A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT is EXPECTED according to sources involved in the talks between the RendezVous LeBreton Group and the NCC, a tentative land deal has been reached over the future development of LeBreton Flats - ottawacitizen.com. The developed, which is planned to have over 4,000 housing units, a major public square, and a landmark new hockey arena, has an estimated price tag of over $3 billion, and will without a doubt have a huge impact on the city of Ottawa.
Some may question the significance of this project and whether it’s the best use for this highly coveted piece of Ottawa real estate, as well as whether taxpayer dollars should be spent on the infrastructure to support its build out. I stand to argue that this project is one of, if not the most important development project needed for the City of Ottawa in recent years.
Let’s think BIG PICTURE. What is it about a centrally located arena that adds value to a community? -The Economic Case for a Downtown Event Centre. For starters, having an event centre that is located in an area that is equally accessible to those in both the West AND East ends of Ottawa improves the quality of entertainment and ensures a strong fan base for attendance at the games. Yes, this is a money making entertainment business and in order to deliver a high quality entertainment product, a revenue stream from a strong fan base must exist. Locating the hockey arena on LeBreton Flats will create equal accessibility for Ottawa area residence and along with the restaurants and bars expected to be built alongside the arena, create a more appealing atmosphere of complimentary service businesses to attract a larger fan base to games.
My second point surrounds the issue of smart urban planning and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. A city cannot be sustained by spending endless sums of money building new infrastructure further and further out into untouched farm land, which is what Ottawa has seen for far too long now. Urban densification is now a widespread phenomenon across North America, and it’s happening to lessen the burden on cash strapped municipalities.
Yes there will be those who protest “not in my backyard” but the reality is, development always occurs in someone’s “backyard”. Another positive outcome from this development will be the 1,100 affordable housing units that will be integrated into the RVL project and will help lessen the burden on the city’s 10,000+ waiting list for affordable housing. Ottawa’s new LRT line will also play a huge factor in creating and sustaining this new community -LeBreton will attract big Ottawa commercial real estate investments. With the line running directly through LeBreton, residents will have a very convenient alternative method of transportation to get around, and with that creating an overall healthier environmental footprint for the city.
The upside of RendezVous LeBreton and the number of Ottawans that will gain enjoyment from its new urban housing options, entertainment offerings and commercial spaces, far outweigh any downside. With this major announcement coming, let’s be of the mindset of one wanting to continue to grow into a world class city and to welcome RendezVous LeBreton as a next step on this path.