March 15, 2018: Rosemount Library Renovation; Faulty Assessment Leads to Wrong Decision.

March 15, 2018: Rosemount Library Renovation;
Faulty Assessment Leads to Wrong Decision.

By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D.

Increasingly in Ottawa, community consultation seems to be tokenism – architectural plans are presented and comments noted. But often when push comes to shove, the finished product is a far cry from what was shown and doesn’t reflect the input received. There are many examples of this… the Lansdowne development, and closer to home the former Visitation convent. Rosemount Branch library is another case in point.

Despite community input in 2016 that recommended a new facility located close to the current site, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) board hired a consultant to evaluate possible renovation and new-build options for Rosemount. At no time was community input sought in the development of the scope of the business case. Rather, a hard financial budget was pre-set, which effectively eliminated any consideration of expansion or a new building. Was the real intent to ensure the only possible conclusion would be a superficial renovation of the branch?

In spite of the views of the community, expressed in extensive public consultations, the consultant’s report did not assess the benefits of an expanded Rosemount library. The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group has stressed the need for a library that responds to 21st century needs. The READ group believes the report ignored the fact that Rosemount has the highest circulation per capita of ALL branches. READ believes the consultant’s report relied on faulty or misleading data in its analysis of Rosemount’s overuse and user needs, including allocating half the space at Carlingwood, more than 7km away, to the Rosemount catchment area.

The OPL’s proposed $2 million renovation will not expand the space at Rosemount and will result in the closure of the branch for a significant amount of time. The OPL has said that community consultation will take place prior to the closure, but no timeline has been provided. Closure could be as early as autumn 2018.

A related issue is how the city budgets for new and renovated libraries, which in READ’s view, is deeply flawed. Consider two other cities. The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) has created a library system that is responsive to the needs of both urban and suburban neighbourhoods. Edmonton has a 10-year capital plan for its libraries and budgets accordingly. The budget covers a four-year period but permits the EPL to come back twice a year to City Council for necessary adjustments. The EPL Board approves the project priorities but City Council approves any city funding for the projects.

Winnipeg’s city council approved funding of a 2013-2023 long-term Library Facility Redevelopment Strategy to rebuild, relocate, expand or significantly redevelop nine existing branches, including two 1915 Carnegie facilities. The city has three principles it considers for each library branch redevelopment – maximize investment and revenue potential of city owned lands with stand-alone library facilities; advance community benefits through mixed use development opportunities and partnership possibilities; and, recognize today’s technology necessitates contemporary library services.

Other Canadian cities develop strategies and commit to long-term funding for their library systems. Why, in Ottawa, do the OPL and city council not adopt similar approaches?
Photo Caption: Rosemount Library, with the highest per capita circulation of all library branches in Ottawa, will undergo a renovation instead of the desired expansion requested by users. Not all users of the overcrowded Rosemount Branch are satisfied with what many deem an inadequate and inefficient assessment lacking adequate public consultation. Photo courtesy of R.E.A.D.

March 15, 2018: Rooming Houses vs Private Home; When does a “Home” become a “Bunkhouse”?

March 15, 2018: Rooming Houses vs Private Home;
When does a “Home” become a “Bunkhouse”?

By HCA Security Committee.

By-Law Services held a public consultation Feb. 21 on proposed clarifications to the definitions of a Rooming Houses, related definitions and some of the newer housing forms being seen in recent years – private home conversion which have sometimes been labelled “bunkhouses”.

This process is an attempt to align the definitions in other City departments so that there is one clear definition for Zoning and By-Law. A further review slated to begin later this year will be a comprehensive review of the licensing of residential room rentals including short-term rentals such as Airbnb and shared accommodations.

There has been a lack of clarity in defining what constitutes a rooming house and what constitutes shared accommodation – a group of friends sharing a residence.

This consultation has been prompted by conversion of houses into many bedrooms under the guise of friends sharing accommodation when they clearly operate as a Rooming House. Areas close to the universities and Algonquin College have seen many of these conversions. A house that once had a family of 4 or had 2 apartments might be converted to 10 or 20 bedrooms.

