‘Ottawa’ West-End Councillors Have Big Dreams for the Canadian Tire Centre
West-end Ottawa city councillors are dreaming up ways to fill Kanata’s NHL arena, now that the Ottawa Senators are likely moving to LeBreton Flats.
Last week, the National Capital Commission announced RendezVous LeBreton, which is backed by the Ottawa Senators, is the “preferred” bidder for the 22 hectares of land downtown.
That means an NHL-calibre arena, mixed housing and green space are in the cards for LeBreton Flats. It also means an aquarium, car museum and media centre are out – as per DCDLS Group’s competing bid.
But maybe an aquarium could go in the Canadian Tire Centre, which is the Ottawa Senators’ current home, said Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley. Or a planetarium, a bio-dome or all of the above.
“We’ve been talking about some sort of theme park like (Canada’s) Wonderland or maybe a mixed theme park-retail like in West Edmonton Mall,” he said.
The news is bittersweet for business owners in Kanata, he said, but the Senators’ move could spur something that financially boosts surrounding restaurants and shops beyond NHL games and concerts.
And, as an aside, a downtown arena could speed up the need for light rail transit in the west end, he said. Currently, the plan is to extend the line to Bayshore by 2023. Hubley has asked staff to study the possibility of bringing light rail to Kanata by 2031.
Because the Ottawa Senators own the Canadian Tire Centre property, the future of the arena lies with them. And the team is looking at another five to 10 years before they move out.
Whatever goes in that space, Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson wants something more than another subdivision.
“Let’s have something great go there. Just as we’re having something great go downtown,” she said.
Meanwhile, most city councillors seem warm to the RendezVous LeBreton proposal.
Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney said it was her preferred bid from the get-go.
“To have a hockey team located in the downtown, especially situated on light rail, I always thought it was preferable to being out as far as they are today.”
The National Capital Commission will start negotiations with RendezVous LeBreton. The plan will not be final until next year.