I was talking about the development of Lebreton Flats with some people at work yesterday. One thing that came up was how the Lebreton Flats site compares to the Canadian Tire Centre site. While I suspected that the CTC is larger than the available site in Lebreton Flats, I didn’t have anything firm to base that on so I pulled some features out of OpenStreetMap and worked a little GIS magic to produce this map showing Lebreton Flats as it appears today with the Canadian Tire Centre and its parking lots superimposed on top: (you can click to make it bigger)
Even if you were to pack the parking lots (the red polygons) tightly, it looks like there wouldn’t be enough space (assuming the parcel built on is in the southwest corner bounded by the Parkway, Booth Street, the aqueduct and the extension of Preston). I suppose that you could pave the piece of land east of Booth, south of Fleet and north of the aqueduct, but that means a huge portion of Lebreton Flats would still be parking lot. Even assuming that the number of parking spaces needed would be reduced because of the O-Train station that will be built in Lebreton Flats, the arena would presumably be larger than the current CTC (otherwise, why spend all that money moving) and that could offset any reduction in parking spaces.
In the 1960s the federal government expropriated the land in Lebreton Flats from homeowners, companies and industry so that they could built a government office complex similar to Tunney’s Pasture. Fast forward to today and there’s still no government office complex. Some of the land has been dedicated to the War Museum and another parcel has condos on it. The remaining land should be used for something like a new home for the Canada Museum of Science and Technology, rather than an NHL franchise’s arena. Besides being much more accessible to the general public, financially speaking (i.e. it’s cheaper to go to the museum than to a Sens game), it would fit in with the War Museum and also be a nice reminder of the industrial heritage of the lumber and paper industries that used to be in Lebreton Flats.