Neighbours have complained of problems with excessive and unmanaged garbage, many vehicles parking on the property and street, lots of visitors, parties and general disruption.

Another complication with the definitions was that a rooming house was defined by the number of roomers not the number of rooms – so if a room was empty at the time of inspection it might fall below the threshold.

Rooming houses began to be licensed in 2002. There are yearly inspections and there are a number of specific requirements and building code standards that must be met before a license is issued. All these strict requirements are in place for tenant protection and to ensure minimal impact on the neighbouring community.

Many of these conversions or “bunkhouses” essentially operate as rooming houses but avoid the more stringent requirements, inspections and expense. The essential difference is how the people operate together. They are deemed to be a single housekeeping unit if they have collective decision-making and responsibility for the management of the interior of the dwelling unit.

It is a rooming house if they are independent tenants with no collective decision making or responsibility for the management of the interior of the unit (ie: common areas) and there are more than 4 rooms.

This review and the one to start later this year is also being looked at in conjunction with the larger Zoning review of R4 zones.

For information and to fill in the online survey :


March 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; City News.

March 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
City News.

By Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor.

Happy March, Kitchissippi! Our February was very busy. We have lots of active planning files on the go, which means lots of public open houses. We also had our last community bonfire of the season, complete with s’mores and a synthetic skating pad courtesy of the Wellington West BIA.

On February 14th, council voted – including me – to approve a modified version of the Rochester Field development concept. This concept still contains two mid-rise buildings grouped together at the south end of the field, but some changes have been made to address the concerns I was hearing from residents.

The original proposal contained two six-storey buildings on Richmond, with a setback and a gap of roughly 15 meters between them. Because of concerns from myself and residents that this offered too little gateway between the Richmond and the SJAM park, I successfully secured a pause on the process to see whether any improvements could be made. My thanks to Councillor Harder, the Mayor, and the NCC’s Dr. Kristmanson for helping us get that second look.

Ultimately, the new plans resulted in a 4-meter widening to the gap between the two buildings, which is roughly the same width of the Byron Linear Park. To compensate for loss of density, the building on the east side of the site is proposed at seven stories instead of six. It was a difficult decision for me to support this, and I am grateful for all the advice I received, but I consider the addition to the gap to be meaningful. There is no actual development proposal for this property, and there likely won’t be for many years. This effort was not the last chance to effect change in the proposal, and we will continue efforts with the NCC as opportunities arise.

Recently, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) decided that the City must take steps to either officially decommission the Prince of Wales Bridge or bring it into a state of repair where it could be used for rail operations within a year. While this decision has enormous repercussions for the City, it could be good news for those advocating for a cycling/pedestrian connection between Gatineau and the Bayview Station. The City will take some time to determine how it wants to proceed, and the current deadline for the City to outline its intended actions is April 30th. I have a few outstanding questions about this; it seems to me that the City should appeal the April 30th deadline in order to gather more information about the cost of renovating the bridge. Furthermore, we need to understand what the CTA will accept as a plan to repair the bridge moving forward. I consider that the bridge should be put into operation as a rail/cycling/pedestrian connection, but the issue is complex. You can read more about my thoughts on the blog.

We look forward to welcoming spring in the Ward and all the wonderful activities that attend it! Hope to see you out there enjoying the warming weather, Kitchissippi.

March 15, 2018: Why Westboro?; Rezoning Rochester Park.

March 15, 2018: Why Westboro?;
Rezoning Rochester Park.

By Gary Ludington, Westboro Community Association.

We know most of Kitchissippi has been invaded. Yes, by the Emerald Ash Borer, but also by developers. In February City Council ruined Rochester Park by rezoning it to allow two mixed-use buildings to be built along Richmond Road from the Keg Manor, west to the lot line of the homes on Fraser Avenue.

A representative for the NCC said this was necessary because the Federal Government wasn’t providing them with enough funding to carry out their mandate.

