November 29, 2018: Rosemount Library; Looking to the Future.

November 29, 2018: Rosemount Library;
Looking to the Future.

By Josh Nutt, Chair READ Rosemount Community Group.

The Ottawa Public Library’s Rosemount Branch recently marked 100 years in its current building on 18 Rosemount Ave. Service is top-notch at Rosemount; the space leaves much to be desired. But after renovations beginning soon, Rosemount will, READ hopes, march into its second century revitalized and ready to provide improved community spaces for reading, reflection, social congregation, and study, notwithstanding the limited space the architects have to work with.

The wonderful new central libraries in Calgary, Halifax (and soon Ottawa!) herald a new era of public libraries as major and important community spaces of architectural significance that build civic pride. Equally, stunning new branch libraries in urban areas across Canada reflect branch libraries as innovative, interactive, and integrated community hubs. These branches provide powerful models for the Rosemount planning and design team as revitalization and renovation takes shape. Some examples.

Right here at home, Ottawa’s Beaverbrook and Greenboro and Kingston’s Rideau Heights branches have wonderful group study spaces. All new and renovated branches across the country have public bookable meeting rooms. Winnipeg’s Windsor Park and Victoria’s sx?e?x??? t???x? | James Bay branches are filled with an abundance of natural light. Most new branches including Markham’s Aaniin and Halifax’s tiny Musquodoboit Harbour branches have curved shelving often on wheels to provide flexibility, but with no diminution of collection size. Several library systems notably in Victoria, Markham, Winnipeg, Lethbridge and Regina have carefully developed collections, spaces and programing to respect and acknowledge Canada’s Indigenous peoples – First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Technology underpins increasingly responsive and efficient service at renovated branches. This includes self-check and automated returns, sophisticated maker spaces and creative studios, ample and mobile public computer access, digital media labs, 24/7 wireless access, and much more. In Halifax and in some new Scandinavian libraries, even after-hours access is offered requiring no staff present.

All new branches have put an emphasis on more and varied seating for individuals and groups designed to support leisure, study, and business pursuits. Finally, most new branch libraries increasingly develop with significant community input so that the resulting expenditure of public monies responds closely to identified community needs.

Canada’s urban centres continue to put a priority on good, environmentally sensitive design. Recently five new branches were awarded LEED designation-the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED Silver included the Edmonton/Calder, Kingston/Rideau Heights and Winnipeg/Windsor Park branches; LEED Gold included the Toronto/Albion and Markham/Aaniin branches.

Many new/renovated/expanded branch libraries are part of a larger community complex such as Ottawa’s Greely, Beaverbrook, Greenboro and St-Laurent branches, Vaughan’s Pleasant Ridge and Vellore Village branches, Regina’s Albert Branch at mâmawêyatitân centre (a Cree word for let’s be all together) and Montreal’s Benny branch a part of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Cultural Centre. These joint ventures, while sometimes challenging, offer enormous advantages to service opportunities.

Let’s hope that a revitalized Rosemount builds on the success of all these recent branch library developments across Canada!

Josh Nutt.

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October 30, 2018: Rosemount Library Revitalization; Ensuring Community Voices are Heard.

October 30, 2018: Rosemount Library Revitalization;
Ensuring Community Voices are Heard.

By Josh Nutt Chair, READ Rosemount.
[Ed: the print version of this article will appear later.]

On October 3, the Ottawa Public Library hosted a very well attended open house regarding the revitalization of the Rosemount library. The small lower-level meeting/program space at Rosemount was packed as members of the community circulated to examine design ideas for the future Rosemount. Attendees shared their own ideas and feedback by writing on Post-It notes and attaching them to various poster-boards created by +VG Architects.

The Open House was busy and shows that our community is keenly interested on the future of our local library. I heard great ideas for how to make Rosemount better and a bit bigger. The OPL and +VG Architects must take the time to reflect on what the community said and incorporate the feedback into the preliminary design. READ will continue to hold the OPL accountable and will push for a presentation from the architects when the preliminary design is released in December 2018.

One particular design element that invoked criticism was the OPL’s focus on outdoor space. Many attendees expressed concerns that outdoor space would have limited use given Ottawa’s climate. In READ’s view, the focus should be on expanding and improving the indoor space.

The ongoing community consultations allow residents to give feedback on all aspects of the proposed renovation. READ believes that Rosemount must meet the demands of the diverse and growing Kitchissippi neighbourhood. The library should be re-designed so it becomes an innovative, interactive, and integrated community hub. READ also encourages people to consider what design features would allow Rosemount to serve the high-needs and vulnerable groups and individuals in the community.

The Ottawa Public Library is still seeking feedback through an online survey. As well as the survey, the display boards and photos used at the Open House are also on the OPL website at biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/rosemount-revitalization-presentation.

A second consultation will present a preliminary design based on the input received from the community. READ will ask that the format for this December consultation feature a presentation by the architects, followed by a question and answer session. It is important that there be a dialogue so all attendees can hear each other’s viewpoints.

For more information: visit the READ website http://www.readrosemount.ca/,
oct25-2018_pg4_1
Photo Caption: Revamped outdoor areas at the OPL Rosemount Branch will not guarantee year-round comfortable reading spaces to rectify current crowded conditions. READ members stress the importance of additional indoor space. Photo courtesy of R.E.A.D.

To see what’s happening with library branch development in other urban Canadian cities CLICK HERE ( https://www.exlibris.ca/doku.php?id=occasional_papers:red_hot_library_development )

September 27, 2018: Rosemount Library Consultations; Community participation encouraged.

