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OSEG take over plans for Lansdowne Park paused
A controversial plan for the private sector to fully take over Lansdowne Park suffered a major blow Tuesday.
Following public backlash members from the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDco) voted to delay any decision until 2020.
Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which currently operates TD Place stadium, the arena and commercial areas, is proposing to take over programming of public spaces at Lansdowne, including Aberdeen Pavilion and urban park space. It is a move that city manager Steve Kanellakos told the city to support just a few weeks ago.
Immediately following that announcement hundreds of community members attended a meeting where concerned residents called for more public consultation. At FEDco another 40 people signed up to speak out the matter - most against.
At the last minute, Councillor Matt Luloff introduced a motion to see “exploratory discussions related to day-to-day booking and coordination of operations of the Lansdowne site to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group…”
Luloff says it allows both parties time to consult and return with a report to FEDco and council in 2020.
That motion includes a line about keeping Aberdeen Square and Aberdeen Pavilion as outdoor and seasonal venues for the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and that Lansdowne continue to play an important role in supporting municipal special events like Canada Day Senior’s Breakfast.
The councillor for the area called the compromise a win-win.
“This is what we’ve been calling for,” said councillor Shawn Menard.
“It’s to make sure there’s broad-based public consultation proceeding any discussion or negotiation over any commercialization of the rest of Lansdowne Park.”
Asked if it was a loss for OSEG - CEO Mark Goudie said not at all.
“We sent the city a proposal to get into a dialogue of what we all want, I think, which is to make a better Lansdowne - so I think that is where we are headed,” Goudie said.
During an update provided to FEDco Goudie said OSEG lost $12.7 million on Lansdowne from January 2018 until March 2019.
Goudie said the goal for OSEG is to get more people to Lansdowne and find ways to make it more enjoyable for more people.