Also in February, four meetings were scheduled to inform residents of rezoning applications in our community. On February 20th at the Churchill Seniors Centre, we were presented with a Domicile proposal for a six storey mixed-use building which would replace the first three houses on the west side of Roosevelt behind Starbucks. This is an R3 zone where single homes are zoned for a height of 8M not six storeys as proposed by Domicile.

On February 22 we met at the Superstore to hear about a six storey proposal for 403 Tweedsmuir known as the Richmond Plaza Motel. One of the things the zoning is seeking is approval for a boutique hotel.

A third meeting was scheduled for February 26th for the corner of Churchill Ave and Byron Place but was cancelled at the last moment. The fourth meeting was held at the Churchill Seniors Centre on February 28th.

This meeting is for a four storey building with 25 rental units and no parking to be located at 342 Roosevelt next to the transitway. The rational for the 25 unit building is a need for rentals. However just in Westboro on McRae there are three buildings (one already built) that provide rental units; at Tweedsmuir and Richmond is a nine storey building of rental units; there are also a large number of triplexes that have been, or are being, built on Tweedsmuir, Clare, Athlone, Tillbury and Ravenhill – all rentals. So why do we need another on a short dead end street that already has vehicle issues.

Controversy about the two developments on Roosevelt centers around the fact that this section of Roosevelt is a dead end at the transitway and has just about zero on-street parking. Also, the street up to this point consists of single family homes.

The Domicile rezoning, if successful, would be to change that part of Roosevelt to Traditional Mainstreet similar to Richmond Road. We have heard support from the private sector that our Secondary Plan needs changing but they still come forward with these proposals and the City keeps supporting them.
Why? Let us know what you think.

[Ed: For more details on the developments on Roosevelt meeting visit and look for the March 1st 2018 issue of Kitchissippi Times, pg. 3, Streets “Crumbling” Under Development, by Bradley Turcotte.]

February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; Current Events in Ward 15.

February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
Current Events in Ward 15.

By Jeff Leiper, City Councillor Kitchissippi Ward.

Congratulations Kitchissippi – you made it to February! We had a very busy start to 2018 and things are continuing to ramp up in our office as we are working on many important files.

On Sunday, January 28th we celebrated the SJAM Winter Trail! I was thrilled to attend a ribbon cutting of the new connection between Champlain Park and the SJAM Winter Trail, made possible by the autumn closure of Pontiac Street that my office championed.

Groomer Dave, our MPP Yasir Naqvi, the Norwegian ambassador Kari H. Ovind, John Rapp from Dovercourt, four-time Olympian Sue Holloway and many others were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. The ribbon cutting was followed by a ski festival, which included a kid’s loppet and a variety of fun activities. We are so fortunate to live in a Ward with great access to the Winter Trail and all it has to offer.

There is a City-initiated by-law amendment in the works to change the zoning for St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, the Bronson Centre, Barrymore’s, and places of worship across the city to reflect their capacity as live music and performance venues. The amendment is now available for comment, and comments to the planner Tim Moerman are due by February 27th. Find more information about the study and comment on our website!

The City has submitted a very forceful response to Queen’s Park outlining the issues with the new inclusionary zoning rules. This response addresses the major shortcomings of the rules, especially the requirement to subsidize 40% of the lost value to the developer of an affordable unit and an exemption for rental housing. I was also able to reiterate these points in an op-ed I co-authored with Councillors from Toronto, London, Hamilton, and Kingston Cities.

In related news, I brought forward and inquiry to Council at the January 31st meeting asking what tools the City has to direct housing development and renewal or renovation of existing facilities in rapid transit hubs to be affordable. The inquiry also asks if there are any current urban planning strategies in place to ensure that urban displacement of low-income and vulnerable residents does not occur around rapid transit hubs. As we welcome light rail we must continue to ensure that it is accessible to everyone.

We have a few upcoming events in Kitchissippi Ward. On February 24th we will be working with the Wellington West BIA to put on a community bonfire in Somerset Square Park from 5 to 7 pm. It will be our last bonfire of the season and it’s shaping up to be a fun one, so don’t miss out! We will have our pop-up office hours at Happy Goat (at 35 Laurel) on February 27th from 4-7 p.m. Come see us and chat all things Kitchissippi!

