Web-extra (July 26, 2018): City Planning for What?; Important Points Ignored by Council in 65 Storey Decision.

Web-extra (July 26, 2018): City Planning for What?;
Important Points Ignored by Council in 65 Storey Decision.

By Cheryl Parrott.

The application for the tallest building in Ottawa was passed by Planning Committee July 10, 2018 and then fast-tracked to City Council the next day. It easily passed despite community opposition on many issues and opposition by both ward Councillor McKenney and Councillor Leiper.

The Trinity Development at 900 Albert St will have 3 towers – 65, 56 and 27 storeys and will be located on the very small piece of property just north of City Centre at the intersection of the new LRT line and the O-Train. It will have 1,232 residential rental units, 11,926 square meters of retail as well as 18,332 square meters of office space

The issues that all delegations except the proponents identified:

  • This development ignores the Bayview Community Design Plan (CDP) which called for a maximum of 30 storeys. This plan was passed in 2013 and clearly took into account the proximity to the new Light Rail (LRT). This application more than doubles the height and clearly means all the community volunteer time spent on the CDP means nothing. The ink is barely dry when those decision are overturned. Community volunteers are now questioning the point of dedicating many, many volunteer hours to CDPs and the City spending $100,000 when they seem to provide no guarantees for future development.
  • Too many vehicle parking spaces. There will be about 1153 parking spaces provided for a transit oriented development directly across from a major transit station. The transportation study predicts that 75% of those visiting the retail businesses will come by car – so only 25% by foot, biking, bus or rail. It also predicts close to an additional 700 cars in the peak hour in the afternoons and on Saturdays being added to an already congested Albert/Scott St.
  • Affordable units. The City has a policy that 25% of units are to be affordable based on CMHC guidelines. The proponents could not provide information on how the affordability will be managed and maintained over the life of the building.
  • The relationship of the building to the existing community. The south side of the building that faces the Dalhousie neighbourhood will contain a large area for the loading docks for the retail businesses. A pedestrian/biking pathway to connect to the multi-use pathway alongside the O-Train will be isolated at the farthest edge of the property past the loading docks. Albert St. is a fairly hostile environment with traffic and a lot of wind on top of the bridge – not a likely place to chat with new neighbours. The west side of the buildings facing Hintonburg is just stark tall walls with no articulation. Throughout several meetings both communities have asked for changes so that this building does not turn its back on the existing neighbourhoods and community members have chances to interact. Few changes have been made.

All community members were disheartened that after 3 hours of presentations and questions nothing changed.

[Ed: if you have insights or concerns about this development, (like does the builder have the right experience to build the extra 35 storeys on the highest tower, what is the effect on emergency or other services called to a situation in a tower twice as high as other towers in Ottawa, etc.) then please send them in to our editor soon so we can include them in our pre-election coverage of important issues for the Mayor and Councillors candidates.]

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