Sports

Ottawa Foolishly Plans Waterfront Stadium

By Jason Leach
Published May 20, 2010

Yet another city wants to make the 'wrong' choice by locating their stadium in an urban environment, next to the water, along the city's busiest shopping/dining/retail street.

Of course, I'm referring to Ottawa and its Lansdowne Park project.

Artist's conception of how a refurbished Lansdowne Park might look under the revised Lansdowne Live proposal (Source: Ottawa Citizen)
Artist's conception of how a refurbished Lansdowne Park might look under the revised Lansdowne Live proposal (Source: Ottawa Citizen)

Funny how all of these other cities continue to make this same mistake, but here in Hamilton we know better. We know something that nobody else knows (other than how to kill urban life).

Highway-side 1960s stadiums are coming back, baby. You just watch. This is Hamilton. We know more than everyone else.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:11:26

DUH........ (remember when it was cool to say that?)

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:18:02

Frank Clair Stadium is similar to the West Harbour proposal as in it is close to a body of water (i.e the Rideau Canal), except in this case it is physically seperated from the body of water only by the Queen Elizabeth Driveway instead of a CN freight yard. It is a rehabilitation of an existing century-old stadium directly on Bank Street, which is Ottawa's main commercial avenue; it is in an established toney neighbourhood with an healthy commercial environment already in existence; it is one kilometre to the Queensway (Highway 417) with a direct express link to it via the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth Driveway; it is about two km from the downtown core of Bank and Somerset; it has twice seen a CFL franchise go bankrupt trying to operate from the site, and currently does not play host to any CFL team. Other than all that, it is a proposal practically identical to the West Harbour.



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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:20:37

BUT WHERE'S THE PARKING!!!!??!?

It's funny - google map the location and you can see it's a parking lot wasteland in its current form. Compare that to the rendering above - this is what revitalization means - less parking.

It's a pretty good comparison actually. Lansdowne Park is 2.7km away from downtown Ottawa (Bank / Wellington), our west harbour site is 1.4km from King and James. In comparing those distances keep in mind the scale of Ottawa, whose built up downtown area reaches further than ours. `1.4km from the Ottawa site and you would be into 3 storey commercial buildings.

The Ottawa stadium site is 1km from a highway, but there are no high capacity roads connecting it. Bank Street through the Glebe neighbourhood is similar to Locke Street. This is a rich, very trendy niegbourhood that would be at least as concerned about increased traffic and parking as our North End. The other only other road for access is the historic Queen Elizabeth driveway which is 2 lanes and will not be widened.

The Hamilton site is 1.4km from York and Dundurn, which is basically the highway. It's only 1/2km from York and Queen, meaning you have 3 lanes each direction to access the stadium up until half a kilometer from the site.

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 13:58:57

In the end it doesn't matter where you put this stadium, people will still avoid going to Ticat games.

You could give this thing its own private highway and 20,000 parking spaces and people will still avoid going saying that "the drive is too rough" and parking is too hard or too expensive".

When it comes to events in this city, unless it is not right next door with free parking that requires little walking, people get lazy

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 15:42:51

Vod K raises an interesting point. The Blue Jays are in one of the most accessible (by car or transit) locations in all of Ontario - and yet until recently they were unable to draw a crowd that was anything short of embarrasing. Even they had the sense to keep saying to the public "If we put a winning team on the field, they will come." Maybe a good lesson for Mr. Young to not worry so much about naming rights, and more about putting a product on the field that 'fence sitters' can put their weight (and wallets) behind.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 15:50:09

Vod K writes ...

When it comes to events in this city, unless it is not right next door with free parking that requires little walking, people get lazy

But the Ticats have been filling Ivor Wynne for years (not all years, but many years). And Ivor Wynne's parking is crap ... so people walk a few blocks or take the bus. At least as far as I've seen the dozen or so times I've gone to see the Ticats.

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 16:02:59

Vod K writes ...

