Stands can't stand up to full weight

DEREK PUDDICOMBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

One option in the latest engineering report on Lansdowne Park recommends demolishing Frank Clair Stadium, including the Civic Centre.

The structural capacity review, completed by Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd., revealed there is a need to strengthen most of the original raker beams, which are large steel beams located underneath the north grandstand seating.

The raker beams, which are similar to the large beams located on the outside of the stadium, are mostly concealed.

The report recommends restricting capacity in the north side stands.

"While there is no evidence of any distress or damage to these beams, it has been recommended that the city restrict overall occupancy of the north grandstands to row 30 (60% full occupancy) until the raker beam reinforcement program can be financed, planned and executed," the report says.

Until this is completed, the restriction "limits (Lansdowne Park's) ability to attract/host clients," the report says.

Reinforcing the beams is expected to cost about $2 million. Demolishing the entire site would cost $15 million.

To reduce the weight load, the report suggests replacing all the concrete seating and the masonry block partitions with lighter materials.

TOO MUCH STRESS

Stress checks on the raker beams revealed they aren't up to current Ontario Building Code standards. When the stands are fully occupied, there is 14% too much stress on the beams.

Acknowledging there could be a major redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, the report says the city must take into consideration that further structural upgrades to the site could be necessary.

The report also suggests the underground portion of the stadium's structure must be examined to identify possible deterioration.

Most councillors see this as proof the city needs to seriously question how much money it spends on the facility.

Osgoode Coun. Doug Thompson played one junior football game at the park in the 1960s and although Frank Clair Stadium is an institution in Ottawa, he says it might be time to look at something more state of the art.

"Its life expectancy has been reached and we need to move on," he said.

Bay Coun. Alex Cullen has already moved on and says the Glebe doesn't deserve a stadium any longer because of the lack of rapid transit to the facility. He says the latest report "makes life worse."

"The days of Lansdowne Park being a site of a major stadium are long gone," he said.

'BLACK HOLE'

River Coun. Maria McRae considers herself a big football fan and said council needs to act swiftly and make a decision on what to do.

"Otherwise, the stadium is useless and remains a black hole for taxpayer money," she said.

Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches said the report is further proof the stadium isn't sustainable.

"It's greatly accepted that Lansdowne Park is in a poor state and this presents those conditions in black and white," he said.

After reading some of the report, Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess said it gives greater urgency for council to decide the future of Lansdowne.

"This may help whether to even have a stadium there," he said.

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PARK PRICE TAG

Other scenarios for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park include:

- Continue status quo with upper south stands $31 million

- Continue status quo without upper south side stands $30 million

- Going with Lansdowne Live proposal $125 million

- Build a new stadium $185 million


Photos