Ottawa residents want progress on LeBreton Flats redevelopment

September 19, 2018

Most residents, including 67% of Sens fans, support the NHL stepping in to get the project moving forward.

By David Coletto

The Capital Build Taskforce, a sub-committee of the Ottawa Board of Trade focused on supporting key economic development in the National Capital Region, commissioned local polling firm Abacus Data to conduct a survey of Ottawa residents. The survey of 600 residents asked their views and perceptions on the LeBreton Flats Redevelopment project.

Here are the key findings:

ALMOST SEVEN IN TEN OTTAWA RESIDENTS THINK THE REDEVELOPMENT OF LEBRETON FLATS WILL BE A GOOD OR GREAT THING FOR THE CITY.

Support for redeveloping LeBreton Flats was consistent across Ottawa but those living in South, Central and East Ottawa and Orleans were particularly excited about the potential of the project as were residents aged 60 and over.

DESPITE THE EXCITEMENT FOR THE PROJECT, MANY OTTAWA RESIDENTS WANT MORE INFORMATION AND FEEL THE PROJECT MAY BE DELAYED.

The remainder of the survey explored public attitudes and awareness of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment project’s progress. The survey found that:

Four in ten Ottawa residents have been following news about the development at LeBreton Flats closely. Ottawa Senators fans were twice as likely to be following news of the story closely than non-fans (50% vs. 25%).

Despite the interest, almost half of Ottawa residents feel that there has not been enough public information about the project. 49% say there has not been enough information, compared with 45% who feel there has been enough information and 6% who say there has been more than enough.

This feeling is consistent in all regions of the city and exists even among those who have been following the issue closely.

Despite the lack of information, there’s a sense in the community that the project is running behind schedule. 42% feel this way while 22% feel the project is running ahead or on schedule. One in three aren’t sure about the schedule.

Among those paying closer attention to the issue, 50% think it’s running behind while 36% think it’s running on or ahead of schedule.  44% of Ottawa Senators fans think it’s running behind schedule.

When told that the events centre included in the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats is slated to open by Fall 2023, most residents have doubts that it will be done on time. 43% feel the event centre might or might not open by fall 2023 while 28% feel it’s unlikely or certain to not happen by that time.

There is even some concern that the project may not be completed at all: 15% of Ottawa residents feel that the project is certain not to or unlikely to be completed while 38% are more confident that the project will eventually be completed. Those following the project closely are more skeptical with 23% saying it’s unlikely that the re-development will ever be completed.

IF SENATORS OWNER EUGENE MELNYK DRAGS HIS FEET, RESIDENTS WANT THE COMMUNITY TO RALLY TO MOVE THE PROJECT FORWARD.

When told that some people in Ottawa feel that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is delaying progress on the project because he feels the development is risky because of another project nearby and is concerned about ticket sales, most across the city agree that the business community should rally together and do whatever is necessary to get the project moving ahead on time.

Ottawa Senators fans were more likely to feel this way.

Another eight in ten residents agree that “the LeBreton Flats project is so important for Ottawa’s future that community leaders and residents need to stand up publicly.” This feeling is more intensely felt among those following the project closely (86%), among Ottawa Senators fans (88%), and those who think the project will be a great or good thing for the city (85%).

MOST RESIDENTS WOULD EVEN SUPPORT THE NHL STEPPING IN TO GET THE PROJECT DONE.

60% of residents and 67% of Ottawa Sens fans would support NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL getting involved to ensure the project moves ahead on time.

THE OTTAWA SENATORS HAVE MUCH TO GAIN BY MOVING THE TEAM TO LEBRETON FLATS. MOST OTTAWA RESIDENTS ARE OTTAWA SENATORS FANS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LEBRETON REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT TO THE FRANCHISE REMAINS CLEAR.

Most Ottawa residents identify as Sens fans and the distribution of them across the city confirms why a downtown event centre at LeBreton Flats is important to the Senators organization’s long-term viability.

  • 65% of those who think the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats will be a great or good thing for Ottawa are Sens fans.
  • East Ottawa and Orleans residents are more likely to be Sens fans than residents in any other part of the city. 71% of East Ottawa/Orleans residents say they are Sens fans compared with 61% in the West/Kanata, 62% in the South end of the city, and 54% in central Ottawa.

THE UPSHOT

The LeBreton Flats redevelopment is a project that most feel will mean good things for the city, but many residents, including those most excited about the project, Sens fans, feel there hasn’t been enough information about the project. Many feel the project is running behind schedule and about a quarter of residents believe the project will likely miss its 2023 target completion date.

It’s no surprise then that most agree that the community should rally to get the project moving, especially Sens fans. Most would even support the NHL stepping in to make sure the project moves forward – including almost 7 in 10 of Sens fans in the city.

The survey also confirms the importance of the project to the Ottawa Senators franchise. Moving the home of the Ottawa Senators to central Ottawa will bring the team closer to more fans – east Ottawa and Orleans residents are the most likely to be Sens fans – and make it easier for hockey fans in Gatineau to experience the game.

It’s clear the residents of Ottawa want the project to succeed, recognize the positive impact it will have on the city, and want the community to rally to get the project completed and bring hockey to the centre of the city, even if it means pushing Mr. Melnyk to act.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The survey was conducted online with 600 Ottawa residents aged 18 and over from Aug 21st to 25th, 2018. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from the LegerWeb platform.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 4%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ottawa’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

ABACUS DATA INC.

Abacus Data is an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.

We all value integrity, hard work, and creativity believing good research insights come from an intense focus on our clients, rigourous methods, and occasionally challenging convention.

Whether it is a public opinion study on a challenging issue or consumer research on product and pricing design, market sizing, our team has the experience and energy to deliver deep insights on-time, on-budget, and with a creative perspective.


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