When it comes to events in this city, unless it is not right next door with free parking that requires little walking, people get lazy

But the Ticats have been filling Ivor Wynne for years (not all years, but many years). And Ivor Wynne's parking is crap ... so people walk a few blocks or take the bus. At least as far as I've seen the dozen or so times I've gone to see the Ticats.

You do have a point. The Cats do have about 16,000 die hards that will watch them play just about anywhere. I guess what I meant to say was that to many people (not everybody but many people), no matter how much parking and access there is it will not be enough. Parking could be $1 and it would be too much. You could park across the street from the stadium and it would be too far.

Getting back to the Ottawa stadium, I beleive much of that parking will be filled with retail, and condos. How did they (the potential Rough Riders or whatever they're called owners) manage to get private investment?

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 16:49:05

"How did they (the potential Rough Riders or whatever they're called owners) manage to get private investment?"

...they probably actually tried it themselves! and were less concerned with only finding someone willing to spend $500,000 on naming rights.

JM

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 18:21:11

How did they (the potential Rough Riders or whatever they're called owners) manage to get private investment?

Probably the same way every other stadium owner has received private investment since urban stadiums became the norm about 2 decades ago. Hamilton always seems to be 40-50 years behind everyone else, so if we can just squeeze another 30 years out of Ivor Wynne, we'll be a full 50 years removed since Baltimore wowed the world with Camden Yards. By then, Hamilton's movers and shakers will be taking the mic at Economic Summits and proudly proclaiming "we've got a brilliant new idea for a downtown/waterfront stadium that will be the envy of North America"......

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By alternative (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 21:43:32

how about instead we put the stadium in kay drage park? highway access, lots of parking, water front, close (enough?) to downtown
or how about the steelcare site? they sure aint using it for much, are they? is rv shows a going concern in this city? don't answer that.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:39:15

Unfortunately, this is more along the lines of what the Ticats want...

http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/c...

Let's face it, they have no interest in contributing to the city of Hamilton whatsoever...they want a self-contained site where fans are held captive with their cars parked in a giant lot, and they can charge whatever they want for parking and concessions.

Adding to the vibrancy and viability of outside businesses is not part of the equation...it's all about the success of their own business.

If they do decide to move to Oakville, it would be time to campaign to ban them from including the word Hamilton in their name.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:45:05

they want a self-contained site where fans are held captive with their cars parked in a giant lot, and they can charge whatever they want for parking and concessions. [arienc]

EXACTLY. The thing about a stadium that actually HELPS it's community is it helps by creating business opportunities for clubs etc. around the stadium, which means people leave the game and spend some of there money at those places.

The team owners want to suck up every last drop of that money, that's why they like to put the stadium in the middle of a desert of parking lots so fans have nowhere else to spend there money.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:49:14

Re; Alternative

Kay Drage park provides no advantages over the proposed waterfront site, has a very limited footprint and already has a function. If I'm wrong about there being no other advantages, let me know.

The steelcare site is already part of a redevelopment process happening over then next five years.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:51:42

the Cats better hope that the 165,000 people of Oakville can support them because I'll never go to another game if they pull a stunt like that.

Let's be real. They won't. It's just more posturing from Young in an attempt to extract more money from the city.

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:23:05

Notice Young didn't exactly sound thrilled about it. As far as I'm aware, the furthest afield they'd want to go is Aldershot.

(Note: this proposal has come up numerous times before Bob Young, and I have no doubt it will after)

On Ottawa's stadium:

Great site, will be successful because of mutli-tenancy of the stadium (if i'm not mistaken aren't the Gee-Gee's looking to use it, and possibly a revived Carelton team?) and the surrounding area (OHL team in the arena on site).

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 13:20:08

Here is the area of the stadium as it looks today.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/City+Ottawa+unveil+Lansdowne+Park+proposals+Wednesday/3048661/story.html

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 13:31:55

The team owners want to suck up every last drop of that money, that's why they like to put the stadium in the middle of a desert of parking lots so fans have nowhere else to spend there money. - z jones

Very true Z, this is backed up by studies that have shown even very successful sports franchises can be economic sink holes to their communities because they suck out a disproportionately large amount of money compared to what they put back.

