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Lansdowne will be ready on time: developers

An update from Lansdowne Park developers to the city's finance and economic development committee shows they're on track to open the stadium on time.

Lansdowne will open in phases, the stadium opens Wednesday, July 9, the first home game is Friday July 18, the Urban Park opens in August, and retail outlets and condos are set to be ready in 2015.

But, with the long winter the developers have had to play a bit of catch-up and developer Marco Manconi says there's a chance the sod won't be laid on the Great Lawn.

"Contractors need some place to lay down their tools, their equipment etc. so, the Great Lawn, obviously being a large area, we've had to move people around in order to put sod down so that, in concert with the weather, but it would be a really big win for me personally to get that lawn down for game day and we're trying very hard to have that happen," he said.

The great lawn wasn't the only thing affected by the long winter.

"We are still realizing some of the costs that we incurred to do some catch-up due to this past winter so, I could say I don't have the numbers here in front of me but our next quarterly update we'll provide a refreshed look at those numbers. But, at this point, the budget is still tracking overall," said Manconi.

Neither he nor developer Bernie Ashe would elaborate on those costs or the budget until the quarterly update is delivered.

And while there's a small crunch with paint and the Great Lawn, other pieces are in place including branding to convince people to take transit, ride their bikes or take shuttles to TD Place. The cedar veil and stadium itself will also be ready on time.

Ashe said in order for the new Lansdowne to function, come game time people are going to have to find alternate modes of transportation.

"We really hope that we'll be able to execute well, people will enjoy the park and shuttle, 'cause it's free and it's easy to use, so our message to fans are to drive to a shuttle spot or leave the car at home," Ashe said.

They're making a serious effort to let ticket-holders know about the alternatives; they're calling them and including suggestions based on where they live for which shuttle or Park and Ride to use.

Each game day ticket entitles the holder to a round-trip on the TD Place shuttle or three hours of free OC Transpo service both before and after the game or free supervised bicycle parking on site.

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