Lansdowne cost overruns escape easy explanation

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By Susan Sherring, Ottawa Sun

Taxpayers will be forking out more dough for Lansdowne Park, and getting a bit less for their money.

The much-anticipated update report on Lansdowne Park came out late in the day Tuesday, revealing the budget is up by $12 million, and plans for the makeover scaled down.

The final cost is now set at $218.7 million.

Not surprisingly, city staffers are blaming much of the $12-million increase on Friends of Lansdowne Inc., which stalled the deal with their legal wrangling.

There's no doubt Friends aren't really friends of the city.

The legal manoeuvring wasn't their finest moment, and it hurt the project.

The constant appeals dragged on, even when it was clear they didn't have a hope, or a legal leg to stand on.

The real loser was the reputation of the Friends of Lansdowne themselves.

Their loss cost taxpayers, though it's difficult to swallow the staff report in its entirety.

Final Lansdowne recommendation due Tuesday

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Glebe Councillor expects to be disappointed with lists of shops in redevelopment

By David Reevely, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — The stores and restaurants bound for Lansdowne Park are likely to be disappointing, said the councillor for the Glebe on the eve of the release of the final set of city reports on the redevelopment plans.

"There's no question that filling those slots will be possible, but will it be Shoppers Drug Mart and Sport Chek ... or things that are unique to Ottawa, or places that the world has never known?" Councillor David Chernushenko asked.

He'd have liked to know for sure; as the councillor for the area, Chernushenko gets an early look at such reports before they go public. These are due in advance of a city council finance committee meeting next Tuesday. But as is routine when it comes to Lansdowne, the reports have been late. "They were expecting to get me them Thursday or Friday, and I sort of smiled wryly because that never happens," Chernushenko said Monday, still without the documents.

They're supposed to include a final recommendation from the city bureaucracy on whether to go ahead with a roughly $400-million plan to renovate Frank Clair Stadium, build shops and restaurants on the north and west edges of the city-owned property, and turn the southeast quadrant into a major urban park. The deal, a partnership with a handful of property developers and sports businessmen called the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, was sold to city council in 2009 as a chance to build a grand new public space in the city, bring back CFL football in the renovated stadium and give life to the historic Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne's heart.

Crucially, it's supposed to pay for itself over time, with the city's share of the profits from OSEG's new residential and commercial buildings eventually covering the city's up-front costs of more than $200 million. The reports are to include an updated financial forecast; those numbers have stayed fairly constant in previous updates and Chernushenko doesn't expect they'll change significantly this time. Certainly not enough to scuttle the plans.

Glebe residents worried about Lansdowne's 'toxic' berm

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Soil containing toxic leftovers from boilers and refrigeration units
does 'not pose hazard to human health,' says City

By Andrew Duffy, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Some Glebe residents want the province to impose better safeguards on the construction of a large earthen berm at Lansdowne Park.

The 10-metre high berm, which is to be built east of Frank Clair Stadium, will include tonnes of contaminated soil excavated from the construction site.

The City of Ottawa could have trucked all of the soil to a landfill, but instead chose to reuse most of the excavated material, which contains petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons.

The chemicals are toxic leftovers from boilers and refrigeration units that once operated on the 15-hectare site.

Part of the site was also contaminated by garbage — up to five metres deep in places — which was used to fill in an old inlet from the Rideau Canal.

The landfill included materials such as wood, metal, ashes, cinder, coal, bricks and decayed organic material.

Lansdowne work hours extended for the week of August 20

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City of Ottawa

During the week of August 20, the contractor will be working until 8p.m. to demolish the remaining section of the Coliseum Building. It is also possible that work will continue on Saturday, August 25. This means that during the evening hours, there will be general construction noise in the vicinity of the Coliseum building.

The work is being conducted within the City's noise by-law which allows for construction activities to occur from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.

Thank you for your patience while this work takes place.

For more information on construction activities at Lansdowne Park, visit ottawa.ca/newlansdowne.

Please send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Weekend construction work planned for Bronson Avenue, Lansdowne Park

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Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Weekend work is expected at a couple of major construction sites, according to the city.

Work hours on the Bronson Avenue reconstruction project will extend to Saturdays through to December, the city announced on Thursday.

Construction on the project north of the Queensway will occur on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., starting Aug. 18. Rock drilling and "rock hoe ramming" will not take place during the extended hours, the city stated.

The project is on time after beginning in late March, the city said, but the hours of work are being extended to ensure that the intersection of Gladstone Avenue and Bronson can be reopened after the Labour Day weekend as streets get busier with people returning to work and school.

It won't cost the city anything, the city said, and Saturday work is "frequently" required on major projects to ensure that contractors meet target dates.

