Prof: Lansdowne cost too high

JON WILLING, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Taxpayers are paying too much to reconstruct Frank Clair Stadium for a redeveloped Lansdowne Park, a business professor says.

Ian Lee, a faculty member at Carleton University and outspoken critic of the Lansdowne redevelopment plan, said the city might eventually be faced with more than $1.5 billion in debt from the Lansdowne project, light-rail transit, sewer improvements and the money it currently owes.

The city is partnering with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to redevelop the property. OSEG is offering $30 million to renovate the stadium and the city would front $129 million.

Lee, who lives in the Glebe, said public money shouldn't be seen as a requirement to fix up the stadium. According to his number-crunching, Lee predicts taxpayers will be subsidizing each Canadian Football League home game roughly $6.4 million for five years.

OSEG rep Kevin McCrann defended the plan, noting professional football won't be the only thing happening in the stadium. University football, concerts and other events will help create a public entertainment facility, McCrann said.

"We think it's a fair proposal," McCrann said. "The auditor general is looking at it. City staff has looked at it. Council has reviewed it. We've gone back to enhance the proposal and we'll come back in June."


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