About-À propos

Welcome to Mid-Centretown Tomorrow, the project blog for the Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan!  We hope that this forum will help us hear opinions from the diverse range of interests that comprise the Centretown communities.

The Mid-Centretown Tomorrow  blog will be moderated by me – Ross Burnett.  I was born and raised in Ottawa, but now live in Toronto (after many years living and working in the U.K. and Europe). I am a Planner and Associate at Urban Strategies (CV), the planning and design firm engaged by the City to conduct the study.  Over the course of my career, a strong focus of my work has been on large-scale planning and revitalization initiatives – such as visioning and community design plans.  An important part of my work is helping communities benefit from public and private-sector investment being made within their established neighbourhoods.

About the Team

The City of Ottawa has commissioned this important community project that will result in an updated Secondary Plan for Centretown, specific to the Mid-Centretown zone between Kent Street and Elgin Street (Study Area Map – 340 KB PDF).

The team of consultants appointed to this project bring offer a variety of skills and expertise, including urban planners, urban designers, engineers, heritage preservation and restoration, architects and landscape architects. The team is led by Urban Strategies Inc. who will provide planning and urban design advice.  Delcan Corporation will undertake the transportation and servicing components of the study. Hariri Pontarini Architects offers expertise in architecture and design, particularly for mid-rise urban in-fill. The team is rounded out by ERA Architects who offer advice on heritage retention and adaptive re-use of building.

About the Project

This project is not just about intensification.

This project is about creating a comprehensive Growth Plan for the Mid-Centretown portion of Centretown.  As a blue print for the future, the Growth Plan must consider much more than just where new buildings should be located and what they should look like.  It must also explore how Centretown can become the best possible place to live and work by exploring such issues as:

  • What community amenities are needed for Centretown to continue to act as a desirable residential destination?
  • What is the quality of existing open spaces and where are new parks needed?
  • What the condition of existing community facilities & services and what new facilities  or services might be required?
  • What parts of the neighbourhood need to be protected?
  • How are the streets used and how they can be made better for all types of users?
  • How can different types of households be attracted to the area?
  • Where should cycling and pedestrian priority areas be located?
  • What types of shops and restaurants best service the community and what is missing?
  • How can genuine heritage assets be better protected?
  • Is more employment needed in the neighbourhood? If so, where and what type?

The outcome of our study will be what the City of Ottawa calls the Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan.  Community Design Plans (CDPs) are implemented in neighbourhoods facing significant change and growth pressures. They are used to help shape their evolution by directing future growth and providing guidance on what development should look like and where it is most appropriate.

Our goal is to protect and retain what is working in the existing Centretown Secondary Plan, while focusing our efforts on repairing and strengthening those parts of the Secondary Plan that are no longer working as well as they once did.  The process will result in an up-to-date and contemporary plan that is able to respond to current planning and community issues facing Mid-Centretown.

You can download a detailed summary of the Work Plan here (PDF – 87 KB).

About the Study Process

Click to see a larger version

The Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan is scheduled to be completed over a 12 month period, split over 4 phases.  Phase 1 was initiated in May 2010, with the final Community Design Plan expected to be completed in spring 2011.  Over the next 12 months there are several opportunities for you to be actively involved in the project and share your views, including 5 scheduled Public Consultation Group meetings, 5 days of stakeholder interviews and focus group sessions and 2  large scale Community Workshops and 2 public Open Houses.

Stay Informed and Share Your Ideas

A key objective of this process is to build consensus from land owners, the business community, residents and politicians around an updated twenty-year vision for Mid-Centretown.  This blog will help us to do that by sharing project information, presenting feedback from other stakeholders and provide a forum for discussion on the future of Mid-Centretown.

Our discussion will play an important role in creating inspired solutions to some of Mid-Centretown’s challenges as well as helping the project team fully understand the opportunities for the future of your neighbourhood.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you wish to be kept up to date on the progression of Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan.  We ask that you please review and agree to the Code of Conduct (below) prior to posting any comments on the project blog.

Thank you for taking an interest in the future of one of Ottawa`s best neighbourhoods and look forward to hearing your thoughts, concerns and any innovative ideas for change.

À propos

Bienvenue sur le blogue Mi-centre-ville de demain, un projet lié à la réalisation du plan de conception communautaire du secteur médian du centre-ville. Nous espérons que ce forum nous permettra de prendre connaissance de l’opinion des diverses parties intéressées constituant les communautés du centre-ville.

C’est moi, Ross Burnett, qui serai le modérateur du blogue Mi-centre-ville de demain. Je suis né et j’ai grandi à Ottawa, mais j’habite à présent à Toronto (après avoir vécu et travaillé de nombreuses années en Grande-Bretagne et ailleurs en Europe). Je suis urbaniste et collaborateur chez Urban Strategies (CV), la firme d’urbanisme et de conception dont les services ont été retenus par la Ville pour réaliser le plan. Au cours de ma carrière, mon travail a été largement focalisé sur les projets de planification et de revitalisation de grande envergure – comme des plans de vision ou de conception communautaire. Une large part de mon travail consiste à aider les collectivités à profiter des investissements des secteurs public et privé faits dans leur quartier.

