Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Committing to nothing ... totally Ottawa

It would just be cherry-picking to say it's true to form for Ottawa city council to come to a decision which doesn't tie them to coming to a decision.

C'est la vie. The latest seems to be that they're going to give priority to the Lansdowne Live proposal from the Jeff Hunt group and Eugene Melnyk's footy fantasyland way out wonder in the wilds of Kan-a-ta. Please don't jump to the conclusion it's an either/or, since as the Paper of Record notes, "city manager Kent Kirkpatrick repeatedly said this is not the case. He said the process will help determine whether either proposal shows enough merit to continue developing further before final decisions are made."

Uh-huh. It seems sporting to let our commenters, if they so see fit, have it out over whether this plays more into Hunt's hands or into Melnyk's. The first group had the jump on Mr. Eugene, and it probably has a better reputation than the Senators owner, who's taken some hits in the last six months, more so for his hockey team's fall from grace than over Biovail.

Melynk's critics would charge that he's playing a game of Calvinball, changing the rules and the objectives as he sees fit. Some, a minority mind you, would the Hunt group's plan would be same ol', same ol', except Lansdowne would go from public space to private space, on the public's dimes.

The upshot, though, is the city isn't even really saying it's going to commit to something April 22, near as one can tell. A glass half-full person, tough as that is to be in this city, would say perhaps they're ultimately going to look at the Bayview/Lebreton Flats area and force the principals to swallow their pride, hold their noses and work together. Or is that too pie-in-the-sky by half?

Kanata and Lansdowne stadium proposals get priority, council decides (Jake Rupert, Ottawa Citizen)
Maybe the CFL isn't such a bad idea: Eugene Melnyk (The 24th minute)
Proposed soccer stadium could host CFL team: Melnyk (Derek Puddicombe, Sun Media)
Soccer would thrive in Kanata, Melnyk vows to councillors (Jake Rupert, Ottawa Citizen)


Anonymous said...

More red herrings from Melnyk. Sure, he'll spend "50 million of his own money" - for something he alone will own (the team, which folds after the league does). The city "gets" to build a $110. million dollar soccer stadium? Lansdowne surely cannot cost anywhere near that to fix, and that group will lease surrounding land (presumably at fair market) AND they can play soccer there too. Can anyone tell me why the debate?

Both proposals are real estate plays. Nothing wrong with that, but one is trying to create demand where there is none (at massive cost), the other fixes what needs to be and expands on it. Mostly at the expense of the developer.

sager said...

It is fair to note Lansdowne ranked sixth and Melnyk's site ranked seventh when the city listed preferred sites for a multi-use facility. Also, no one knows what Lansdowne Lame would cost; they figure $80 million, probably more (it's always more; take it from a contractor's son!).

I would defer to Mr. Duane Rollins on whether this league which has been around since 1996 is going to fold. I can't speak for MLS, however, the leagues which have lived beyond their means (PGA, NASCAR, NBA, NHL and MLB, NCAA major-college football) seem to be the ones who are in deep water.

Anonymous said...

Melynk is willing to put $50 million of his own into the stadium.Coudl the msl team fold sure could the league fold yes but there are other leagues that could play out of melynk stadium.As for saying there is no demand for soccer in ottawa is really not correct.Ottawa is a very big soccer community from the young kids all the way up to adults.Both teams could play out of one stadium but then things get complex.Who gets first pick of days how is the conessions etc ssplit and the list goes on.

Anonymous said...

So is Melnyk's 110 million dollar stadium likely to be more than 110. It's always more.

In the meantime it costs us a minimum of 3 million taxpayers dollars a year to keep a crumbling Lansdowne in business. Take out a loan for the city portions of the costs to rebuild Lansdowne( after fed and provincial money has been applied for). Take the 3 milion now going to operating losses, plus the estimate $2 million from property taxes and lease fees and pay the debt with it. This is the same model the city has already decided to do for the new Ottawa Convention Center. The city has taken out a loan for its investment, after obtaining fed and prov. money. The city will pay off the loan from revenue from the new convention center, as opposed to losing money on the old one. That is their claim and if it works for the convention center, the model can work for Lansdowne.