The work is the first phase of a two-year, $30-million project to rip up Bronson and replace old water and sewer infrastructure that services southern parts of the city and which — in some cases — is 130 years old. The road will be rebuilt and new trees, furniture, sidewalks and artwork installed as part of the project.

Meanwhile, a contractor involved in the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park is to work until 8 p.m. Friday to prepare for the demolition next week of the former Ottawa 67's box office in a section of the Coliseum Building, the city said.

Some "limited" construction work is also expected at Lansdowne on Saturday, it said. The work will take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in an area east of the Horticulture Building, and may require the use of some heavy equipment, the city stated.

In a Lansdowne project update, the city stated that "all the work is being conducted within the City's noise bylaw which allows for construction activities to occur from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays."

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Extended work hours at Lansdowne

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City of Ottawa

The contractor will be working until 8 p.m. today, August 17 on the former 67's box office in order to prepare for next week's demolition of this section of the Coliseum Building.

In addition, some limited construction activities will occur at Lansdowne on Saturday. Work hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be restricted to the area east of the Horticulture Building. The work may require the use of some heavy equipment and vehicles.

All the work is being conducted within the City's noise by-law which allows for construction activities to occur from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.

Thank you in advance for your understanding while this work takes place.

For more information on construction activities at Lansdowne Park, visit ottawa.ca/newlansdowne.

Please send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reconstruction work begins at Lansdowne

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By Laura Mueller, EMC News

Council's approval of preliminary Lansdowne Park reconstruction work on May 8 marked the first time the city councillor for Capital Ward, where the park is located, didn't cast a dissenting vote.

That doesn't mean David Chernushenko is suddenly onside with the project, it's just that he has no opportunity left to withhold his support for the plans, since council has already given the go-ahead.

Chernushenko still questions the need to move the Horticulture Building, but since council already voted to approve that move and remove the building' heritage designation to do so, there is no point in objecting on a vote now, he said.

"This isn't about 'Should we move it,'" he said. "It's about 'Should we move it now,' and make cleaning up the soil a more efficient and thorough job and allow the restoration of the building to go ahead."

City moving ahead with Lansdowne Park plans

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Committee approves small steps toward completion of community, including plans for retail development and programming

Jessica Smith, Metro Ottawa

The "traffic challenges" brought on by developing Lansdowne Park will cause some people to change how they get around the Glebe, Mayor Jim Watson said Thursday.

At the finance and economic development meeting, councillors discussed a plan that would see shuttle services to the city's park-and-ride facilities set up for special events. However, a handful of residents spoke up to say it will be hard for the already-busy Glebe to absorb the added traffic brought in by the new development.

Watson agreed. "I've never underestimated the traffic challenges we're going to face in that community," he said. "It forces some people to take transit, it forces other people to walk or to carpool or to park farther away."

David Chernushenko argued that Lansdowne Park should be a car-free zone, saying the 40 surface parking spaces in the plans will lead in reality to about 100 people circling around looking for a space.

"On a day-to-day basis, not just at major event time when we all know a car couldn't get in there anyway, Lansdowne park should be a car-free area. (Being) a people place would make it that much more special," he said.

George Dark, a member of the Lansdowne Park design panel, said a mix of some well-designed parking with ample space for pedestrians would work better than making Lansdowne car-free.

"Sparks Street without the cars hasn't worked out particularly well in the long run," he said.

Lansdowne will face 'some traffic challenges,' Watson says

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By Neco Cockburn, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — There will be "some traffic challenges" at a redeveloped Lansdowne Park, as was the case during major events in the past, but the city is working to manage the issue, says Mayor Jim Watson.

"It's going to be a holistic approach to deal with the challenges that both parking and traffic circulation are going to cause. The flip side to that is that it's actually a pretty good sign of a healthy community when you actually have more traffic, whether it be pedestrian, cycling, because it's a destination point for people," Watson said on Thursday, after concerns about traffic emerged at a meeting of council's finance and economic development committee.

Watson pointed to Westboro, saying it wasn't such a hot neighbourhood 20 years ago.

"Today, it's pretty busy there on Saturdays as well. I don't mean to sugar-coat the fact that I think there are some legitimate concerns," he said. "We've tried as best as possible with contingency plans to deal with them."

Discussion about traffic and transportation issues overshadowed financial matters as councillors approved reports detailing progress and updates on various elements of the Lansdowne project.

A few community members who spoke to the committee repeated concerns that not enough attention has been paid to the amount of day-to-day traffic the site generate, and that managing big events has been the main focus. (There are plans for shuttle services, satellite parking and other measures aimed at managing a large influx of visitors.)

Capital Councillor David Chernushenko followed up with questions to city staff, who replied that the day-to-day traffic has been assessed.

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.