What We Have Heard So Far – What Do You Think? – Ce que nous avons entendu jusqu’à présent – quel est votre point de vue?

May 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm 9 comments

Since May 2010, we have been talking with a number of residents, community associations, politicians, city staff, private developers and design professionals to collect their views on Mid-Centretown. Below is a sample of what we have heard. As you can see, opinions are as varied as the people who live here! A common theme appears to be that Mid-Centretown is a great place to live in Ottawa, but can be made even better. People agree that we need to protect the diversity and `down to earth` feel of the community, make the streets work better, expand community services, attract new types of residents to the area and add much needed new green spaces. What people can`t yet agree on is: what is Centretown willing to trade-off for these important community improvements and how can they best be realized?

We want to hear your thoughts and continue to build our list of viewpoints. Please let us know if you would like to add some of your thoughts to our growing list.

Ottawa is growing – we need to embrace the opportunities that this provides us. Centretown has a big role to play in the economy of Ottawa. A shared vision is important. There are too many conflicting visions of what Ottawa is. City Council is not into Smart Growth – we are applying suburban standard in the downtown. We have to start thinking like a big city. Why don’t we just make development rules that make sense in the first place? There are too many hurdles to get good buildings built. Well designed taller buildings don`t block views, they create views. Pedestrians should come first. We need to create more civilized streets – not highways through our neighbourhood. Metcalfe, Kent and O’Connor need to be civilized – they are scary places today. If all north-south arterials turn to into two way streets, traffic will go to other places in neighbourhood. Kent and Lyon should be two way streets. Community uses need to be the predominant focus of this Plan. People like the diversity of Centretown. We need more families living back in Centretown. Parks play a big role in allowing intensification and right now we don’t have enough of them. Don’t close schools – so many schools have disappeared. We need to ensure Centretown still offers mixed housing and affordable housing. There is too much low quality, low rent housing concentrated in Centretown. Rental housing protection in Ottawa is weak. It needs to be strengthened. We need to encourage property owners to maintain and enhance their properties. We need better looking streets. No more front yard parking. We need more parks. The Museum of Nature Park needs to be more accessible. We need to encourage a pedestrian friendly neighborhood. Retail everywhere does not necessarily work. Bank Street is on the cusp of becoming a very vibrant place – but it has taken a long time! Elgin should have a BIA. Any new projects need a capital budget or they will never happen. Centretown needs infill, not demolition. Some of the heritage should be saved and some should go. In some places in Centretown you can have way more than 12 storeys, in other places 12 storeys is way too much. We need more people in Centretown to support retail and community uses. We are dense enough! We need more amenities for existing residents before we get any bigger. I worry that high density will increase land prices. This is not just about ‘intensification’ for Centretown, but is about creating a ‘Growth Plan’ for Centretown – much more than just buildings!

Depuis mai 2010, nous avons discuté avec un certain nombre de résidents, de représentants d’associations communautaires, de politiciens, d’employés de la Ville, de promoteurs privés et de professionnels de la conception, afin de connaître leur opinion du secteur médian du centre-ville. Vous trouverez ci-dessous un échantillon de ce que nous avons entendu. Comme vous pourrez le constater, les opinions sont aussi variées que les gens qui vivent ici. Il semble communément admis que le secteur médian du centre-ville est un endroit magnifique où habiter à Ottawa, mais qui peut encore être amélioré. Les résidents s’accordent pour dire que nous devons protéger la diversité et l’aspect « terre à terre » de ce secteur, rendre les rues plus fonctionnelles, accroître les services communautaires, attirer de nouveaux types de résidents et aménager de nouveaux espaces verts très attendus. Les résidents n’arrivent toutefois pas encore à s’entendre sur ce que le centre-ville serait prêt à sacrifier pour ces améliorations communautaires importantes et sur la manière avec laquelle elles pourront être apportées au mieux?

Nous voulons connaître votre point de vue et poursuivre la constitution de notre liste d’opinions. Dites-nous si vous souhaitez ajouter vos commentaires à notre liste toujours plus longue.

