For Immediate Release 

October 26, 2023 

TD PLACE NORTH SIDE STANDS AND ARENA SAFE—CAN BE MAINTAINED FOR DECADES TO COME 

Ottawa—Despite assertions to the contrary, the City of Ottawa has repeatedly and unequivocally stated that the north side stands and TD Place are safe and functional, and can be maintained throughout the duration of the Lansdowne partnership. 

Further, city staff have confirmed that if OSEG were to leave the partnership agreement, the city would have the right of first refusal on the sports franchises—the Ottawa REDBLACKS and the Ottawa 67’s—and could continue to operate them or sell them. 

Residents deserve to know these facts. 

Too often, city council is pressured into a decision—made to feel as though there is no other choice. Such pressure tactics rely on a lack of transparency and the withholding of information. This was a key theme of the recent LRT Public Inquiry. 

These situations compromise council’s ability to be proper stewards of the public funds. 

Over the last two weeks, OSEG has been paying for YouTube ads, has commissioned an EKOS Survey and has recently sent out an email to all 67’s fans, REDBLACKS fans and TD Place event-goers that called the buildings “End of Life”.

Further, one of the EKOS Survey questions makes an apparent threat, wrongly implying that if council does not approve Lansdowne 2.0, the sports and cultural activities at Lansdowne Park would end.[i] 

In recent years, the city has commissioned multiple reports examining these topics (excerpts below). 

Lansdowne 2.0 carries enormous financial risk for the city; we can have an alternative. 

2007 - 2009 Assessment of North Side stands/Civic Centre – Structurally Adequate [Reference: 2021 Lansdowne City Council Report From City Staff] 

The North Side stands/Civic Centre were the subject of extensive building and structural condition assessments from 2007-2009, during the initial period of the Lansdowne Park redevelopment discussions. The City commissioned Adjelian, Allen, Rubeli Limited (AARL) to complete a structural adequacy report for the North Side stands/Civic Centre complex in 2007. This report recommended additional investigation for specific structural elements. Fourteen engineering reviews were completed by AARL on behalf of the City from 2007 to 2010. The summary of condition showed the Civic Centre complex and North Stadium Structure to be in generally good condition. The Arena complex was deemed to be structurally adequate and capable of supporting anticipated loads. Reports prepared for OSEG by Morrison Hershfield at the time of the Agreement reached similar conclusions. 

Auditor General—Audit of Lansdowne Accounting/Waterfall 

When the Lansdowne 1.0 reconstruction was finished in Q3 2014 the City valued the stadium/arena post-renovation at $134,264,049 with a 60-year lifespan to 2074. 

2019 “TD Place Functional Obsolescence Report” by ROSSETTI  

“The renovations to the Stadium North stands and Arena, started in 2012, addressed many of the essential “physical life” cycle needs…” 

This obsolescence report will also address the venues offerings, amenities and experience which contribute collectively to its ability to measure up to other facilities and compete in a competitive marketplace for attention and entertainment dollars. A facility’s life span is determined by its ability to respond to technological advancements, sports entertainment industry trends and a community’s needs. It is demonstrated within this report that the existing North Stands and the arena at TD Place currently function at levels well below contemporary standards and will continue to decline in performance. 

2019 Morrison Hershfield Report – Building Condition Assessment and 35-year Capital Repair and Replacement Report TD Place – Lansdowne Park 

“September 30, 2019 - Morrison Hershfield Limited was retained by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to review and assess the current conditions of the existing components to create a 35-year capital repair and replacement plan until 2054 (40-year plan from the 2014 date of construction). The Capital Repair and Replacement Plan includes a five-year plan and a 35-year plan. The plan is based on the continuation of the current use of the building for the time period. The plan assumes that the building will continue to be used as an arena and stadium beyond the 35-year timeframe of this report (e.g., the plan does not assume demolition of the facility at 45 years of age).” 

2020 Action Plan: Morrison Hershfield Report – Updated TD Place Capital Plan Assuming Demolition at 40 Years (2054)  

Morrison Hershfield Limited was retained by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to develop a Capital Repair and Replacement Plan for TD Place.  

For the attached Capital Plan to account for demolition after the 40th year (2054), we have completed the following analysis. 

  • Allowing more robust debate amongst Council on future alternatives such as better, smaller retail; housing additions above the low-rise retail, and future operations of the site. 
  • Some expenditures between 2044 and 2054 year were deleted with the expectation that increased maintenance could achieve a longer service life of existing components. Individual components can be replaced upon failure as needed under the operating budget.  
  • Some expenditures between 2039 and 2049 year were adjusted to account for capital repairs including repairs, rebuilding (e.g. pumps), partial replacements (e.g. ceiling tiles), and rehabilitation of systems (e.g. heat exchangers) to achieve a longer service life of existing components.  For the TPO membrane roofs, the second scheduled replacement in years 2041 (arena and north stands) and 2044 (south stands) was removed. It is assumed that a more durable roofing membrane (e.g. modified bitumen) with a longer typical service life will be installed at the first scheduled replacement.

“Current estimates from Morrison Hershfield based on a 40-year capital repair and replacement plan for the facility and to keep the old building operational and demolish it at the end, would require an investment in the order of $40 million.” ($1 million/year) - City of Ottawa’s Next Steps report. 

2022 April 26, 2022 “Lansdowne Partnership Sustainability Plan and Implementation Report”  

The “facilities, built in 1967, remain structurally sound, however even with an annual maintenance budget of over $1 million, the facilities remain below current building standards.”   

Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard’s Comments: 

The professional facility assessment reports that have been released indicate that the buildings can be maintained for at least three more decades (if not more), and that they are not at “End of Life”, structurally—the opposite of what OSEG has communicated. The functional obsolescence report was aimed primarily at comparing fan experiences in modern sports facilities, that is, assessing the excitement factor of the experience, in contrast with the physical life function. At TD Place—the stadium and the Civic Centre—we have a combination of new modern facilities on the south side accompanied by older facilities that must be maintained. If, as all of the condition reports suggest, the facilities can indeed be maintained and improved, the question becomes: with competing crises in Council’s Strategic Priorities—such as affordable housing, transit and climate change—why is Lansdowne 2.0 the largest public investment being proposed this term of council? A better plan would be to take the time to get Lansdowne right while, at the same time, making minor investments to fix what actually ails Lansdowne: 

  • Implementing a proper Transportation Plan that includes addressing Bank Street congestion, providing hop-on hop-off shuttle service, stopping cut through traffic through Aberdeen Square, and provides more park-and-rides from the suburbs. 
  • Animating the park during the 9-to-5 Monday-to-Friday dead zones by adding items such as a work hub in the Horticulture Building. 
  • Improving Lansdowne’s public realm with a proper splash pad and winter family activities. 
  • Creating a safe connection with Queen Elizabeth Drive, including a canal dock. 
  • Providing value-for-money oversight of operations on the site. 
  • Allowing time for city staff and council to consider the Auditor General’s professional recommendations expected in early 2024. 
  • Allowing more robust debate amongst Council on future alternatives such as better, smaller retail; housing additions above the low-rise retail, and future operations of the site. 

Having full, accurate information—including the existing viable alternatives—will best position council to make the right choice for Lansdowne and for our residents. 

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[i]  

 

PDF version of this release is available here, or below.

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