Ottawa approves a redevelopment and revitalization plan for their 40-acre historic sports facility with light rail connection

On June 8, 2022, the Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) City Council approved in principle a business plan and funding strategy to redevelop the 40-acre (16 hectare) urban park / sports / exhibition / entertainment facility known as Lansdowne Park.

The revitalization plan includes a new event centre, north side stands, retail spaces and residential units – including affordable housing.

Lansdowne Park, 1950.
Photo courtesy of the City of Ottawa.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) has proposed a plan for a state-of-the-art, 5,500-seat event centre east of the football field, to help bring more concerts and cultural events to Ottawa.

OSEG also aims to remove the aging north side stands, replacing them with facilities that would be fully compliant with current accessibility standards.

The Civic Centre arena and existing retail space would be replaced with a two-story retail building that could eventually be expanded with up to 1,200 new residential units, including 120 affordable ones, directly above it.

The total capital cost for the project, estimated at $332.6 million, will be funded through the sale of air rights and debt funding, along with some City capital budget funding for internal costs.

The new funding model simplifies an existing arrangement and improves the City’s financial position. Staff will return with a follow-up report detailing costs, legal amendments and public consultation feedback for consideration in the next Term of Council.

Council approved realigning the planned route of Barrhaven Stage 3 LRT (light rail transit) to avoid displacing tenants of Manor Village and Cheryl Gardens. The new alignment shifts the LRT away from residential properties to a raised track along the centre of Woodroffe Avenue.

The raised track would extend 1.3 kilometers, between Knoxdale and Hunt Club roads. Next steps would involve finalizing the design, consulting with the public, refining cost estimates and informing Committee and Council of the consultation outcome.

Council approved a new Vacant Property By-law that will require owners of properties, including buildings and lands, that are left unoccupied for 120 consecutive days to obtain a permit and to follow regulations for identifying, managing and visiting their sites.

This will help mitigate common problems with vacant properties, including improper maintenance, garbage, graffiti, vandalism, and unauthorized access. It will also help prevent demolition by neglect as the City will identify problems with vacant buildings before they are damaged beyond repair.

Annual permits will cost just over $1700, and exemptions are included to accommodate snowbirds, travelling workers and vacation properties. Principal residences are not included in this new permit program.

Council also approved amendments to the Vehicle-for-Hire By-law to increase the taxicab meter rate by 10 per cent and to change the commercial general liability insurance required for all taxi, limousine and private transportation businesses from $5 million to $2 million. These changes respond to requests from the taxi industry.

Feature photo (by Itooksomepics via Wikipedia) shows Lansdowne Park in 2019.

See full redevelopment strategy.

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