For example, if someone spends money on seasons tickets, it is money that could have gone into the community restaurants, zoos, attractions, museums, etc... but instead it lines the pockets of millionaire owners and players.

There are only advantages to having pro sports in your community - besides the "feel good", "rah-rah" type benefits - if the pro sports teams actively take part in improving the city and community as a whole... that is not what Bob Young is proposing.

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By Skully (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 15:47:54

So in regards to the Steelcare site (and slightly off topic)...what sort of redevelopment is being planned over the next five years?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 18:42:39

I don't think anything is happening to Steelcare, but rather the Careport warehouse that has recently been used for outlet sales and RV shows etc.....

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 18:47:10

from

http://www.mcmasterinnovationpark.ca/

McMaster is transforming vacant brownfields and warehouses into a premiere research park, building on the University’s existing reputation as a research centre of excellence.

The McMaster Innovation Park houses laboratory, office, teaching, training, and conference facilities, in support of research and development in a number of key industrial areas: advanced manufacturing and materials, nanotechnology, bio-technology, and other areas in which McMaster University has recognized research strengths.

These facilities will accelerate the commercialization of research into new and marketable products and services, and create new companies that will provide high-paying, highly skilled jobs in Hamilton.

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By Peter (anonymous) | Posted May 22, 2010 at 00:37:59

Geeeez, quit going on about Kay Drage Park. It's a terrible location; it's too small; and it's the site of an old garbage dump. You can't build on a dump, man!! Get over it already.

p.s. Go Roughriders!! Or is it Rough Riders?? Hmmmm...

Comment edited by Peter on 2010-05-21 23:40:31

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By The ghost of Kay Drage (anonymous) | Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:04:46

Couldn't the City of Hamilton have named something else after me other than a sports park on top of a garbage dump over looking the highway below the cemetery. Jack MacDonald is here and says he'll gladly take that honour!

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted May 23, 2010 at 04:00:51

The ghost of Kay Drage

It was her idea to build a park on the site and she pushed for it for years. Thats why it was named after her. It was her baby.

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By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2010 at 11:14:16

I agree that Kay Drage is far from hassle-free as a stadium site. It was enclosed with an eye to use as a sports pitch, which I believe it had been since the 1980s. It can handle the mobile mass of soccer players well enough, but the static mass of a 25,000-seat stadium build would probably require another round of remediation since you'd be building on a clay-capped dump (one that was household/commercial/industrial and which consequently contains PAHs, dioxins, furans and other delightful materials). Running service lines alone would be a treat, and possibly just as expensive as the Rheem remediation.

From http://bit.ly/bNN4xP ...

Cover Remediation - West Hamilton Landfill
Client: City Of Hamilton
Location: Hamilton, ON
Project Value: $2,313,000.00

AIM Environmental Group Inc. was awarded The Capping of Kay Drage Park, The West Hamilton Landfill, which included:

* Complete stripping of soil, roads and parking lots
* Removal of existing baseball diamond and soccer pitches
* Decommissioning of several large sewer lines using grout
* Place a one meter cap of approx. 100,000 tonnes of clay
* Replace roads, parking lots, landscaping and planting of trees
* Installation of slope protection and geo-textile fabric for erosion control
* Rebuild 2 new baseball diamonds and 3 soccer pitches

AIM was contracted to cap the landfill to prevent water from penetrating the surface and leaching through the old landfill into the watershed. The contour of the site was radically changed through the use of our laser-equipped dozers to ensure that positive drainage could be achieved and water would not pond on the landfill surface.

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 28, 2010 at 14:12:46

Ottawa has it's fair share of status quo naysayers as well. Some quotes:

Councillor Alex Cullen said the parking plan of the redesign is based on 1,385 parking spots. He said this is far short of what city guidelines would normally suggest for the commercial and residential spaces.

"[Making Lansdowne a] destination point is not helpful if you can't get there and if you can't park there."

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/20...

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