The Ugly

  • The green roof initially proposed for the new event centre—that we campaigned on making accessible—has been jettisoned entirely; 
  • The initial inadequate commitment for 10% market affordable units to be provided on site—through a requirement of the purchaser of public air rights—has been abandoned entirely;  
  • Worse, the report calls for council to waive the requirements of our Affordable Housing Land and Funding Policy, a policy that ensures that, when the city sells off public land for private residential use, 25% of the proceeds are directed toward our affordable housing budget. The report calls for that requirement to be replaced with a 10% requirement instead. This means both property tax dollars and revenues earmarked for affordable housing will be redirected to pay for Lansdowne 2.0; 
  • Small retail, GoodLife Fitness and all of the “J-block” built in 2014 is to be demolished with construction expected to take 7-10 years on site to replace it; 
  • The city will maintain a large loan for the roof of the civic centre that is to be demolished as part of this project; 
  • We will incur $18.6 million of debt for the city to build 140 parking spaces for the new residential towers (under the new proposed North side stands). Annual debt servicing after revenues (from selling or leasing the spots to the residential towers) is expected to cost the city $600,000 annually. The developer would also build an additional 200 residential parking spots underneath the proposed towers; 
  • There is substantially more risk for the city in this plan as the debt repayment relies, in part, on waterfall returns from the partnership, which so far have produced $0 after the city said we would recoup over $100 million in Lansdowne 1.0; 
  • The retail podium land would be sold to a developer ($39 million) and then repurchased at market rates by the city (estimated at over $34 million) once that retail is built, with a renegotiated retail loan that OSEG is to secure. The scheme seems to be absent from the $419 million total cost; and 
  • The city has identified a proposed risk that OSEG could leave the deal, but there has been zero risk mitigation or alternative planning for what would occur in that scenario (e.g., bringing in a not-for-profit to run the site, finding another private corporation to take over or keeping the teams in city ownership). An identified risk without any substantial planning to mitigate that risk would seem to indicate that the risk is being used for talking points to pressure councillors and the public to accept whatever plan they have in front of them. 

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