Lansdowne passes by 15-9 margin; city eyes CFL return

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After a three-year odyssey of public consultations, real-estate challenges and a last-minute clause that threatened to derail the plan entirely, the vote to redevelop Lansdowne Park passed city council approval at the close of a 12-hour marathon meeting.

Lansdowne Park as seen from the air in the 1950s. (File photo)

Councillors passed the $300 million plan by a 15-9 margin on Monday, clearing the way for the next stage of the project: integrating the mixed-use design and a proposed urban-park design by developing a master site plan. The urban park will be developed in partnership with the National Capital Commission and Parks Canada.

The city put through a number of amendments during the meeting to satisfy several interest and resident groups who had expressed concern in the final stages of the project:

- Keeping the Lansdowne Design Review Panel;

- Confirming that the city will maintain ownership of the land, resulting in no sale, and also preserving a bordering community park;

- Allotting $2.5 million in revenue for Ottawa's affordable housing program;

- Including a farmer's square and a spot that could house a new Ottawa Art Gallery;

- Requiring "traffic demand management practices" in and around the site.

Also, the approval gives the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group the green light to proceed with their plan to bring a Canadian Football League franchise back to Ottawa around 2013.

The city has been without a football league since 2006, when the Ottawa Renegades died after four seasons. Previously, the struggling Ottawa Rough Riders were also sold.

OSEG also plans to refurbish Frank Clair Stadium and add about 340,000 square feet of commercial development to the site.

Late last week, councillors discovered a clause inside the contract giving OSEG a 30-year monopoly on all other stadiums and large entertainment facilities built inside of Ottawa's borders, but the clause was removed following eleventh-hour negotiations between the sports group and the city.

Construction on the stadium and mixed-use will be completed, at the earliest, in 2013. There is no timeline set for the completion of the urban park.

Organizations: Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, Canadian Football League

Geographic location: Ottawa, Frank Clair Stadium

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