by Friends of Lansdowne

Financial Package Dings Ottawa Taxpayers

The short story is that your taxes will go up while the developers will cash in.

Far from being revenue neutral, the Lansdowne Live proposal will hit taxpayers’ pocketbooks. The city will spend $110 million for a luxury class stadium, some underground parking ($19.5 m) and greening of the “front lawn”. Overall parking will be grossly insufficient (possibly reduced by half) and access limited. The city will give away 10 acres of valuable public land for $1 a year to developers for 30 years to build a shopping complex , an office block, a hotel, a Cineplex and condominiums. To pay for all of this, the city will borrow $117 million and repay it over 40 years. At 5.35% interest, your taxes will have to cover $285 million in repayments.

These costs don’t even begin to factor in the new proposals that have come forward since last November: a “world class stadium”; a 50,000 sq ft art gallery; a front lawn designed by world class designers; and a new trade centre. While some of these proposals might make for a more attractive development, taxpayer will pay even more.

The city’s $129 million cost for Lansdowne amounts to $469 per household, based on 275,000 residential properties. Repayment of $285 million over 40 years amounts to $1,036 per residential property. These figures do not account for many additional costs.

Unlike most stadiums built in Canada, there will be no federal or provincial funds available. Ottawa taxpayers will absorb the full cost. This is highly unusual, especially for a capital city. It’s due to the non-competitive sole source process which the Mayor and a majority of councillors followed. The developers will not put a penny into the stadium. They will, however, be the primary beneficiary of the public’s investment.

Council plans to give the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) the contract to oversee the entire project, including construction of the stadium, and the management of the entire park for 30 to 50 years or more. OSEG’s many management fees and indirect benefits are unknown – but a 30 year deal should be highly rewarding.