That was a beautifully written letter and had it gone to someone other the a politician it would move their hearts. Politicians care about two things, how to stay in office, how to get money to stay in office, and how to do the least amount to still stay in office. To effect a change one needs to either threaten the potential for re-election (get enough people to say they wont vote for the mayor, throw enough money at the politician to help him get elected so they will perform a favor (sadly, you can be outspent), or remove the ability for the politician to make decisions about an issue.
Chicago lost a great GA airport right next to downtown, because Mayor Daly figured he could make more money dumping the property then Chicago would gain by keeping it. Politicians don't give a crap about feelings, they only care about money and power.
Look for the money trail. See why the "city" is dropping the lease (park is losing money? Park can be turned into commercial/residential property = more tax revenue? If the park is profitable (even small) try to get a group of investors to pick up the lease, or go back to the idea of threatening the mayor with getting tossed, but in today's world, the populus stands little chance of winning that round.
In fantasy land, the mayor of Ottawa would see the park as an opportunity to expand and promote the city of Ottawa. He would use shows to draw people into the city where they spend money on hotels, eateries, and other goods. he could promote a green vision for the city working outwards from the park and use Ottawa as a positive example of how you can mix the hustle of big city with the peace of green space and keep people (gasp) in the city.
This is the statement on the official city website:
"See how Ottawa is changing into a vibrant world-class city."
By closing a vibrant, long standing horse park....right.
I wish you the best, I'll keep positive thoughts that you all will not only keep this park, but figure a way to expand its role in the city and region.
The land is owned by the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, and is part of the Greenbelt. In the short term, I don't think there is any fear regarding development. The facility may even remain an equestrian facility, and perhaps a better managed one, if the City of Ottawa decides to stops leasing the facility.
Crud! Hope they can still keep it as an equestrian facility, it would be a shame to lose another event. Gosh, I remember back in the day when there were quite a few events in the area...Spiritwood Farm, Fiddler's Green, Elchris (put on by the Oxford Pony Club), Sunset, Farm of the Mountain (and wow, that was THE event of the area too, thought it was pretty fancy), Cotswold...
The problem with the Equestrian Park is that the facility is viewed as a riding/boarding facility subsidized by the city in the same way sports complexes (with swimming pools, skating rinks, soccer fields, etc) are. The Equestrian Park should really be viewed as a city owned sport centre that is rented out to groups who want somewhere to put on an equestrian sporting event (of whatever discipline) in the same way the hockey, baseball and football stadiums are. The difference being that the city cannot contract with a single sports team for equestrian events. But the city has set the rental fees so high that the only National level Hunter Jumper show in Ottawa decided to stop running the show a few years ago citing the heavy rental fee as a primary reason.
The only other city owned "riding club" in Canada is at the Blainville Equestrian Park, and the lessons are not considered the primary function of the facility in the way that they are at the Park in Ottawa. Blainville got it right and runs big shows pretty much every weekend throughout the season. In July they usually run four International shows in the Jumper(and hunter), Dressage, Driving, and I think a Western (maybe reining) disciplines.
Ever since I showed at Blainville years ago I felt that the city of Ottawa was missing a HUGE opportunity to have a revenue generating equestrian facility that would also draw revenue for local businesses from the competitors and spectators attending the events. Revenue could be used to upgrade the facilities and add to the existing ones. Adding obstacles for combined driving, or a higher level Event (the Park could maybe run a one *, and eventually even more) would increase the attraction for show organizers. By having the facility rented out for shows every weekend there could be an investment in temporary show stabling (at Blainville the main stabling is not terribly temporary) which would reduce the cost of stabling for organizers and competitors as one week tent/stall rentals wouldn't be required (Blainville does rent extra tent/stalls for some of their largest shows).
Ottawa is well placed between the Quebec equestrians and the Southern Ontario (GTA) equestrians and could easily draw from both groups. People do go to Blainville and other Quebec National level shows from Southern Ontario, they would be happy for a shorter drive to get to one of their shows.
The Park is laid out in such a way that more than one lower level show could run on the same day without even requiring the two groups of competitors to park in the same place!
Maintaining the riding lesson program provides an opportunity for city residents to learn to ride, but also creates a pool of people who love the facility and are willing to volunteer or attend as spectators equestrian events held at the Park. Running the lesson program year round also allows the city to retain their good full time employees who will be needed during the summer season, as well as keep the facility in use (we all know how disuse is not great for arena/ring footings and barns). The indoor riding arena is huge and in the winter could be used for clinics on a regular basis in various disciplines - if the facility rental fee were reasonable for such things.