agreed the traffic and parking problem wasn't as bad as some thought it would be.

"It gives me great pleasure to say nobody is saying, 'I told you so'," Chernushenko said.

The local community associations want the city to protect on-street parking for residents and get more people to take OC Transpo.

The Glebe BIA wants the city to consider a free fare zone on Bank St. to encourage transit use. Transpo says it's feasible but the lost revenue would need to be recouped somehow.

Orléans Coun. Bob Monette brought up concerns about transportation to the site in the winter and traffic gridlock on Bank St.

Ashe said OSEG would be open to allowing cars to park on TD Place field for events in the winter -- such as Ottawa 67s games -- since it's not being used.

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Twitter: @JonathanWilling

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