Thank You for a Great Open House!

July 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm 9 comments

A big thank you to everyone who came out to our final community open house on June 29th. Also, another big thank you to the Museum of Nature for allowing us to use their beautiful new space! It was a perfect space for the session. If you couldn’t make it last night, the summary information panels presented at the session can be downloaded here (5.5 MB PDF).

As a reminder, we are still accepting comments on the draft, so please provide them by July 15th. We will then revise the document over the summer. In the fall, it will be made available as part of the process to complete any necessary Official Plan Amendments / updates to the existing Secondary Plan.

Please provide any comments in writing to Robert Spicer, Community Planning and Urban Design Division City of Ottawa.

Hope everyone had a great Canada Day!

Ross

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

REMINDER: Final Community Meeting – JUNE 29! The FINAL DRAFT Centretown Community Design Plan Has Arrived!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  November 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

    In follow-up to the question from Rakerman and the reply, I think some clarity is appropriate.
    The study at hand is that of (Mid) Centretown. The draft report does not deal with transportation/ mobility issues in a comprehensive manner. This subject is deferred to another study. The best case scenario is the final plan will contain a reference to transportation that will read along the lines of – see another plan.
    The terms of reference and the study area for that other study does not include the (Mid ) Centretown area. So the reference will, I suspect, be unhelpful.
    I attended the Ottawa Mobility workshop and participated in discussions, with a representative from Delcan at the same table. I specifically asked about the north south interface with the LRT project. I was told that, while there would be some impacts of the LRT – the study area boundary had to be defined with specific limits, and that is the extent of their “overlay”. They are aware of the “other” study, but that it is not the focus of the Ottawa Moves initiative and in the same way it is not dealing with Sandy Hill issues, it is not directly concerned with Centretown. or Mid Centretown, or the modified Mid Centretown.
    I have been told that, after due deliberations, the decision has been made there will not be another publc meeting.
    I am left to conclude the next step in the process is for the presentation of the final draft plan. Has a date been identified as to when this will take place, and at the same time has a tentative date been selected for the presentation to the Planning Committee? I would like to suggest that the public should have a reasonable opportunity to review the draft, particularly in view of the decision not to have another public meeting. A one week notice is not, in my opinion, a reasonable time line for the public to review this document.

    Reply
    • 2. Administrator  |  November 7, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Hi Dan –

      Yes, your information is correct, there will not be another public presentation for the CDP. The final presentation of the draft has been made and we have collected all comments and feedback to revise the document accordingly. A final presentation will be made when the CDP goes before Council (date TBD). As I understand it, the CDP will be available for review prior to that meeting and final comments/deputations can be received at the Council session …. although you would be best to confirm Council protocol and how/when final comments are made with Bob Spicer at the City.

      All the best
      Ross

      Reply
  • 3. rakerman  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Will you be representing the Centretown Design Plan at the Downtown Moves (Mobility Overlay) events? http://ottawa.ca/residents/public_consult/mobility_overlay/program_en.html At Diane Holmes’ Sidewalk Summit? http://dianeholmes.ca/detail.php?news_id=333 Is there a newer version of the Mobility Position Paper? https://midcentretown.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/mid-centretown-mobility-paper-draft.pdf What specific information has been/will be passed to the Downtown Moves (Mobility Overlay) study? Is there more relevant material than the Mobility Position Paper (e.g. a chapter of the design plan)? What is the impact of the fact that the Study Area for Downtown Moves http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/public_consult/mobility_overlay/study_area_en.html only covers the CBD, and not all of Centretown? Where is the mechanism to move ideas like fixing the arterials (by making them 2 way, and eventually by widening sidewalks, reducing the number of lanes or adding bike lanes)?

    Reply
    • 4. Administrator  |  November 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Richard – No, Urban Strategies is not involved in the Mobility Overlay, although Delcan (who were our transportation consultants) are the folks who are actually leading the Mobility Overlay Study. Teh good news there is that they will be able to transfer all their work over from the CDP to the DOMO study, so they will be well versed in local Centretown issues. Related to that, there is an updated Mobility Position paper that will be published with the final CDP – some further work on parking, TDM, two way conversions and the implications of removing metcalfe street from the Museum of Nature lawns.

      With regard to your questions around the Mobility Overlay, your best bet for answers and understanding how transportation networks might be improved and/or impact on adjacent communities is to contact Nelson Edwards at the City of Ottawa (nelson.edwards@ottawa.ca). Nelson is the project manager and will have the most recent information on the scope and methods of the study. It was our understanding that DOMO was to look at the two way conversions as part of its scope. I hope that this is still the case. As you know, Centretown has been included as the Area of Influence….but I am not really sure what this means with regard to work being undertaken locally.

      All the best
      Ross

      Reply
  • 5. Dan  |  July 13, 2011 at 8:20 am

    These comments pertain most specifically to the process of collaboration for this planning exercise.

