FEDCO votes to settle city dispute with OSEG over Lansdowne roof repairs

A $23.6-million settlement for Lansdowne Park roof repairs is “very fair,” despite the fact that the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group will be footing the bill, according to a private partner.

by  Lucy Scholey

The finance and economic development committee approved the deal on Tuesday. If council follows suit on Dec. 9, OSEG will pay for the corroded steel repairs. But the city is acting as guarantor on the loan, which gives the private sports company a lower interest rate.

Roger Greenberg, executive chairman of Minto, an OSEG partner, said this is the best option for Ottawa and OSEG.

“The arbitration would be a very long, drawn, dragged out affair that would not look good in public for both of us,” he said.

There had been reports the TD Place arena was leaking. What caught them by surprise, said Greenberg, was that a black waterproof spray on the roof of the old Civic Centre (what’s now known as TD Place), was actually acting like a sponge and soaking up water, causing “very serious deterioration” in the steel roof.

“If left alone, I don’t want to be dramatic, but (we) could have had another Elliot Lake situation on our hands, which would have been catastrophic for the city,” said Mr. Greenberg.

OSEG’s initial position was this type of work was not within its scope, which is where it butted heads with the city.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called the timing of the roof repair a “small blessing.”

“We know that if we did not have an agreement with OSEG, we would eventually have to fix that roof ourselves,” he said.

Old disagreements about Lansdowne Park seemed to resurface among councillors at the finance committee meeting on Tuesday, with Coun. Diane Deans noting the finances aren’t looking so great.

In its first year, OSEG has posted a $10.9-million operating loss. The company has already invested $110 million in Lansdowne Park.

Looking at the attendance for Redblacks games, Coun. Jan Harder called the Bank Street site a “phenomenal success.”

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on Dec. 1.