February 15, 2018: A City That Fosters Innovation?; Long-term strategy needed for Libraries.

February 15, 2018: A City That Fosters Innovation?;
Long-term strategy needed for Libraries.

By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D.

The City’s budget was very much in the news in November and December of 2017 due to criticism of the Council’s obsession with keeping taxes low at all costs. This debate was partially sparked by projected underspending for snow removal this winter and the lack of funds for infrastructure. The issue was suddenly resolved when an additional $10 million materialized on the day the budget was voted on. But it is more than snow removal that is impacted by an artificially low tax rate. Over the years, it has obstructed the maintenance of public and social services, such as libraries.

Ottawa is touted as a centre of innovation, which fosters creativity and imagination, where people learn and exchange new ideas via modern technology. On paper, the city cites libraries as integral to our vibrant community, the heart of each diverse neighbourhood making up our rapidly growing municipality. Libraries are acknowledged in city documents as hubs for information, as safe and inviting focal points for different cultural groups, as fostering greater tolerance through knowledge and understanding.

Across the city, urban neighbourhoods are intensifying – condos are rising around transit stations, streetscapes are seeing multi-family units replace single family homes. More people in these areas place greater demand on infrastructure, including their local libraries.

The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) Group has pressed the city on the need for a new library in our community. READ also believes that the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) board needs to position itself strategically and advocate for quality library services across Ottawa.

A comprehensive long-term capital plan that would fund and initiate a blueprint for library renewals and new construction is now more critical than ever. This would allow City Council to ensure that there is sufficient long-range and more predictable funding for the library system. Currently, the OPL relies on a complex array of funding sources. And those sources are not always certain.

Libraries are places where everyone – young and old, well-heeled and the socially and physically challenged and all in between – goes. They are places of inspiration and creativity, where reading opens up the world to all and accessible computers bring the worldwide web of information to one’s fingertips.

The Rosemount Library, despite being a priority on the OPL list for years, is now slated to receive a mere face-lift to make cosmetic improvements and provide band-aid solutions to a building in its 100th year. That is not acceptable and why READ supports a comprehensive long-term funding strategy for the renewal of existing libraries and the development of new branches.

Next month’s article will discuss the strategies being implemented in other Canadian cities and show how they have successfully built and redeveloped the libraries in their neighbourhoods.

February 15, 2018: Letters to Newswest; Rochester Park Decision Deferred.

February 15, 2018: Letters to Newswest;
Rochester Park Decision Deferred.

By Gary Ludington.

On January 23rd Planning Committee heard from quite a few residents regarding the NCC’s new proposal for Rochester Park. The agreement between the City and the NCC had no development on the West part of the Park property. What was passed by Committee was at a minimum a six storey wall along Richmond Road from the Keg Manor to the back yards of the homes on Fraser Ave. – something similar to the Ashcroft development blocking the views of the convent.

In essence, we went from having a major green open corridor to the Ottawa River to having a wall blocking our enviable view.

This item went to Council on January 31st where we have no opportunity to speak. But the community could and did send letters and emails to the Mayor and Council asking that the proposal go back to staff so the community could be engaged in perhaps a planning charrette with the City and the NCC to see if there wasn’t a better solution that was a win/win for all. Council agreed up to a point. The final decision has been deferred so City and NCC staff can meet to see if there is a solution that comes closer to what was presented in 2016. Let’s hope we don’t end up with a wall spoiling the vista we have enjoyed for longer than we can remember.

January 18, 2018: How Well Do We Regard Our Past?; Taking Stock of Our Built Heritage.

January 18, 2018: How Well Do We Regard Our Past?;
Taking Stock of Our Built Heritage.

By A. Marsha.ll, A. Phillips and A. Polywkan, Built Heritage Researchers, City of Ottawa.

The goal of the Heritage Inventory Project is to create certainty around Ottawa’s heritage resources.

