Lansdowne's urban park overshot budget by 23%

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Rush to make site safe by opening day led to extra costs, city says

The city was responsible for creating the seven-hectare urban park at Lansdowne during redevelopment, which included work on the Aberdeen Pavilion and creating the surrounding courtyards and public areas. (Kate Porter/CBC)

By Kate Porter, CBC News

The City of Ottawa overshot the authorized spending target for the urban park portion of the Lansdowne redevelopment by 10 per cent, or 23 per cent more than the budget originally allocated for the city-built portion of the project.

While Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group led the redevelopment of the stadium and retail areas, the city was fully responsible for the seven-hectare urban park.

The city's original budget for renovating and relocating the Horticulture Building, renovating the Aberdeen Pavilion, and creating the playground, skate park, great lawn and public squares was $37.5 million.

With contingencies accounted for, staff had $42.5 million to work with.

But at a meeting of the city's finance and economic development committee Tuesday, Marco Manconi, the city manager responsible for Lansdowne's design and construction, said staff used up that contingency funding and needed an extra $3.7 million, taking total costs for the urban cost to $46.2 million.

So in total, costs increased by 23 per cent over the original budget for the urban park.

"The additional costs were primarily associated with advancing some elements of the park to ensure safety at the time of site opening," wrote Manconi.

Beyond original scope

In the summer of 2014, the playground and skate park had a grand opening in mid-August, a month after the stadium hosted its first Redblacks game.

Work on the Horticulture Building, which opened that November, also went beyond the original scope in order to "meet the Ontario Building Code and other unforeseen building condition issues."

None of the work had to do with deficiencies, wrote Manconi.

The $3.73 million in extra capital costs will be covered by money that's being returned to reserves by other capital projects that have wrapped up and had unused amounts, according to the city's treasurer, Marian Simulik.

The urban park cost overrun from 2014 is one of many budget adjustments on a list that was considered Tuesday by the city's finance and economic development committee.

Because the amount surpasses the city's delegated authority limits, council will have to approve it at an upcoming meeting.

If you don’t find the information you need on these pages, please visit ottawa.ca/newlansdowne, or to contact the City directly by email at newlansdowne@ottawa.caor by calling 3-1-1 (press 1 for English, then 5 for the Lansdowne line). If necessary, you may also contact the project manager, Marco Manconi, at 613-580-2424 ext. 43229, or by email.