Ottawa residents join stadium debate
Ottawa residents squeezed their way into the packed council chambers — some of them wearing old Renegades jerseys — in order to have their say in Ottawa's stadium debate Monday.
Councillors are to vote Wednesday on the future of the two stadium proposals put before them by developers hoping to bring professional sports teams to the capital.
One proposal is to build a professional soccer stadium in Kanata and the other proposal is to rejuvenate Lansdowne Park by building a football stadium where Frank Clair Stadium now stands.
Cyril Leeder, the chief operating officer of the Ottawa Senators NHL team, spoke Monday morning on behalf of the Kanata proposal.
Leeder told councillors that he thought staff had overlooked the millions of dollars in tax revenues the Kanata project would generate for the city.
Roger Greenberg and his three partners from Lansdowne Live, the project looking to bring football to the Glebe, then lobbied for his proposal.
Mark Cohon, the commissioner of the Canadian Football League, joined in to say that the CFL was incomplete without a team in Ottawa.
Both groups made their pitches and then a third group, made up of Ottawa residents, was to have a say.
Close to 60 people were set to appear before council Monday afternoon — from business owners to sports fans.
Ian Lee, the head of the MBA program at the Sprott School of Business, was set to kick of the afternoon debate.
As a resident of the Glebe, he said he hopes the city considers reviving Lansdowne Park without a stadium.
"I think that they have to separate the decision over the stadium from the question of the redevelopment of Lansdowne, which is a very important issue," said Lee.
Lee said he doesn't think a stadium should go on the Lansdowne site because he doesn't think the city's transportation system is set up to support the fans it could draw.
Greg Best, a business owner and head of the Glebe Business Improvement Area, said he's hoping to tell council about the worries of local business owners.
"Putting in some kind of stadium or some kind of large box retail is not a legacy I'd be proud of," said Best.
He said that councillors should consider that whatever happens to the Lansdowne site will be the legacy they leave behind.