For Immediate Release
August 19, 2011
Friends of Lansdowne would like respond to statements made by the Mayor and City Councillors that our lawsuit needlessly cost taxpayers a million dollars and that our legal appeal is not in the public interest.
Let us be clear. It is the City of Ottawa that is recklessly squandering taxpayers money. It is spending $400 million of taxpayers money without any competitive process to ensure value for money and without any independent financial review of the deal. On top of that, the City is leasing 10 acres of prime public land for $1/year and has now admitted that given current interest rates it will get no return on the $400 million it plans to spend on redeveloping Lansdowne Park and subsidizing OSEG costs and profits. Is this responsible management of taxpayers money?
In terms of legal costs, if the City had followed a fair and transparent process for Lansdowne's redevelopment, there would have been no legal costs at all. Then, if it had not withheld documents, requiring multiple motions and delays, the Lansdowne legal case would have been much shorter and cost much less. There was no need to spend $1 million on legal fees.
Finally, it is a fundamental right of citizens in a democracy to be able to challenge decisions by government. The purpose of the Friends of Lansdowne appeal is to ensure that Ottawa City Council makes decisions in an transparent and accountable manner and fulfils its role in protecting the public interest. Holding City Councils to a higher standard of accountability will protect taxpayers interests not only for Lansdowne, but in all aspects of municipal decision-making.
Ian Lee 613-222-7722