OT - Lansdowne Construction Thread
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10-17-2012, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Time to repost this, last put up on July 2011 - belongs in a FAQ with the Firestone article:
I keep a copy of this 2003 post from the Sens Usenet group, when that was still relevant. I drag it out when the Lebreton flats option gets tossed around as if it was a nothing, especially as the origins get further away. Someone who was 9 when the Sens came into being likely didn't know what was up and is wondering why the rink is there
This was his response to folks moaning about where the rink was built.
"You are right on one count...there are enough people who think its a bad location that make it that way. Any place that it would have been located in Ottawa would probably have been viewed that way, so in effect putting a team in Ottawa was a bad decision. Oh well. I thought Ottawa was a grown up city, but sadly, I guess I misjudged it. There are too many whiners who expect Ottawa to grow without inconveniencing anyone. Fine. Everyone can switch back to the 1980's when Ottawa was known for being a ghost town that rolled the sidewalk up after sundown.
But...i gotta ask this...were you even following the news when the Sens built the arena? All I am hearing is how the Sens had other options and could have easily swapped the land for land downtown. Get this into your collective heads--the land swap was a no-go from day one. There was no one--repeat--no one--willing to swap a downtown location for that land. The team, nor the NHL were willing to wait ten years for a decision to be made. Look at how long it has taken for a decision to be made on Lebreton Flats. Or the Daly Building site downtown. Or a new site for the Ottawa Ex. Did you want a team or not, folks? All these supposedly viable alternate sites were trotted out, and none proved to be possible. For whatever reason, the federal government didn't apply the same urgency to the Senators arena as they did later on with the Leafs and Habs new digs. If so, they would have offered up Lebreton Flats, and fast-tracked its approval. They didn't. Deal with it and move on.
Do you think the people in the surrounding neighbourhoods near a downtown site (like Lebreton) would have let a rink get built without protest? When the first hint of this idea hit the papers we had citizens protesting and promising a fight to the death. Look at the problems they had getting approval for the third lane on the Champlain Bridge...or the new Loblaws in Westboro. Can you say with a straight face that building the arena there would be problem free? The Corel Centre was conceived, approved and built in half the time it has taken for a simple grocery store to be built in central Ottawa. If you were the Sens, and had already local approval to build in Kanata, and owned the land would you have taken the risk and bet on a quick acquisition, a fair price and approval of the Lebreton site? Give
me a break.
It is so frustrating to hear people naively offer up a downtown site as the solution to the attendance problems. Tell me, what magic roads would be built from the Queensway to this mythical location downtown? The downtown infrastructure could not handle that much automobile traffic without major difficulties. You would rather people drive down side streets with traffic lights and stop signs, or a take a multi-lane highway? How do you propose future access roads to this facility, when the surrounding neighbourhood is saturated by pesky buildings and is bordered on one side by a major river? Do you expect the city to build a spur road from the Queensway? Good grief, they can't even get a highway link and bridge approved between Ontario and Quebec in this city. We've got transport trucks rolling down downtown streets and semi-residential neighbourhoods in this city to get to Hull, and you think the city will prioritize access to a downtown hockey rink? Get real folks.
Did you people even *read* the OMB decision on the Palladium? If the Sens had to make changes to the downtown infrastructure to accomodate the additional traffic the team would have been dead on the spot. As it was, the improvement costs the NDP government forced the Senators to make crippled the team financially. How much do you think it would have cost them to appropriate land, build roads, and modify the downtown core to build the arena? I attended the OMB hearings, and I have a copy of the OMB decision. The amount of traffic expected to the Palladium was based on approximately doubling the traffic levels going to the Senator events at the Civic Centre, where the infrastructure was woefully unable to handle even that amount of traffic. Considering too, that in the case of Lebreton the only thoroughfare is a federally owned parkway which is not only not designed for those traffic levels, but is a facility which is partially used for the Transitway system, the Ottawa River Parkway would have required a major overhaul. A link from the 417 to Lebreton would need to be created either as a new road or widening existing streets. If Firestone had gone for this option, Daniel Alfredsson would be a Portland Senator long before the "Who-Pays-For-What" game got a chance to finish.
I'd be interested in knowing how long it takes you to go door-to-door from Etobicoke to the ACC, by the way. I am certain that I could drive to a Sens game in the same time or less from a comparible Ottawa location (like maybe Ottawa Southkeys area). I seem to remember a good fifty minute to one hour trip to get from Scarborough (McCowan and Lawrence) to Maple Leaf Gardens, and experienced about the same driving from Aylmer to the Corel Centre. I agree there is much better mass transit options in Toronto, but that is the case regardless of your destination in Ottawa. Ottawa transit is essentially designed to get you downtown in the morning and to the suburbs in the evening. From a transit standpoint, a Sens game would be as much of an "inconvenience" anywhere else. At least OC Transpo has express routes to and from the Corel Centre that travel on the exclusive transit lanes. Try taking a bus to a Renegades game sometime.
Aside from transit there are plenty of shuttle buses which, for a couple of bucks, will take you directly to the Senators games from bars and restaurants all over the city. If it is the stress of driving in a traffic jam that is the problem, take one of these and let them worry about it.
I don't buy the excuse that there are not enough access routes to the Corel Centre either. The Queensway does get jammed up after Moodie drive, but I rarely have found it more than twenty minutes from that point to the arena parking lot. Traffic leaving the game on the Queensway goes slowly, but it still moves. The biggest delay is in the parking lot on the return trip. Even so, there are many other ways you can take. Timm Road from Moodie to Eagleson is pretty quick, and if you continue along it becomes Katimavik and then Palladium Dr. You can take Hazledean and either turn on Terry Fox or go a little further and turn down John St., then take Maple Grove to either Huntmar or Silver Seven.
There's no law saying you have to take the Palladium Drive exit to get to the arena. Now that i live in Kanata, I navigate these jams almost any evening there is a concert or event at the Corel Centre. Seems like pretty standard city traffic to me. You get traffic slowdowns in cities, you know. When the long-overdue widening of the 417 between Moodie and Terry Fox is completed this problem will be solved--although I still expect to hear whining from those people who can't handle a ten minute traffic slowdown. At this rate though, the team will probably be gone and the problem will be nonexistent anyways.
A lot of the complaining is from Ottawa folks who aren't accustomed to traffic jams and probably view the city experience as a dreaded virus, ready to destroy their sleepy provincial lives. Well, this isn't 1980-era Ottawa anymore. We've grown. Because too many people think growth conflicts with Ottawa being "a world class *nice* place to live and work", it takes decades for decisions to be made, and more often than not, they never get made. The people who have helped shape this city's future--people like Matthews, Cowpland, Campeau, Firestone--have more often than not had to deal with more b---sh-t than they would have in any other North American city just to get something done. To our benefit, they stuck it out and took chances. If not for them, we'd still be a punch-line for every "sleepy town" joke comedians could come up with. Man, I would hate to live in such a place.
When all is said and done though, i get the feeling that people would rather Ottawa be a no-frills small boring sleepy government town, and live vicariously through Montreal and Toronto like in the old days. People were satisfied back in the 80's with a *nice* place to live and work. Some of us want a bit of excitement thrown in too, and view living as more than simply existence.
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