    The planning process for Mid Centretown defined its purpose, in part, as an initiative to translate the principles and policies of the Official Plan to the community of Mid Centretown. In reference to the strategic direction, the Official Plan confirmed that:
    The process of community building will be open and inclusive.
    The O.P. elaborated by stating:
    • Citizen Engagement – Everyone will have the opportunity to fully participate in the life of their community
    • Public Awareness – The City will educate the public about important issues in order to raise awareness and understanding to enable the public to make knowledgeable choices.
    • Conduct an Open and Participatory Process – The City will conduct business in a broad and open way that makes it easy for everyone to participate and collaborate.
    The initial documents from the Mid Centretown Community Design Plan Process affirmed this direction by stating the process would be the collaboration of multiple stakeholders. A timeframe was established that contained various milestones and elements of a consultation process.
    My participation with the process was prompted because I was under the impression the planning exercise was to be a review and update of the 1976 Centretown Secondary Plan. I was immediately informed the focus was on an area defined as Mid Centretown and a rationale was presented as to why this particular segregation was appropriate.
    After examining the boundary, I next questioned the reasoning for including the west side of Kent Street in the divided Centretown, as the abutting properties are exclusively within a designation of residential. My concern was that the inclusion of mixed use, including commercial on the main level, would have predictably negative consequences on the neighbouring properties. In my view this would result, most dramatically, if the parking and servicing for,- say a restaurant ,was located at the rear of the Kent Street frontage, – effectively in the side yard of the bordering residential property.
    The response I obtained was: The decision has been made. Kent Street West is included. It makes good planning sense to include the mixed use designation on both sides of this arterial road. Good planning and development controls will ensure the protection of the residential character of the adjacent properties. Amen. But thank you for your layman’s opinion.
    My concern with the manner in which Kent Street had become an express lane to the Parliament Precinct and Gatineau, was magnified in that both sides of the street could now subject to more intensive development. My hope was that the plan would address some of the traffic issues on Kent Street, perhaps even to confirm the 1976 direction that Kent Street be converted to two way traffic. I am reminded that this is an open, collaborative consultation process. Yet, I continue to have the sense that to agree with the professionals is the essence of collaborative. Disagree with these individuals and, well, you are wrong but still entitled to your view”.
    If that was the end of the interaction I could make an assessment of the collaborative nature of the decision making, in terms of the City’s strategic direction, policies and guidelines. Moving forward one year however we have the first draft of the plan document. Without one word of advance notice, the decision was made that the scope would be inclusive of all of Centretown. It is no longer restricted to the earlier delineation, albeit the retained focus is on Mid Centretown.

    In summary, my concerns and comments specifically related to the collaboration and consultation with this exercise are as follows::
    1. The designated focus of the study (i.e. Mid Centretown) deterred many residents from participating, as their residential neighbourhood was understood not to be considered.
    2. There was no effort to inform the public of the change until the draft document was released, and then without specific identification of the expanded boundary. For anyone not attending the public meeting, I suspect the level of awareness of this change is marginal.
    3. The plan document makes no effort to address “impacts” on the residual area – to the west of Kent Street, – including traffic, parking, noise, and commercial infiltration.
    4. The draft plan makes no effort to address traffic issues within either the present or altered state of affairs on Kent Street, neither in terms of traffic modulation or pedestrian enhancements.
    5. This exercise is obviously process driven and there are no adjustments to “the process” to achieve higher results in the consultation process. There is a congratulatory attitude associated with the blog innovation, yet there is no assessment of the results. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, the planning department has not assessed its consultation “process” in the past ten years. As long as the notices appear in the newspaper and on the web….the process has been …successful. More effort appears to be invested in ensuring the participants in the public meetings sign-in than in exploring how to increase the participation rate amoung the 20,000 residents of Centretown.
    6. After one year of study the public is invited to attend a two hour session where the draft document is revealed. The public is then directed to submit comments within two weeks. I suspect it was coincidental that this unveiling took place immediately prior to the start of summer holidays.
    7. The comment from the president of one of the key stakeholder groups, the CCCA, called for the scheduling of another public meeting to allow time to consider the impacts on the expanded area, I would like to echo that suggestion.
    8. In the interest of openness and transparency, I suggest that the input from the consultative sessions be made available on the web site. Written submissions and minutes of any meetings would be helpful to obtain a context of the full extent of the public input. I would respectfully submit that one line statements of What We Heard – without context, analysis or summary, is colourful, but does not provide insights into “the current community aspirations or future opportunities for contemporary urban living and working in Centretown”..
    9. As a final comment, it would have been refreshing to have seen the presentation of an innovative process for future citizen participation. In particular it would be creative to have a new review process for policy initiatives and development proposals that are relevant to the citizens in the Centretown community. Perhaps they could be considered as a follow-up to the guidelines in the Official Plan.

    July 13, 20100

    Reply
  • 6. Adrian Hachey  |  July 4, 2011 at 6:45 am

    For someone who attended the session, and for the first time was made aware of the change to be inclusive of all of Centretown (ie. not restricted to mid-centretown) – the timeline may suit your purposes, but it is disrespectful of the public who is not engaged full tiime in this exercise. Two weeks to review the full document and two hours in an open house is a cursory opportunity to provide meaningful participation. Where have y’all been for the past six months?

    Reply
    • 7. Administrator  |  July 4, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Hi Adrain – we have been working on preparing the draft final plan for the past several months. We appreciate your concerns with the timeline and I have forwarded your comments onto Bob Spicer, the Planner who is managing the project for the City.
      He has confirmed that if you feel you need a couple of additional weeks to submit your comments, they project timeline will allow for them to be considered before finalizing the CDP.
      Hope that helps
      Ross

      Reply
  • 8. ian stewart  |  July 4, 2011 at 2:27 am

    How refreshing to see planning such as is done in more progressive cities like Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Europe.

    Is this run by the city? I ask this because it looks like nothing Ottawa has ever driven. It is actually progressive and would alleviate nightmares such as King Edward ave.

    It would be helpful to see a version of this planning used for the new clusters of box houses currently being jammed into empty fields.

    Reply
    • 9. Administrator  |  July 4, 2011 at 8:00 am

      Hi Ian – thanks for your comments. The study is certainly a city iniative (Community Design Plans) that the Urban Strategies team is helping them to run.
      Ross

      Reply

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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.

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