Friday, May 21, 2010

Lansdowne Consultation Fail

My calendar today listed the Lansdowne Park open house at City Hall from 10am to 8pm.

So when I got there around 1pm and saw an empty display area, I was confused. As I walked back to my office, I called 3-1-1 to find out when the open house was to be. After a couple minutes of waiting on hold while he searched various e-mails and websites in vain, I gave up and decided I'd have better luck calling my councillor's office (no answer, I didn't bother leaving a message).

As I got back to my office, my boss, who actually listens to the radio, said that there was a press conference at 3pm, so presumably the consultation would be from 3pm to 8pm. Back I went to City hall, a couple minutes before 5pm.

The boards were on display, sure, but there were no City Staff there to helpfully explain what the hell we were supposed to be doing there as part of this alleged consultation. In a move that would make Douglas Adams say "I told you so", the display was behind curtains, and you had to go through another group's event to get to it. (The curtains in the photo below are located where the entrance to the hall is usually placed. On the other side is the main corridor.)

I complained to the only person who looked like she worked there, who said that the event people were to be coming by soon to remove the boards. Meanwhile, I checked out the table of photocopied take-home materials, of which the English copies were all gone, but for some small pads of paper on which was written a website address where you can go to submit comments (great if you have internet access, which many people still do not).

Someone I know arrived around 5pm, which was apparently the time they were telling people on the radio to come on down to check it out. Poor choice of timing, because that's when they were taking the displays out of Jean Piggott Hall. People were astonished when they finished reading one display that the next one was no longer there.

I happened back a couple hours later and the displays were in the rotunda. This time, I didn't see any paperwork for people to take. It looks like the only way to provide input is through a form on the City's website. Learn from my error: save a copy of your comments and make sure cookies are enabled in your browser before you click "submit". If you don't have Internet access and you want to submit comments to this consultation process, go sit on your thumb (not quite the City's words, but it seems to be in line with their message).

On a related note, Designing Ottawa, the blog of Ottawa Citizen writer Maria Cook, hasn't published in over two weeks. She's traditionally followed the Lansdowne Park issue very closely, and it's surprising she hasn't posted anything on this latest leg.

I e-mailed her about the silence and she gave me the one-line reply, "The Citizen is in the process of reviewing our blog strategy and I'm concentrating on in-paper content in the meantime," which I don't for a minute believe is a complete answer. Gray and Gardner are both still blogging daily. David Reevely is even blogging about Lansdowne Park. But none of them gave as much coverage to the anti-Lansdowne Live people as Maria Cook did, and it's hard to believe that there isn't a connection.

Greenberg and his crew keep saying that they want what's best for this city. I guess they figure ownership leads to stewardship.

- RG>


Chris B said...

RG - I notice that the Sun offered reasonable coverage of the open house and proposals (offering some comment on reaction and responses from Councillors). The Citizen, meanwhile, has a single main story that can most positively be described as boosterish.

Of course the Citizen refused to draw the obvious conclusion - if we canget these great designs from a partial design competition, imagine what we could have got from a full one....

Ottawa@Home.Dad said...

when the preliminary design drawings for the stadium were released a few weeks ago, early in the day Maria Cook republished the main article about it, but included additional pictures.

later the same day her piece disappeared, and i haven't again seen the additional pictures she published.

looks like another instance where she overstepped her bounds, and ran afoul of the Citizen's party line (somehow).