Watson says he had hoped for more than two LeBreton bidders

A day after only two groups submitted proposals to redevelop LeBreton Flats – both including arenas – Mayor Jim Watson said he was expecting more.

“I was hoping that there would be the four bidders that would give different visions for what LeBreton would look like,” he said after meeting with four local MPs at his office on Wednesday.

“I’m not sure why the other two bidders stepped back. … Hopefully we’ll get more of that information from the NCC.”

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the city’s representative at the cabinet table and the MP for Ottawa Centre, which includes LeBreton Flats, said she was due to meet with the NCC on Wednesday to get more details.

“This is a key piece of land, and I think as the mayor said, it would be great to see a broad range of options and consultations around those options,” she said.

“I want to understand how we’re going to move forward on this and what the plans are for public consultation."

Those plans, as they stand, are a two-day open house Jan. 26-27 to showcase the proposals, followed by a period of online feedback.

Watson also ruled out contributing city taxpayer money to a possible arena when asked about the matter.

“No. I’ve indicated that we don’t have the capacity and we would not put tax dollars into a private enterprise,” he said.

Many North American sports facilities in the past couple of decades have been built with the help of public money.

DCDLS Group and Rendez Vous LeBreton Group are the two finalists to redevelop the prime parcel of land just west of downtown. The latter includes the company that owns the Ottawa Senators and would see an arena built on the site.

DCDLS’s bid was originally said to include multiple cultural institutions, but now reportedly also includes an arena.

Two other groups that had been shortlisted last February did not submit proposals.

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on Dec. 16.