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Friends to appeal

Here's the official announcement from Friends of Lansdowne:

Friends of Lansdowne to Appeal Municipal Act Ruling

Friends of Lansdowne Inc. has decided to take its Lansdowne Legal Challenge to the Ontario Court of Appeal. A formal notice, setting out the grounds for appeal, will be filed by August 28, 2011. If successful, the appeal will quash the City's decision to approve the $400 million Lansdowne Partnership Plan.

"Friends of Lansdowne has 7,000 people on its mailing list from all over the region" said June Creelman, President of Friends of Lansdowne Inc. "We have had an overwhelming call from our supporters to continue our fight for transparent and accountable government at the municipal level."

Friends of Lansdowne will argue that the Superior Court allowed Ottawa's City Council far too much latitude in regard to restrictions set out in provincial law concerning competitive procurement, the use of tax dollars to assist commercial entities and the requirement that it put the public interest first.

"As an Ottawa resident and taxpayer, I expect municipal government to be transparent and accountable when they are spending $400 million dollars of taxpayers' money and developing nearly 40 acres of public land. I certainly don't want tax dollars used to subsidize a commercial shopping centre and two sports teams." said Ian Lee, a spokesman for Friends of Lansdowne.

The Appeal need not delay redevelopment of a sports stadium. Since the redevelopment of the stadium is to be paid in full by taxpayers, the City can proceed with construction of a stadium at Lansdowne, or in another more transit-friendly location, regardless of any appeal. City officials have announced that they do not plan to finalize the deal with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group until spring 2012. Friends of Lansdowne expects its appeal to be heard later this year or early next.

As a city-wide community group, Friends of Lansdowne has sought an open, transparent process and has opposed sole-sourcing. "This is the first time the Ontario Court of Appeal will be asked to address key issues raised by this case. I hope property taxpayers come out the winners", said Ms. Creelman.

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