Ottawa est en plein essor – nous devons saisir les occasions créées par cette situation. Le centre-ville a un très grand rôle à jouer dans l’économie d’Ottawa. Il est important de partager une même vision d’avenir. On observe trop de visions contradictoires de ce que représente Ottawa. Le Conseil municipal ne pense pas sous l’angle de la croissance intelligente – nous appliquons des normes de banlieue au centre-ville. Nous devons commencer à réfléchir comme une grande ville. Pourquoi ne pas établir dès le départ des règles d’aménagement sensées? Il y a trop d’obstacles à la construction de bons bâtiments. Les grands édifices bien conçus ne bloquent pas les vues, mais en créent. Il faut d’abord penser aux piétons. Nous devons créer des rues plus civilisées – pas des autoroutes qui traversent nos quartiers. Metcalfe, Kent et O’Connor doivent être raffinées – ce sont aujourd’hui des lieux angoissants. Si toutes les artères nord-sud deviennent des rues à double sens, la circulation se déplacera dans d’autres endroits du quartier. Kent et Lyon devraient être à double sens. Les utilisations communautaires doivent avoir la prédominance dans ce plan. Les gens aiment la diversité du centre-ville. Il faut que plus de familles reviennent habiter au centre-ville. Les parcs jouent un grand rôle dans les autorisations de densification et, actuellement, il n’y en a pas assez. Ne fermez pas les écoles – tant d’entre elles ont disparu. Il faut nous assurer que le centre-ville continue d’offrir des unités d’habitation variées et du logement abordable. On retrouve trop de logements de mauvaise qualité et à loyer faible concentrés au centre-ville. La protection du logement locatif est faible à Ottawa. Elle doit être renforcée. Nous devons inciter les propriétaires à conserver et à mettre en valeur leurs propriétés. Il faut des rues plus attrayantes. Plus aucune place de stationnement dans les cours avant. Il faut davantage de parcs. Le parc du Musée de la nature doit être plus accessible. Il faut encourager la création d’un quartier favorable à la marche. La création de commerces de détail partout ne fonctionne pas nécessairement. La rue Bank est sur le point de devenir un lieu très dynamique – mais il a fallu beaucoup de temps! Elgin doit disposer d’une ZAC. Chaque nouveau projet doit disposer d’un budget d’immobilisation sinon rien ne se passe. Le centre-ville doit faire l’objet d’aménagements intercalaires, pas de démolitions. Certains éléments patrimoniaux devraient être conservés et d’autres supprimés. À certains endroits du centre-ville, il peut y avoir plus de douze étages, et à d’autres ce nombre est beaucoup trop élevé. Il faut plus de résidents au centre-ville pour faire appel aux utilisations de commerce de détail et communautaires. Notre densité est suffisante! Nous avons besoin de nouvelles commodités pour les résidents actuels, avant de nous agrandir encore. J’ai peur que la densité élevée ne fasse augmenter le prix des terrains. Ce n’est pas qu’une question de densification du centre-ville, mais il faut également créer un « plan de croissance » du centre-ville – c’est plus que de simples bâtiments!

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9 Comments Add your own

  • […] What We Have Heard So Far – What Do You Think? – Ce que nous avons entendu jusqu’à prése… May 2010 8 comments 4 […]

    Reply
  • 2. george dark  |  June 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    thanks to all that came out wednesday night
    we were so happy to see such a great turnout
    please let us know what you think about the data and the process
    g

    Reply
  • 3. Paul Pedersen  |  June 9, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I attended the consultation session last night and was impressed with how it was managed, and the genuine appraoch to consultations.

    What I like about Centretown – the tree liend east west street, in particular Somerset Village with the street front cafes.

    Cudos to the urban design review process that resulted in the development of Charlesfort’s Hudson Park. Although it breaches the tradtional height bylaw, the smaller footprint with taller buildings resulted in a beautful development with lots of open space and landscaping resulted in a real asset to Centretown. Lets hope it paves the way for other imaginative developments. I would rather see this type of imaginative development than yet another banal and boring apartment building that complies with existing zoning bylaws.

