Lansdowne "Park" "Consultations"

After attending Monday evening's consultation session at Lansdowne Park I made a few notes about my impressions of the project and of the process. Since then I also went to Wednesday evening session which included a two and a half hour question and answer period. I have more notes on that session and will edit them a little and hopefully publish a post tomorrow.

These notes reflect the fact that the session raised more questions than answers. Since Monday the City has decided to add more question and answer opportunities at more venues. This is surely a sign that somebody within City Hall is getting the message that just because the Mayor and a group of developers think this is a done deal many citizens don't agree.

  • The City staff that planned the 'consultations' are more interested in doing a sales job than in feedback
  • City staff were not prepared to listen to anyone's opinions. Nobody was taking notes.
  • Sole feedback mechanism was survey forms dropped in a box. Many people asking what is going to happen to the forms. I heard different answers to this question from different City representatives.
  • There is a high level of frustration with the lack of input. This was of course demonstated by a guy with a megaphone standing on a chair to make his opinion known.
  • The farmers market will not survive this plan. Representatives of the market were at the session. They can't see how the space being made for them could possibly support the market. The lack of parking and the two years (minimum) of construction time means the end of the farmer's market.
  • Arguing with a sports radio host is not productive.
  • There seems to be only two real ways to stop this proposal 1) legal action against OSEG and/or the city 2) suburban councillors changing their minds.
  • City and OSEG roles are blurred. Who is selling this vision and who is listening to feedback. The display boards have the City's mark on them, but look like they were created by OSEG for the purpose of selling their proposal.
  • The OSEG proposal clearly breaks the guidelines handed down by council to the City's negotiators in April (Motion 65/12 I believe). and that is just the proposal. Once development starts holding OSEG to a specific plan is going to get even harder.

This summarized my impressions after Monday's session. It is hard to describe how surprised and frustrated people (more than 1000 people attended) were to find that their opportunity for questions and feedback consisted of standing around looking at posters while City staff defended OSEG's proposal. While the senior staff there were clearly defending a vision they support, other staff had as many questions as the citizens around them. Almost every staff person I talked to told me that "we are doing what council directed". 

It is clear that any substantive discussion from now on must include as many City Councilors as possible.


I am not familiar with that acronym.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group