You win this time Southsiders, but perhaps not for long.
According to a new report from the city of Ottawa about the future of Lansdowne Park, the facilities on the northside of TD Place, namely the stadium stands and Civic Centre arena where the Ottawa 67s play, should be demolished as part of a revitalization of the site.
Those facilities, which were built in 1967, are “approaching functional obsolescence”, with inadequate bathrooms, persistent leaks and mold outbreaks.
The report states that “even if it was maintained at its current state, [the facilities] would in actual fact continue to fall further behind what guest expectations are in a competitive marketplace.”
Two working groups were established earlier this year to examine the future of Lansdowne and determine how to enhance its long-term viability after the city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group lost $11 million on the facility last fiscal year, largely due to the pandemic.
According to CTV Ottawa’s Michael Woods, the working groups considered three options: maintaining the current facilities, refurbishing them, or replacing them. Demolishing them is the official recommendation to be discussed before the city’s finance and economic development committee on July 6, with public consultations also planned.
Ottawa football fans have long had a friendly rivalry between those who sit on the southside and those on the north. While the city’s recommendation can only fuel chants of “northside sucks” in 2021, it won’t for long, with much improved facilities planned.
The stands themselves would be in for an upgrade, with a smaller arena, housing, and commercial retail space also added to make the park more inviting to pedestrians on non-gamedays.
Those upgrades could make the northside more luxurious than the southside, which was rebuilt in 2011 with new stands, club seating, an expansive concourse and modern vending facilities.