Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he wants to work with the Ottawa Senators to ensure that Stittsville and Kanata aren’t forgotten if the hockey team ends up moving to Lebreton Flats.
“I am also very mindful of the potential economic loss to Stittsville, Kanata and the West End of our City should the Canadian Tire Centre be relocated. I will work with the Ottawa Senators organization, West end councillors, businesses and residents to ensure that appropriate options are being developed to help make up for the loss of the arena,” he wrote in a letter last week to city council.
The letter accompanied a staff report to be tabled at the City of Ottawa’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) on November 7. The report lays out the city’s position on a number of planning issues related to the development of Lebreton Flats.
If the Senators move to Lebreton Flats, Canadian Tire Centre (CTC) would lose its primary tenant, which would likely trigger a redevelopment. Here’s what the report says on the subject of the CTC:
“Both staff and the Mayor believes that any future move should incorporate some consideration of the potential benefits and community impact, and this report recommends that Council provide the Mayor and City Manager the authority to begin those discussions if and when it is appropriate to do so as a consequence of the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats. The Mayor would ensure west-end Councillors are fully informed of progress on this site so they can proactively inform their residents and businesses…”
“The Canadian Tire Centre It is anticipated that the negotiations between the NCC and RLG would include the construction of the Major Events Centre (the arena) as part of the first phase of the redevelopment. The Ottawa Senators’ organization has expressed a desire to have the downtown arena built and in operations in 2021. Should this occur, questions will inevitably turn to plans for the current arena, the CTC, located in the Kanata/Stittsville area of the City.
“Staff anticipates that preliminary discussions regarding the future of the current CTC building and lands may take place as part of the negotiations related to the downtown arena. Staff are, therefore, seeking a mandate to participate in any such discussions, to ensure that any options being discussed provide specific reference to the impact on the west end communities.
“Given that RLG and the Ottawa Senators are distinct private sector entities, such discussions would likely be separate from the negotiations between the NCC and RLG, and be very high level. Staff anticipate that these discussions might include a number of options for the site, but would not address any specifics.
“It is not expected that discussions about the CTC would begin in earnest until such time as federal approval for the negotiated agreement between the NCC and RLG is provided. Once that approval is obtained, staff would provide a report to the Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council with recommendations for next steps for negotiations with the Ottawa Senators related to the move of the arena downtown and the future of the CTC lands in the west end.
“The Mayor would ensure west-end Councillors are fully informed of progress on this site so they can proactively inform their residents and businesses.”
So far, Senators management has given very little indication of what they have planned for the Canadian Tire Centre site.
“We have the plans all ready. We’re just finishing up the costing of it and I think it’s going to be a spectacular site even post-Sens,” owner Eugene Melnyk told Postmedia in February 2016. He also said at the time that they planned to make the report public within 30 days.
We’re still waiting!