Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson threw a curve ball at the stadium debate last night -- one that could see the city miss out on both proposals.
She's prepared to table a motion today that would give Eugene Melnyk $17 million cash, 30 acres of city land and support in securing additional funds from the other levels of government.
A City Hall source told the Sun that Wilkinson said she's "prepared to pull her support at the risk of seeing nothing happen on (either) proposal and is encouraging other west-end councillors to do the same."
On Monday, Wilkinson and Stittsville-Kanata West Coun. Shad Qadri had worked out a deal with other councillors to support the Lansdowne motion if they supported her motion.
Wilkinson reiterated last night they will only support Lansdowne if councillors support her revised motion.
"These guys are trying to hold council for ransom," said one city councillor, who didn't want to be identified.
Earlier yesterday, Melnyk said in a written statement that there will be no soccer stadium or MLS team in Kanata without the full support of the city.
"The motion as proposed is void of any support of council that most certainly would be required to be successful with the other levels of government and with Major League Soccer," Melnyk wrote of the original motion. "We are confirming to council that this motion is not workable and, in our view, has no chance of success."
The motion he was referring to -- put forward by Wilkinson on Monday -- calls for the city to hand over 30 acres of city land and $10-million in cash to Melnyk, provided he could secure an MLS team. He would be responsible for the remainder of the $110-million cost of the stadium.
Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder said she hopes councillors don't cave in to Melnyk's demands.
"The focus has to be what's best for the city overall, and that's Lansdowne," she said.
Melnyk said he tried to reach a compromise last week to build a stadium for both MLS and CFL, but "the risk was too high -- and I was not prepared to put the stability of the whole organization on the line for a last-minute deal -- however tempting it was."