Ottawa Board of Trade asks the NCC to consider entering into negotiations with previous bidders who are prepared to proceed with the comprehensive re-development at this time

Ottawa, March 15, 2019: The Board of Directors of the Ottawa Board of Trade, its member organizations and the Board of Trade’s Capital Build Task Force call on the National Capital Commission (NCC) to continue to move forward with the timely re-development of the LeBreton Flats area. This project continues to have the very real potential to be a significant transformational city-building exercise that can provide important economic stimulus in the National Capital Region; provide new residential and commercial infrastructure, attractions and services for Ottawa residents; and would build on our strategic visitor economy advantage.

The Board of Trade thanks the NCC for its flexibility and patience in allowing the RendezVous LeBreton partners to work with Justice Warren Winkler in an attempt to corroborate on their plan to
re-develop LeBreton Flats. “It is unfortunate that a deal did not come to fruition collectively with the parties, however it’s now time to shift the focus to the future and hopefully preserve the significant city-building promise that LeBreton Flats represents”, said Ian Faris, President & CEO of the Board of Trade. Mr. Faris further stated that “while an entertainment venue certainly adds to the highlighted features of LeBreton Flats, we have said repeatedly that the arena should not be the singular focus of development”.

The Board of Trade offers its full support to the creation of an imaginative, iconic LeBreton Flats that will be a significant visitor and economic attractor to the Capital; however we also express concern at the new approach, announced last week by the NCC, that looks to represent a planned series of real estate transactions more focused on zoning than the magnificent, inspiring and high impact city-building initiative that has already consumed tens of millions of dollars of investment planning these past few years.

In addition, to ensure that momentum is not lost, the Board of Trade asks the NCC to consider entering into negotiations with previous bidders who are prepared to proceed with the comprehensive re-development at this time.

Ottawa Board of Trade Chair, Ian Sherman cited three areas of particular interest to the business sector that relate to the LeBreton project. “At the top of the list is the opportunity to create a significant amount of jobs and to attract talent and investment to Ottawa, both during the construction phase and in ongoing operations. Following closely is the chance to clean up over one million cubic metres of environmental contamination at the site, which has been recognized as one of the most polluted brownfields in Canada. Finally, there is the importance of tourism to our regional economy and its priority for governments. A revitalized LeBreton Flats will create a sense of community and a signature destination for the National Capital Region”.

With a proposed initial economic impact of $5.7 billion, 22,000+ jobs created and close to $800 million in tax revenue – LeBreton Flats represents a high economic impact project that could continue to contribute to Ottawa for generations, though we recognize that a more staged approach, without an entertainment venue, may yield less economically impactful results.

Having recognized LeBreton Flats as a critical project for Ottawa’s future, the Board of Trade has empowered its Capital Build Task Force to ensure that private sector support is demonstrated in a transparent and impactful way while also recognizing the need for appropriate and tolerable risk and manageability. The Task Force, a senior group of Ottawa business leaders, met recently and the LeBreton Flats re-development remains at the top of its list of advocacy targets.

The recent debate at Ottawa City Council on the future of Light Rail Transit (LRT), highlighted the nature of city-building that is ongoing in our community and accented the need to ensure the integration of high economic impact projects, such as LeBreton Flats, with the expansion of our LRT system and access to the Ottawa River. Capital Build Task Force Chair, Ruby Williams offered the view that “the business community has been extremely supportive of the LeBreton Flats re-development, given its critical role in tourism destination development, attraction of new commercial interests and skilled talent to our workforce and the overall economic impetus that will accrue
to Ottawa”.

The Ottawa Board of Trade and its Capital Build Task Force call on all parties involved to consider entering into negotiations with previous bidders, who are prepared to proceed with the comprehensive re-development at this time, and fully commit to innovation by making a renewed and vibrant LeBreton Flats a reality.

Photo credit: National Capital Commission