Lansdowne update: Public consultation before talks on transferring control
Thanks to the mobilization of the community and the work of Councillor Shawn Menard’s office, there is some good news coming out of the City of Ottawa’s Finance and Economic Development Committee on November 5, 2019.
Instead of passing a motion directing the City to enter into negotiations to transfer control of the Lansdowne urban park to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), the committee is asking City Council for public consultations to precede any discussions of the transfer of management. Also, it is possible that the public consultations and discussions with OSEG will lead to a recommendation that OSEG’s offer to take over control of the public parts of the park be rejected.
Stay tuned to find out how you can have your say.
The motion, passed by the Finance and Economic Development Committee, will go to City Council on November 27:
“WHEREAS response to the potential change in operator for the public realm components of Lansdowne Park has underscored the value that the community places on the current approach to the programming direction and plan of the Urban Park, and that Lansdowne Park has become the people place that Council envisioned; and
WHEREAS, on February 22, 2012, City Council approved the “Lansdowne Urban Park, Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture Building Programming Plan” report (ACS2012-COS-PRC-0004), which was based on significant community consultation and the results of an international design competition, providing overall guidance on the programming of each element of the Urban Park (public realm components), specifically the Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticulture Building, Aberdeen Square, the Great Lawn and outdoor plaza spaces and the Outdoor Rink; and
WHEREAS the Council-approved programming approach is designed to make the Urban Park, “a world class attraction, open to the public and programmed by the City on a year-round basis….[and to support] the vision of Lansdowne hosting a variety of activities that attract residents and visitors alike, and are complementary to activities in the Stadium, Civic Centre and mixed-use sections of the site”, including the retention of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market on the site;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Finance and Economic Development Committee recommend that Council approve that Recommendation 4 be amended to read as follows:
4. That the General Manager, Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services be directed to undertake exploratory discussions related to the day-to-day booking and coordination of operations of the Lansdowne site to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), to be preceded and informed by public consultations on the community programming aspects of the proposal to be undertaken by the City with the Ward Councillor within existing budgets, as described in this report, and that, in addition to consideration of the results of the facility users and stakeholder consultations, these public consultations and exploratory discussions with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group related to booking operations of the public realm components of Lansdowne Park will be based on the following principles, in keeping with the Council-approved programming plan:
- That the Aberdeen Square and Aberdeen Pavilion will continue to be used as the outdoor and seasonal indoor venues for the Ottawa Farmers’ Market in accordance with existing agreements;
- That the Lansdowne Urban Park will continue to play an important role in supporting municipal special events such as the Canada Day Senior’s Breakfast, United Way events, Remembrance Day Ceremonies, support space for Winterlude related winter events and community flea markets;
- That the level of community events, bookings and programming will not decrease, or increase in cost, as a result of any policies or decisions of the operator; and
- That the Horticulture Building will continue to provide access for community use in accordance with the City-established rental rates, including the differential rates for not-for-profit organizations and events; and
- That there will be no cost increase to the City of Ottawa beyond inflation and no change in the ownership status, as outlined in the Lansdowne Partnership Agreement; and
That the results of these exploratory discussions and consultations be brought back in a report to the Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council for consideration by the end of Q2 2020, including any recommendations, up to and including a rejection of the offer or a negotiated agreement regarding the transfer of booking operations for the Lansdowne Urban Park; and that the report contain a notional overview of benefits to the City and of costs that may remain with the City (such as those associated with the preservation of public and community programming).”