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Concrete | Roadbuilding

September 27, 2007

Engineering

Report finds stands at Frank Clair stadium not worth saving

OTTAWA

It would cost as much to fix the aging Lansdowne Park as it would to demolish the whole thing and rebuild from scratch, according to an engineering report released this week.

Barry Robinson, who manages city-owned buildings, said the stands along the south side of the football field, built in 1961, have reached the end of their service life. The $5 million repair bill would result in an extension of only eight to 10 years in their “shelf life,” he added.

The city has been looking for ways to redevelop the park, located on a key piece of real estate just 10 minutes south of Parliament Hill. As part of that exercise, an inspection of the concrete stands in Frank Clair Stadium (part of Lansdowne Park) showed extensive stress cracking, leading to a decision to close them to the public until a decision on their future was made.

While spending $5 million to repair the stands would add a decade to their service life, demolishing and rebuilding would cost about the same and result in new stands with a 50-year service life.

Not long after the cracking was discovered, Ottawa city councillors Clive Doucet and Peter Hume suggested that an international design competition be launched to help the city decide upon ways to redevelop the area.

When he heard about the engineers’ report, Mayor Larry O’Brien said the stands should be demolished and private developers sought.

He’s heard of investors with “deep pockets” who might want to redevelop the football stadium in hopes of bringing a Canadian Football League franchise back.

But Doucet said that “developers with deep pockets don’t own Lansdowne Park.”

“It is owned by the taxpayers of Ottawa,” who might want to see not only the football stadium but the rest of the park, including “18 hectares of asphalt parking lot” developed for other uses.

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