Land use planning is political. The decisions that we make about how to use city-owned land today will have an impact on our children and grandchildren’s future. At every council meeting, we begin with a land acknowledgement, reminding ourselves that Ottawa sits on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin People. Land is the most valuable asset the city has, so deciding what to do with it should involve widespread, genuine consultation with as many people and communities as possible.
There are two pieces of city-owned land that have been preoccupying me lately – Lansdowne Park and the land that surrounds the Plant Recreation Centre. Both will soon be home to major developments that council will have to make big decisions about soon.
If you want to read more about the updated Lansdowne 2.0 proposal, I recommend you check out the analysis written by Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard. He hits on many of my own concerns, especially the proposal to include no affordable housing on the site and only require a cash contribution to the city’s affordable housing fund equivalent to 10 percent of the land value. This would waive requirements of the Affordable Housing Land and Funding Policy, which says 25 percent of proceeds from the sale of public land should go into the city’s affordable housing coffers.
As Kaite Burkholder Harris said in the Ottawa Citizen this week, “We could have had affordable housing on that site in perpetuity if they had designed it differently.” I encourage you to read the full staff report on Lansdowne 2.0 and to join the Let’s Talk Lansdowne event happening tonight at 7:00 pm at the Horticulture Building (1525 Princess Patricia Way) or online.
The other land use issue that is on my mind is one I have written to you about before: the proposed new development at 1010 Somerset/Plant Bath and the proposal to build a school in the middle of Plouffe Park. I have heard loud and clear from residents that the current site plan forces West Centretown to make an unfair choice between two essential amenities.
I encourage you to read my piece in the Ottawa Citizen today, where I argue. “Once you bulldoze a park, it’s gone forever. Kids and families shouldn’t have to choose between a place to learn and a place to play. We owe them both." I also recommend checking out Bruce Deachman’s excellent column on the same topic.
Ariel with the Dalhousie Community Association’s public realm committee, on a bike tour of parks in West Centretown last month
I will be in touch soon with more details about the upcoming public consultation meetings on this development: one online on November 2nd and another in person (date TBD). I am confident that by working together, we can resolve this unnecessary conflict and come up with a plan that meets the needs of parents, kids and seniors alike.
Once again, I am thankful to everyone who reached out to my office about these two developments and many other neighbourhood issues. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if my team can be of service.
Tonight: public meeting on 265 Catherine development (former bus station)
Join us tonight on Zoom to hear about the proposal for 265 Catherine Street, the site of the former bus station. The proposed development consists of three 26, 36 and 40-storey towers on two six-storey podiums with a three-storey townhouse block, park dedication and retail uses split into two phases. The proposal includes two levels of underground parking and retail at the ground floor along Catherine Street, Lyon Street North, Kent Street and Arlington Avenue in the form of market space.
Details on this development application can be found here. Access the public meeting here.
City budget consultation meeting: join us!
Join Councillors Ariel Troster, Jeff Leiper and Shawn Menard at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, October 18 at 7pm, to learn about the City of Ottawa’s 2024 budget and share your priorities. We will discuss opportunities to enhance frontline services and infrastructure in the urban core. Register today!
Safety features added at Gladstone and Rochester
In June, Centretown residents and the Ottawa bike community rallied to demand safety at Gladstone and Rochester, after a cyclist was seriously injured after being hit by a truck. Following Councillor Troster’s motion at council, a few significant safety measures have been added, including:
- Modifications to the painted lanes on three sides, including moving the stop line back for westbound/south turning vehicles and eastbound traffic.
- A bike box for eastbound cyclists.
- No right on red for eastbound vehicles.
- Additional Share the Road signage.
We know that we have so much more work to do to make Gladstone a safe street for all road users. The councillor’s motion in June expedited the process for building bike lanes. When the feasibility study is complete, we will be asking the community to rally again to make sure it gets funded.
It shouldn’t take a tragic accident to make our roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. But the Somerset Ward team so grateful to all of you who took action and demanded better.
Critical Mass Ride
A Critical Mass Ride will take place on Saturday, October 14 at 10am starting at the Canadian War Museum and ending at Patterson Creek Park. This fun and welcoming bike ride is open to all and will be an empowering demonstration of the need for safe active transportation infrastructure.
Repair Café at City Hall this Saturday!
Throw it away? No way! In honour of Circular Economy Month, the City of Ottawa is sponsoring a free Repair Café on Saturday, October 14 at City Hall (Jean Pigott Place), 110 Laurier Avenue West. Repair Cafés are an international concept with the goal of reducing landfill waste, teaching new skills, and building community!
This event is hosted by the Ottawa Tool Library. Volunteers will be ready to help repair your items and share their expertise around everything from darning socks to re-wiring kettles.
Come and learn more about the Ottawa Tool Library and waste reduction, while saving an item from the landfill!
Visit ottawa.ca/wastereduction for more info.