DCDLS Group ready to develop LeBreton Flats

The second-place bidder on Lebreton Flats wants back in the game. 

But it's not quite as simple as that.

The DCDLS group has already contacted the National Capital Commission, saying it's ready to roll out a world-class project.The development team that includes the Ottawa Senators was chosen as the preferred bidder but it is mired in a legal dispute.

“Imaginez,” the promotional video from DCDLS starts, as it rolls out plans to develop Lebreton Flats, vacant and fallow now for some 50 years.  But, says Erhard Dobersberger, as he walks by the area, it is pretty hard to imagine anything there these days.

“It’s been like that for 25 years,” he says, “some funny hole.”

A funny hole but one that the runner-up in the redevelopment of Lebreton Flats desperately wants to fill.

Nearly 3 years ago, DCDLS, the DevCore group, made its pitch to the National Capital Commission offering everything from a Ripley's aquarium to a skate park and wind tunnel with land set aside for a downtown hockey arena.

RendezVous LeBreton ultimately won the bid but with one partner suing another and the NCC imposing a deadline,

“We are committed to making this project a world class project,” said Jean-Pierre Poulin with DCDLS, “We have an opportunity here once in lifetime to have a legacy project for generations to come,” added Poulin in a telephone interview with CTV Ottawa, “and I think it's got to start now.”

That's a feeling being shared by a lot of people today. 

“It's been sitting stagnant for a while,” said Ottawa resident Peter Unger, “My fear is if this deal falls apart, it will sit like this for another few more decades.”

Ottawa's former mayor Jim Durrell says that would be an injustice.

“This has to go ahead one way or the other,” Durrell said, “with or without a hockey rink.”

DCDLS says it was always their intention to have place holder for a hockey arena.

“It wouldn't make sense to build this iconic project without having hockey,” added Poulin.

The issue, of course, is that the hockey team belongs to Eugene Melnyk.  But TSN's Ian Mendes believes there may be a work-around.

“I think we'll get to middle of January and the NCC will look at the DevCore bid and try to figure out whether there's a way for Eugene Nelnyk to place nice in the sandbox with the DevCore group,” Mendes said.

The National Capital Commission wasn't commenting today.  It has given the RendezVous group until its next board meeting at the end of January to resolve this before deciding the next step.

In the meantime, to kind of quote Nike,

“Let’s do it, don’t just think about it, do it,” said Erhard Dobersberger.