Motion for Lansdowne

SHANE ROSS AND DEREK PUDDICOMBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The Lansdowne Live group appeared to emerge as the big winner in the showdown yesterday to convince city council to build a 25,000-seat, multi-purpose, open-air stadium.

But after a 10-hour special committee meeting, two motions were tabled that offer something to both Lansdowne Live group and Senators Sports & Entertainment.

College Coun. Rick Chiarelli tabled a motion to negotiate a partnership with the Landsdowne Live group to redevelop the park and renovate Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre.

Roger Greenberg, one of the four businessmen behind Lansdowne Live, reiterated that, contrary to some media reports, the proposal is not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition and he's willing to negotiate further with the city. He said he wanted a statement in principle from the city, and if Chiarelli's motion is passed, that's what he'll get.

"To that extent, it's been positive," Greenberg said. "But a motion is only good if it gets passed."

Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson tabled a motion to hand 30 acres of city-owned land worth $10 million near Scotiabank Place over to SS&E and contribute an additional $10 million in cash, provided they can secure a Major League Soccer team within a time frame.

That falls well short of what SS&E wanted.

Chief operating officer Cyril Leeder said "it's a good step forward," but he didn't think he could secure funding from the other levels of government without the "unqualified support of the city."

He won't get that support if council passes Chiarelli's motion to partner with the Lansdowne group.

"Then we'd have to do some soul-searching," Leeder said.

Council will debate and vote on the motions tomorrow.

Wilkinson said councillors have been working behind the scenes, cutting agreements to support each other's motions.

Those leaning toward supporting Chiarelli's motion are Steve Desroches, Rainer Bloess, Diane Deans and Eli El-Chantiry.

Bloess likes the motion because it forces council to turn its attention to the stadium and the Civic Centre, both of which are in dire need of structural upgrades.

"We have a problem called Lansdowne Park and we need to fix that problem," said Bloess.

But Wilkinson cautioned that the wording of Chiarelli's motion doesn't guarantee a stadium would be located at Lansdowne, only that they enter negotiations to see if it's feasible. If not, it leaves the door open for a stadium in Kanata.

Chiarelli's motion would limit the city's contribution to the revitalization of the park to a negotiated amount and require that revenue generated from the park not be used to subsidize a professional sports team. It would also enhance trade show and green space, protect the farmers' market and move the SuperEx to Albion Rd. Any negotiations between the city and the Lansdowne Live group would have to take place within 60 days.

"We would have to change the business model so that over a 20- or 30-year horizon there is no net cost to taxpayers, so we'd be sharing the revenue, keep the park in public ownership and helps us achieve many of our visions that we have for the park," Chiarelli said.

"The most important element of the motion is that it declares Lansdowne the city's priority for a stadium, which is very significant when we're dealing with federal and provincial government infrastructure funding."

In a separate motion, Deans is calling for amendments, including no housing to be built on the Lansdowne site, only small retail development and more trade show space.


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