September 27, 2018: Rosemount Library Consultations;
Community participation encouraged.

By Josh Nutt, Chair R.E.A.D..

Rosemount branch is undergoing revitalization and community input is key to the success of the project. There will be three main opportunities for the public to share their thoughts:

1. Have your say:
Complete the OPL preliminary online survey at tinyurl.com/ycebkth4 .

This survey will help the library and architects understand how visitors use Rosemount and understand visitors’ opinions regarding heritage, architecture, layout, accessibility, technology, size, and the overall use and function of the building.

2. OPEN HOUSE:
Attend the Open House on Wednesday, October 3rd from 6 to 8 pm. The Open House will take place at the Rosemount branch, 18 Rosemount Ave.

At the Open House, the public can meet with the architectural team (+VG) leading the revitalization to learn more about the project scope and potential options for the building layout and design. Come share your thoughts and ideas. The Open House is a drop-in format.

Can’t make it to the Open House? For anyone who can’t make it to the Open House, a version of the presented materials as well as options to provide feedback will be available online. Please check the OPL website, tinyurl.com/yb5ervul on October 4, 2018.

3. INPUT ON DESIGN:
Provide the Library with input on the design concept beginning in December 2018. This second round of consultations will build on the results of the Open House. Check out the OPL’s website in December for more details.

And of course you can always contact your local City Councillor for Kitchissippi Ward #15.

August 30, 2018: Letter to the Editor: Carlingwood Mall Rebuild; Letters to Newswest.

August 30, 2018: Letter to the Editor: Carlingwood Mall Rebuild;
Letters to Newswest.

By Pat Parker.

Carlingwood Mall is in the news with the recent announcement that the former Sears store is slated for demolition. We were living in McKellar Park when Carlingwood was built. I grew up and grew older with all its various renditions.

I think the Sears location would be perfect now, for affordable, seniors’ apartments. The first two floors could be retail and business, then floors 3 and up could be apartments.

Carlingwood includes a grocery, pharmacy, a walk-in clinic, barber, hair salon, restaurant, and every service seniors would need – in a covered, carpeted environment that is already seniors friendly and well-appreciated.

Underground parking for residents would be available. We seniors who are not snow-birds need a place like this to endure our winters, maybe even a theater on the second floor using escalators from the main floor? I think it would be wonderful for seniors and for business and, believe it or not, we seniors CAN revitalize an area.

I have posted this idea to social media where it quickly received many encouraging responses and suggestions as to further opportunities offered by the upcoming renovations planned for the Carlingwood Mall.

 

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.]

July 26, 2018: Letter to the Editor: The Other Side of the Story; Letters to Newswest.

July 26, 2018: Letter to the Editor: The Other Side of the Story;

Letters to Newswest.

By Alma Cowa.

~May 16, 2018.
Once again [Newswest] has printed a report from R.E.A.D. about the short comings of Rosemount library. There is really nothing new in this report from previous submissions from R.E.A.D. other than to say that the library is getting a $2 million renovation which is ‘merely a Band-Aid solution’.

I have used Rosemount since 1990 and have always found it a welcoming space. Over the years much has changed from computers to self check out and after hours drop boxes. I am at the library most weeks and have never found it over-crowded with no where to sit not even on Saturdays or in the evenings.

The library board plans to replace the main branch sometime in the future at a cost of $168 million on land already owned by the City of Ottawa, just a short trip from Rosemount.

A replacement library in one of the many high rise buildings going up in Kitchissippi would be a nightmare. I can not think of anywhere else close to Rosemount that would provide enough space that R.E.A.D. thinks is necessary. Land in the area is very expensive and unless park space is used not readily available in close proximity to the current building.

Why not wait and see what $2 million can achieve and be pleasantly surprised. The library may not be big but it is small.

[Ed: the print edition has on the same page the last submission from R.E.A.D. which appears in this on-line archive as a web-extra for the previous June 28th issue.]

Web-extra (July 12, 2018): Tree Action Now; New Website Brings Together Local Greenspace Interests.

Web-extra (July 12, 2018): Tree Action Now;
New Website Brings Together Local Greenspace Interests.

By Debra Huron.

This new website [ https://yowelection2018.wixsite.com/trees ], sponsored by Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), BIG TREES of Kitchissippi, the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital and Ecology Ottawa, offers you a chance to take 3 strategic actions:

  1. Use the Lost Trees of Ottawa site to map trees lost to natural or human causes, and share a photograph or personal memory of the lost tree. Also, share the map with your neighbours, friends and community groups in person, by email and on social media.
  2. If you agree with our recommendations to Amend the Bylaw, please call or write city politicians and staff to say so. To date, 22 Community Associations, the University of Ottawa Biology Department and 7 environmental NGOS have signed on. During the next term of Council changes to the bylaw will come to a vote. The more politicians hear the voices of citizens like you, the more likely they are to agree that these recommendations are crucial.
  3. Ottawa is blessed with many active neighbourhood and virtual communities. Join one or more to contribute to the debate on why the loss Ottawa’s urban forest has reached crisis proportions, and should be high on the municipal election agenda. When is election day? October 22, 2018 .

Please feel free to share the website and the map for Lost Trees of Ottawa with your friends, neighbours, community associations and enviro group…and on social media, websites and by word of mouth.

from: Debra Huron and…

Daniel Buckles,
Co-Chair, Environment Committee,
Champlain Park Community Association,
https://urbanforestgreenspaces.wordpress.com/ .

Animator
Champlain Oaks project,
http://www.champlainoaks.com .

Big Trees of Kitchissippi,
https://bigtreeskitch.wixsite.com/trees .