Dozens speak out on stadium

SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

It was standing room only as about 200 people packed into City Hall yesterday.

Businessmen in Hugo Boss suits sat beside sports fans in football jerseys and hippies in hemp shirts, all with their own opinions about what should be done with Lansdowne Park and where a new stadium should be located.

After the two proposals were presented, 59 Ottawa residents took turns at the mic, speaking their allotted five minutes each.

There were former Rough Riders Bob McKeown, Jock Climie and Mark Kosmos, co-owner of Local Heroes restaurant, who spoke in favour of the CFL's return to Lansdowne.

There was John Pugh, owner of the Ottawa Fury Soccer Club, and others who spoke in favour of a soccer stadium in Kanata.

Ian Lee, director of Carleton's Sprott School of Business, said the Kanata proposal was more sound because the stadium would be on a major highway and therefore easily accessible to its customers, and that it would be managed by Senators Sports & Entertainment, which has a proven track record.

"Don't get me wrong, I am pro business," Lee said. "But I don't think a bank would loan (the Lansdowne Live group) money based on their proposal."

As expected, there were also several Glebe residents and business owners who were concerned about the effect on their livelihoods and neighbourhoods.

June Creelman, chairwoman of the Glebe Community Association, drew applause when she said commercial development at Lansdowne is not what the public wants.

But her biggest concern, she added, was the lack of a competitive process for the vision of Lansdowne.

"We have bypassed all public planning processes and are just looking at one idea for Lansdowne Park, which is the most important undeveloped site in Ottawa," she said. "We've always said we don't necessarily oppose a stadium, but we want to make sure it's the best solution and we don't feel confident in that yet."

FRONT ROWS

The four members of the Lansdowne Live group -- local businessmen Roger Greenberg, Bill Shenkman, John Juddy and Jeff Hunt -- were sitting in the first two rows with other members of their various businesses.

Conspicuous by his absence was the person behind the competing proposal, Senators Sports & Entertainment owner Eugene Melnyk, who lives in Barbados. Melnyk had appeared before the committee April 6, leaving his chief operating officer Cyril Leeder to officially present the proposal.

"It was never his intention to be here," said Leeder, sitting in the back row with Geoff Publow, director of strategic development for SS&E.


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