Laura Mueller / OTTAWA THIS WEEK
GLEBE - The community is still trying to absorb the impact of an almost-yearlong delay in the Lansdowne redevelopment project.
Perhaps the most significant fallout could be the effect on the city's bid to host two FIFA women's world-cup soccer games in 2015. Ottawa is one of seven cities in the running to host two women's world cup soccer tournaments in July of 2014 and June of 2015.
Under the revised timelines released in a city report on Aug. 12, the stadium wouldn't be ready to use until early 2014.
A representative from the Canadian Soccer Association did not respond to requests to comment on the potential impact of the delay on its FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) bid, but Coun. Steve Desroches said FIFA could "find some comfort" in city council's desire to move forward on the project.
"I think it's critical that we keep to the timelines so that we can provide those assurances to FIFA," Desroches said.
He added that he isn't aware of any concerns that have been expressed by the organizers of the U-20 Women's World Cup (2014) and FIFA Women's World Cup (2015).
Capital Ward Coun. David Chernushenko refrained from saying "I told you so," but as the lone dissenter on the motion to seek the FIFA tournaments, he said he wouldn't be surprised if the revised timelines had some impact on the stadium's readiness to host the events.
But he added that as a soccer fan, he hopes FIFA would look at other, perhaps more important, factors that go into hosting a successful sporting event, such as the atmosphere of the capital, associated entertainment events and transportation options.
"(Ottawa) would appeal because it's the capital," Chernushenko said. "You can host an event in an unfinished stadium."
Temporary stands could be installed in the interim if the stadium is not fully completed, Chernushenko said.
Chernushenko was also quick to dismiss claims that the Friends of Lansdowne legal challenge was the main or only reason for the delay.
"I continue to resent that implication," he said, adding that there have been many delays on OSEG and the designers' side as well.
As for whether the reconstruction of Bank Street in the Glebe could have waited until next year, Chenushenko said he would have approached the issue differently if he had known Lansdowne would be delayed.
"In life, you have to make decisions based on the information you have at the time," he said, noting that waiting until 2012 to reconstruct the street still would not have allowed the city to find funds to bury the hydro wires.