Game on vs. game over

SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Will Eugene Melnyk scrap his proposal to build an open-air stadium in Kanata? Or is he still committed to bringing a pro soccer team to Ottawa?

The Senators owner will be at Scotiabank Place today, but said he won't discuss the status of his stadium bid until after he's had a chance to review the city staff report that favoured the rival Lansdowne Live proposal.

Meanwhile, Roger Greenberg says his group is not willing to continue investigating alternative proposals for the development of Lansdowne.

"We feel this issue has been studied to death. Lay out the conditions and give us our marching orders," he said yesterday.

Both developers expressed frustration Monday that the city has decided it wants to know what sort of funding might come from the federal and provincial governments.

DISTRICT

Melnyk's proposal calls for the federal, provincial and municipal governments to fund a $110-million soccer specific stadium near Scotiabank Place that could also be used for concerts, festivals and other uses. Senators Sports & Entertainment would contribute about $10 million, and develop the surrounding area into an "entertainment district."

The Lansdowne Live group, which was granted a conditional CFL franchise more than a year ago and submitted its unsolicited proposal to renovate Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre last October, also has plans for retail development on Bank St.

Council expects any money from the provincial or federal governments would have to compete with other infrastructure priorities. The committee passed a motion to confirm whether there is additional funding available beyond the Build Canada program or stimulus package that would take from the transit plan.

Federal Infrastructure Minister John Baird told Sun Media last month funding would be available for a stadium if the city made it a priority, and provincial municipal affairs minister Jim Watson echoed those comments yesterday.

PRIORITY

"If the city determines that a new stadium is a priority, then we will work with them and the federal government through either the economic stimulus funding envelope or the Build Canada program," said Watson.

"There is only so much money, so the government needs the city to prioritize their requests."

Senators Sports & Entertainment COO Cyril Leeder has said it would not be economically feasible for the company to fund the stadium on its own.

So it must wait for city council to decide if a stadium is a priority.

If it is, SS&E must decide if it's worth staying in the competition after the staff report said its business plan did not meet expectations and posed a higher risk to the city than the Lansdowne proposal.

"I don't want to downplay it, but it was just a staff recommendation," Leeder said.

Council will make the final decision April 22, unless Melnyk makes it easy for them by withdrawing his proposal.


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