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OTAG calls for Lansdowne "back-up" plan

The Ottawa Taxpayers Advocacy Group is urging city manager Kent Kirkpatrick to pursue a "back-up plan" to pay for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. The fiscal conservatives at OTAG say if the court challenge by a group fighting the Lansdowne deal succeeds, Ottawa taxpayers will be out "millions," with nothing to show for it. OTAG believes Kirkpatrick should pursue a federal funding commitment, just in case. Here's their news release:

OTAG presses City to seek alternative funding for Lansdowne redevelopment in face of potential legal defeat

Ottawa, Mar 21 - In an email to Ottawa City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick, Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group President Kevin MacDonald pressed Mr. Kirkpatrick to seek alternative funding as part of a backup plan for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park and a new sports stadium.

"In the face of Rosen & Associates' scathing review of the Lansdowne Partnership Plan (LPP) financial proposal, we are concerned that if the Friends of Lansdowne legal challenge is successful, the Lansdowne Partnership Plan will collapse and Ottawa taxpayers will be stuck with the bill, with nothing to show for it," MacDonald said.

In the email, MacDonald asked if the City is considering pursuing federal and provincial funding as part of a back up plan that assumes an OSEG defeat. Our City management, he said, should be hard at work on an alternate plan should OSEG fail in its bid.  

MacDonald pointed to the delayed construction and the recently announced delay in CFL football as evidence of cracks in the current plan.

With the Liberal Party of Canada's recent commitment to fund new stadium projects, OTAG would like the City of Ottawa to pursue all funding alternatives including the Liberal commitment if they are successful. "Clearly we need to ask these questions now before the Federal Candidates start knocking on doors".

"Too much time, energy, and millions in taxpayers' money has been invested in this project already to see it go to waste," MacDonald said. "Even if it means starting over and returning to an open competition in order to be eligible for provincial and federal funding, we want to see Ottawa taxpayers' existing investment in this project protected."

Mr. MacDonald is currently awaiting a reply to his letter from Ottawa City Manager, Kent Kirkpatrick.

OTAG is right about one thing: No government is going to fund a sole-sourced deal like the LPP. Killing this plan will mean starting over, and could mean many more years with Lansdowne Park left in its current state.

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