Lansdowne Park mural painting event cancelled

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CBC News

The city of Ottawa has cancelled an organized event to paint murals on the construction fencing around Lansdowne Park.

Glebe residents have been painting murals on the fencing near the development for weeks.

The city had approached them about holding an official "paint party" this weekend and had promised $3000 for supplies and said it would close Holmwood Avenue Saturday to help facilitate the event. Artists have been painting murals on the construction fencing around Lansdowne Park.Artists have been painting murals on the construction fencing around Lansdowne Park. (CBC)

But local artist and event organizer "Arthur II" said the city has now backed out on the funds and road closure.

"The people got all excited, to them I feel regret and disappointment that I put it out there, because in a way I feel like I dashed their hopes," he said.

A city spokesperson said the city couldn't schedule the event around construction activities at Lansdowne Park, but that it may look at another event in the spring.

Arthur II said he is worried many people might show up anyway.

"That would be irresponsible, there is no street closure, and I for one don't want to be liable for whatever might happen to someone crossing the street," he said.

Local councillor David Chernushenko said even though the city has changed it's mind on the weekend event, he thinks people should keep painting.

"It doesn't require a bureaucracy, it doesn't require a city-sanctioned street closure. It's happening. It's fantastic. And if we can provide safety through orange pylons and warning signs, I'd love to make that happen," he said.

Council gives final go ahead to Lansdowne project

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By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Construction is to begin in earnest at Lansdowne Park next week now that Ottawa's city council has given its final approval to plans to redevelop the site.

The vote on Wednesday, the very last one in a four-year City Hall odyssey for the dilapidated Glebe fairground unless something extraordinary happens, was 21-3, with councillors Diane Holmes, David Chernushenko and Diane Deans voting against.

The vote means the city will move ahead with a half-billion-dollar partnership with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group that would renovate Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre hockey rink beneath it for sports franchises, replace the parking lot in Lansdowne's southeast quadrant with a major new park, and construct retail, office and residential space along the site's north and west edges to pay for it all over several decades.

Mayor Jim Watson said he expects that "Lansdowne will become a true gathering place as was its original purpose back in the 1800s." Trying to renew it was one of his first projects as a newly elected city councillor in 1991, he said, and although it's taken a very long time, he's glad a renovation is finally happening.

"We can't rewrite history. We can only make sure we don't repeat it," Watson said.

Other construction has been underway all summer, on parts of Lansdowne that would ostensibly need work even if council had voted the deal down — digging up contaminated soil before construction begins on an underground garage and preparing to move the Horticulture Building farther east on the site. (The historic building is already up off its foundation and on its way.) But with the vote in hand, contractors from Pomerleau will start on OSEG's commercial construction as well.

Final Lansdowne deal passed by council

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CBC News

Ottawa city council has approved the final plan for the redesign of Lansdowne Park, one that includes changes to the financial plan first put to council in 2010, by a vote of 21-3.

The only councillors who voted against the plan are Diane Deans, Diane Holmes and David Chernushenko. As it was expected the large majority of city council wanted to see the deal completed in order to begin construction.

Major construction could begin as soon as Monday, Oct. 15.

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is likely to see a large share of early returns from Lansdowne Park, in part because they have shouldered the early load on costs leading up to the project.

As part of their partnership to redevelop the park, the city and OSEG came up with a formula to determine the equity stake each had in the project. The funding equity is a measure of both investment in the project as well as risk.

In 2010 OSEG's initial investment, or funding equity, was set at $30 million. But delays and design changes mean they're now investing $56 million.

"We're putting a lot more equity into this than we ever expected, and so the risk to us, is much much greater than it was in 2010," said OSEG chair Roger Greenberg.

OSEG is also on the hook for any more cost overruns.

Lack of park retail detail irks councillor, City's portion of Lansdowne cost goes up by $12M, report finds

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By Laura Mueller, EMC

The cost to the city of redeveloping Lansdowne Park has risen by $12 million, but consultants are busy finding ways to defray the costs.

A report released on Sept. 25 advises city council to move forward with the plan and provides an updated snapshot of the costs, revenue and the retail mix.

The additional cost includes $3.3 million for the $74.9 million stadium, an extra $5.6 million to build a 1,370-space parking garage and $3.1 million more for the office, residential, and public components.

Eighteen months of delays caused by a rigorous design process and legal challenges brought by the Friends of Lansdowne and the Lansdowne Park Conservancy have put an additional $8.2 million budget pressure on the project.

The list of confirmed merchants (Empire Cinemas, Whole Foods and LCBO) coming to Lansdowne remains at three, but consultants say leases for 73 per cent of the retail space are very close to being signed, which is the norm for a development at this stage, according to the city report.

That didn't sit well with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who said he is still not comfortable with the messages he has received on retail at Lansdowne.

"There are a number of important aspects to this report, but the one that jumps out to me is the lack of detail on the retail," Chernushenko said. "This is the last and indeed almost only chance for councillors and for the public to know what it is we're buying into. What is it we're spending $165 million on ... . We can't just say, 'Trust us, sign here.' This is the last chance. This is where we sign the cheque and it can't be a blank one."