By David Reevely, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — The people working on the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park are preparing to show off an updated plan for the project within two weeks, though they're still struggling with some details.
The list of differences between the city's design-review panel for the quarter-billion-dollar project and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group's planners has been whittled down from "absolutely hundreds" to about a dozen, said Capital Councillor David Chernushenko Friday afternoon, after an all-day meeting on the subject.
Chernushenko sits on the city's design-review panel, which includes planning committee chair Peter Hume and three renowned outside architects and urban designers — George Dark, David Leinster and James Parakh. The group spent most of Friday closeted in city hall's Colonel By room, along with the city's project manager Graham Bird and OSEG representatives, trying to agree.
It's their job to represent the city and the people of Ottawa as the renovation — which includes rebuilding Frank Clair Stadium for a new football team and upgrading the Civic Centre, constructing new commercial and residential buildings on the northern third of the Glebe site, and turning most of the parking lots on the site into real parkland — is planned together with the developers and sports entrepreneurs in OSEG. They've met at least a dozen times, in a process that's taken much longer than it was ever supposed to.
"That has nothing to do with lawsuits and OMB and all the rest," Chernushenko said, referring to the legal challenge that still awaits a ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal and a long hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board, which can overturn land-use decisions. "It's a beast of a project with so many parts and so many players that in order for the design work, the approvals, and us to properly see things in advance and critique them has taken many months longer."