Mediation scheduled in effort to resolve dispute over new Senators arena

John Shannon breaks down the legal battle with Eugene Melnyk and his former partners as they come to an agreement and try to develop a new area for an arena.

OTTAWA — The three parties involved in a dispute over a plan to build a community featuring a new downtown arena for the Ottawa Senators will go to mediation to try to resolve their differences.

While filing a statement of defence against Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s lawsuit, GBA Development and Project Management president Graham Bird got the three parties (the other is Trinity Development Group founder John Ruddy) to agree to mediation on the LeBreton Flats file.

The mediation with members of RendezVous LeBreton will take place before the National Capital Commission’s Jan. 19 deadline for the group to come to an agreement. If there is no resolution by that time, the crown corporation — which controls the LeBreton Flats land — has said it will look into other options.

The Senators currently play at the Canadian Tire Centre in suburban Kanata.

"IllumiNation LeBreton is too important to fail, and is worth salvaging," Bird said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the parties can take this opportunity to keep the project moving forward."

Melnyk’s Capital Sports Management Inc., filed a $700-million lawsuit against Ruddy and Bird in November. Ruddy — also a member of the ownership group of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, the United Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury and the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s — responded with a $1-billion counterclaim last month.

Judge Warren Winkler has been asked to assist in the mediation.

"GBA worked diligently, and in good faith, for over five years to ensure the world’s best would come forth and make the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats a reality, as a truly collaborative partnership," Bird said.

"We believe that dream still lives on in the minds and the will of these partners, and that there is a way forward, a collective solution, through our challenges.’


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