The City of Ottawa is undertaking a major project identifying buildings, structures and other built resources of cultural heritage value.

The ‘Heritage Inventory Project’ is a city-wide project involving the surveying and evaluation of a vast array of Ottawa’s built resources, from the modest worker’s houses of Lowertown, to the fine Arts and Crafts homes in Brantwood Place, to the century-old barns of Kinburn, and even the numerous bridges that span our city’s many waterways.

The goal of the Heritage Inventory Project is to create certainty around Ottawa’s heritage resources. Properties identified through the project will not be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, rather they will be added to the City’s Heritage Register.

A rigorous update to the City’s Heritage Register will be beneficial for property owners, developers, heritage advocates, elected officials, planning staff, community groups and all concerned residents.

The research method for the project includes photographing, describing architectural characteristics and evaluating thousands of built resources throughout the city.

We’re asking Newswest readers to share information about their properties or other buildings or structures in their neighbourhood. We would love to know who designed your home or the original use of a particular building.

Please connect with the City of Ottawa’s built heritage researchers: Avery Marshall, Adrian Phillips and Amber Polywkan at or say hello if you see us in the neighbourhood.

More information about the Heritage Inventory Project is available at

The City of Ottawa Heritage Inventory Project uses a GIS software tool to collect heritage data on neighbourhood buildings. Readers are invited to get in touch with the authors and share information about your house and your neighbourhood.

January 18, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; City news.

January 18, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
City news.

By Jeff Leiper, Councillor, Kitchissippi Ward.

Happy New Year, Kitchissippi! We hope that everyone had a restful holiday season. We’re back in the swing of things and excited to tackle all the challenges and opportunities 2018 has to offer.

Before the break, we were thrilled to pull off a successful tree-lighting ceremony in Roy Duncan Park. This year we got the whole tree lit; big thank you to Giant Tiger for the lights, Dovercourt for equipment, and Taggart Construction for the use of a cherry picker to string the tree.

One of the issues we’ll face in 2018 is the new inclusionary zoning regulations set forth for comment by Queen’s Park. Inclusionary zoning gives municipalities the power to force developers to include a portion of affordable housing in new housing developments.

This would be huge for Kitchissippi, as much of the growth happening inside the Greenbelt is happening here; not surprising when we consider how LRT will transform our neighbourhoods, placing five stations in our ward alone.

This growth increases property values. Without intervention, it’s likely there will be very little affordable housing in Kitchissippi in the coming decades. This creates barriers for many Ottawans to access transit in our ward, and will have a negative impact on our communities.

Unfortunately, I feel the inclusionary zoning regulations have some problems. Core issues include: the rules only apply to ownership; municipalities will be required to subsidize developers’ affordable units by 40%, cash-in-lieu of parkland and development charge waivers would be used as part of the subsidy; and, affordability would be defined at a neighbourhood, not city-wide level. You can read a detailed copy of the regulations on the blog, but ultimately I feel that these new inclusionary zoning regulations in their current state won’t be much help to Kitchissippi.

Essentially, cities will be required to set out locations in their Official Plans where inclusionary zoning rules would be applicable to buildings with 20 or more units. The affordable units would be limited to 5% of a development or 10% if the building is in a high demand area due to access to transit. Cities must then lay out a detailed housing plan and guarantee that units would be affordable for a minimum of 20 but a maximum of 30 years. Clearly, this is a complex issue that will require some careful thought. If you have ideas, please drop me a line.

As Kitchissippi continues to grow, we need to work together to ensure it’s the best it can be.

Don’t forget: our next Pop-Up Office will be held at Freshii in Westboro (342 Richmond Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27th. While January is giving us some winter weather, we may as well enjoy it. The SJAM Winter Trail is fully open, having reached its fundraising goal of $20,000. Thank you for keeping this pathway open and making our city just a little bit greater.
Photo Caption: Pictured here at the Hintonburg 5K Run, Kitchissippi community activist Jeff Leiper regularly bicycles to his job at City Hall. Photo by T. Hairbach.

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