Hockey arena an option for LeBreton Flats, says NCC chief
Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: September 30, 2014, Last Updated: September 30, 2014 11:39 AM EDT
A downtown hockey arena is one option for a new landmark attraction on LeBreton Flats, National Capital Commission CEO Mark Kristmanson said Tuesday.
Kristmanson made the comment during the launch of an NCC request for qualifications inviting proposals to develop 9.3 hectares of LeBreton Flats, the largest and most significant development site in the heart of the capital.
Another 12.1-hectare parcel could also be developed if the proponent whose project is chosen next year needs those lands to make the development feasible, the NCC said.
The centrepiece of the redevelopment will be an anchor public institution or attraction of major regional, national or international significance.
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While the NCC is leaving it to the private sector to propose what that institution or attraction should be, Kristmanson did not rule out the possibility that it could be a new arena for the Ottawa Senators.
“I think it could include that, but we can imagine other possibilities, as well,” he said.
Foreign Minister John Baird, who has responsibility for the NCC, said a new museum of science and technology would be “an obvious potential candidate” for the site.
However, he prefaced that comment by noting: “Obviously, we don’t have any money today or tomorrow for a new museum of science and technology.”
The museum’s current building on St. Laurent Boulevard is crumbling. Last month, it was forced to close until early next year because of a serious mould problem.
Asked when the LeBreton Flats redevelopment could occur, Kristmanson noted that his appointment was for five years. “I’d like to see something done on my watch. The community has waited for decades for this development.”
Added Baird: “We only have one opportunity to get this right. If we wanted to slap up some soulless, ugly condominiums, we could do that very, very quickly.”
“These are nationally historic federal lands,” Baird said. “Let’s make sure we get it right. It’s not a race.”
The NCC wants proponents to submit concept plans by Dec. 5. It expects to narrow the field to a short list of up to five contenders by next February, each of whom will be expected to produce detailed development plans for the site. The winning proposal will be selected in the fall of 2015.
More to come