    I’d like to see some relaxation of development restrictions to see a retailer develop a small scale, “big box” hardware store in Centretown. Perhaps that is an oxymoron.

    What I don’t like about Centretown – the beggars and druggies, but I guess thats the price we pay for diversity – a lttle more gentrification to make Centretown commercial area the next Westboro or Glebe is not such a bad thing.

    Reply
    • 4. midcentretown  |  June 9, 2010 at 11:15 am

      Hi Paul – Glad that you were able to make it last night and felt that it was worthwhile. We were really pleased with how the night unfolded. Such a great turn out. The Hudson was a big fight, but has certianly resulted in what many feel is a better end result that the ‘as of right’ – part of this study is to establish those ‘common sense’ rules that will help create better buildings for certain location in the area. The retail in Centretown will improve as more people move into the area – it is already improving on Bank and Elgin streets (Bank in particular). What many BIAs and communities are doing is a Retail Needs Assessment that identifies gaps in provision and then BIAs actively target these types of retails and try to lure them to the area.
      Ross

      Reply
  • 5. Jonathan Holmes  |  June 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I’m all for preserving heritage buildings but I think the Centretown Heritage Conservation District needs a rethink. Preserving every 3.5 story red-brick box doesn’t make sense. Many of these buildings have little heritage value other than they are old.

    And height is certainly an issue. Preserving a gravel parking lot instead of allowing a well-designed 18 story residential building is not a green approach to development. A 12 story building with a footprint to the edge of the property can block as much sunshine as a taller building with a smaller footprint.

    Reply
    • 6. midcentretown  |  June 5, 2010 at 10:07 am

      Hi Jonathan – wow – that is certainly not a perspective that we have heard very often in our talks with Centretown folks. Part of our team is ERA architects who specialise in heritage preservation and setting up systems that function in a contemporary world but also work to preserve the best of heritage. Not an easy balance. It would be great to hear more of your thinking and views on this very sensitive subject. Heritage preservation is rightfully an important ambition for Centretown – but that is undeniably some challenges with how well the current system is working to retain, preserve and enhance the best of what is on the ground today. Many heritage assets have been lost and / or compromised over the past years, despite the current system.

      Heights – another hot topic!I couldn’t agree more that it is tough to bring positive change to a (very urban) community when you have a 11 to 14 m height limit (in the heritage district). A lot line to lot line 10 storey slab building can block MORE sunshine that a more slender 18 storey building. That said, there are many many locations in Mid-Centretown where 10 to 18 storey buildings are not appropriate (no matter how slender!). An important part of this study will be to highlight those areas that need more protection from inappropriate development as well as those areas that are appropriate for more ambitious development (than currently allowed).

      Hope to see and hear more from you on Tuesday evening
      Ross

      Reply
  • 7. midcentretown  |  May 31, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Hi Richard – thanks for the tip. We will add Skyscaper Forum to our Blog Friends. I know that I certainly like to check out the latest news on the Skyscraper site.

    Reply
  • 8. Richard Akerman  |  May 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

    It’s great to see the links to Ottawa area urban blogs like Aparttment 613 and West Side Action. I’m really glad to see the city using a blog as a platform for consultation. I wanted to mention that there is another active group of Ottawa urban enthusiasts in the SkyscraperPage Forums, specifically in the SSP: Local Ottawa-Gatineau forums.

    Reply
  • 9. george dark  |  May 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Hi
    Welcome to the mid centretown blog. Over the next few months we hope this channel of networking will become an active part of the project.
    Let us know what you think but even more, check back to see how its evolving.
    george f dark
    project director usi inc

    Reply

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Welcome!

Welcome to Mid-Centretown Tomorrow, the official project blog for the Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan, commissioned by the City of Ottawa! This is the place to learn about and participate in discussions regarding the future of Mid-Centretown.

Bienvenue sur Mi-centreville de demain, le blogue officiel du projet de Plan de conception communautaire pour le secteur médian du Centre-ville, commandé par la Ville d’Ottawa!

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