Should “greening” Lansdowne mean paving the Greenbelt?

Top right of image shows the 28 acres of forest to be paved over

The following letter was sent to us by Spacing Ottawa reader Jason Garlough, who is a member of City of Ottawa’s Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee:

“On Wednesday, September 1st 2010 the City’s Committee of Adjustment will be considering an application for a “Minor Variance” that would allow more than 28 acres of existing forest in the Greenbelt to be destroyed and replaced with a 2,000 car parking lot and Exhibition Hall. 

Our city has already accepted a proposal from the Shenkman Corporation to build a 220,000 square foot exhibition hall and massive parking lot along Uplands Drive near the airport. From the City’s report:

‘The construction of a new Exposition Hall Facility, as proposed by Shenkman, will not only solve the problem of lack of contiguous exposition hall space that has significantly limited the ability of the trade and consumer show industry to grow in Ottawa, but will also allow the City to pursue its ‘greening” objectives for Lansdowne Park’

Lansdowne Park currently has a total of 96,400 square feet of exhibition space and since most of it will be replaced with shopping, hotels and condos, this Exhibition Hall project seems to be contigent on the Lansdowne Live Development.

While I understand that the NCC has marked the proposed area for development, after touring the proposed building site you can’t help but wonder why the Exhibition Hall needs to be built in an existing forest when there is acre upon acre of manicured green lawn just across the road.

Construction is due to be completed by December 2011. Surely it is ironic that the City would consider a proposal that would replace a large patch of existing forest with a parking lot & hall,  all in pursuit of greening a small patch of Lansdowne.”


  1. What is happening to Ottawa? Every new announcement I hear coming out of that city seems to be a step backwards. Why on earth would this even be considered? This massive piece of infrastructure, which will be of national importance, should of course be downtown, close to rapid transit, hotels, and civilization! Just look at the new Vancouver Conference Centre for an example of how to build these kinds of spaces.

    I weep at how many incredible opportunities that city has been given, and how many of them have been deeply, deeply fouled. Whenever I think of Ottawa, I think of “The Trainyards”, the new Wal-mart anchored big box center behind the Train Station. It’s an affront to everything we know about planning today, and it’s absolutely inexcusable. In a prime location, minutes from the transitway and on the doorstep of the train station, this could have been a vital new neighbourhood – it could have been home to tens of thousands of people. It easily could have been the home of this exhibition hall, with effortless transit connections to the downtown. Instead, it’s a parking lot. Can you imagine the City of Vancouver or the City of Toronto approving this nightmare? Even the City of Calgary has enough sense to minimize parking in the downtown core. 

  2. I heard talk of a new exhibition hall only once during the Lansdowne Live consultations! Is this really being built?

    It looks like there is lots of room for it on the west side of Uplands Drive. Building there would still be more development in the NCC Greenbelt but at least it wouldn’t be over a Greenbelt forest.

  3. This is absurd. Has there been an Environmental Assessment? What impact will have on traffic on Hunt Club and the Airport Parkway? It will generate cut-through traffic on residential Uplands all the way to Riverside. They are already overcapacity. It is nowhere near a major transitway and it would be a long walk from the nearest #97 bus stops. What about our sacrosanct NCC Greenbelt?

    Why the big rush, without proper planning and consultations?

  4. Well, Mayor Larry will get his legacy. Or, to put it another way, Mayor Zero meets the Goosegg bunch and ottawa has suffered ever since.

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