OTTAWA, On. — The original south-side stands at Lansdowne Park are soon going to be a thing of the past.

Mayor Jim Watson kicked off demolition Friday, calling it a small but important step.

“We have had literally hundreds of hours of talk and debate about Lansdowne,” he says. “Today we start the work and start the action to revitalize this very important park of our history and of our community.”

While there are still a few stumbling blocks with the Friends of Lansdowne appeal, the mayor says the stands had to come down anyway.

“We would have to do this demolition in any event, regardless of what the court’s decision is because these stands have outlived their usefulness,” he says.

Delsan-Aim Environmental Services Inc won the $550,000 contract in a tender competition and is using a special demolition equipment that was transported to Lansdowne in pieces on flatbed trucks and assembled at the site.

Concrete and metal from the stands will be recycled and some of the seats will be transported to City Hall. They will be used for the new Rink of Dreams.

The demolition should be complete by mid-January. Construction on Lansdowne is slated for the spring, pending the resolution of legal issues.