À propos de l’équipe

La Ville d’Ottawa a commandé cet important projet communautaire, qui donnera naissance à un plan secondaire actualisé pour le centre-ville, spécifique au secteur médian du centre-ville situé entre les rues Kent et Elgin (carte du secteur d’étude – 340 KB PDF).

L’équipe de consultants formée pour ce projet est constituée de membres aux compétences et à l’expertise variées : urbanistes, concepteurs d’urbanisme, ingénieurs, spécialistes de la conservation du patrimoine et de la restauration, architectes et architectes-paysagistes. L’équipe est chapeautée par Urban Strategies Inc., qui proposera ses conseils en matière de planification et d’urbanisme. Delcan Corporation se chargera des volets transport et viabilisation de l’étude. La firme Hariri Pontarini Architects offrira pour sa part son expertise en architecture et en conception, en particulier pour ce qui concerne l’aménagement intercalaire urbain de profil moyen. L’équipe est complétée par ERA Architects, qui proposera ses conseils en matière de conservation du patrimoine et de réutilisation intégrée des bâtiments.

À propos du projet

Ce projet n’a pas pour seul but la densification. Il est destiné à la création d’un plan de croissance détaillé pour le secteur médian du centre-ville. Ce plan de croissance, véritable pierre d’assise pour l’avenir, ne doit pas se limiter à proposer l’emplacement et l’aspect des nouveaux bâtiments. Il doit déterminer comment le centre-ville peut devenir le meilleur endroit possible où habiter et, à cet effet, doit aborder les sujets suivants :

  • Quelles commodités communautaires sont nécessaires au centre-ville pour que ce secteur continue d’être une destination résidentielle intéressante?
  • Quelle est la qualité des espaces ouverts actuels et où faut-il créer de nouveaux parcs?
  • Quel est l’état des installations et des services communautaires actuels, et quels nouveaux équipements ou services pourraient s’avérer nécessaires?
  • Quelles parties du quartier doivent être protégées?
  • Comment les rues sont-elles utilisées et comment peuvent-elles mieux aménagées pour tous les types d’usagers?
  • Comment peut-on attirer différents types de ménages dans le secteur?
  • Où les zones prioritaires pour les cyclistes et les piétons doivent-elles être situées?
  • Quels types de boutiques et de restaurants sont les mieux adaptés à ce secteur et que manque-t-il?
  • Comment les biens authentiquement patrimoniaux peuvent-ils être protégés au mieux?
  • A-t-on besoin de plus d’emplois dans le quartier? Si oui, où et de quel type?

Les résultats de notre étude donneront lieu à ce que la Ville d’Ottawa appelle le Plan de conception communautaire pour le secteur médian du centre-ville. Les plans de conception communautaire (PCC) sont mis en œuvre dans les quartiers confrontés à des changements importants et à des pressions liées à la croissance. Ils servent à encadrer leur évolution en orientant la croissance et en donnant des directives quant à l’aspect et à l’emplacement des aménagements.

Nous avons pour objectif de protéger et de conserver ce qui fonctionne bien dans le plan secondaire actuel du centre-ville, tout en concentrant nos efforts sur la révision et le renforcement des parties du plan secondaire qui ne sont plus aussi efficaces qu’auparavant. Notre travail devrait donner lieu à un plan actualisé et contemporain, adapté aux problèmes de planification et communautaires auxquels le secteur médian du centre-ville est actuellement confronté.

À propos du processus de réalisation de l’étude

Le plan de conception communautaire du secteur médian du centre-ville sera réalisé sur une période de 12 mois, divisée en quatre phases. La première phase a été entamée en mai 2010 et la version définitive du plan de conception communautaire devrait être achevée au printemps 2011. Au cours des 12 prochains mois, vous aurez plusieurs occasions de prendre une part active dans ce projet et de faire connaitre votre opinion. En effet, cinq réunions du Groupe de consultation public et cinq autres journées d’entretiens avec les intervenants et de séances avec les groupes de travail sont au programme, sans oublier deux ateliers communautaires à grande échelle et deux réunions portes ouvertes.

Restez informés et partagez vos idées

L’un des principaux objectifs de ce processus consiste à obtenir le consensus des propriétaires, des représentants du secteur des affaires, des résidents et des politiciens sur une vision actualisée sur vingt ans pour le secteur médian du centre-ville. Ce blogue y contribue en nous permettant de partager de l’information sur le projet, en présentant les commentaires des autres parties intéressées et en offrant un forum de discussion sur l’avenir du secteur médian du centre-ville.

Nos discussions joueront un rôle important dans la création de solutions inspirées à certains des défis observés dans le secteur médian du centre-ville, et aideront l’équipe du projet à connaître parfaitement les perspectives d’avenir de votre quartier. Vous pouvez vous inscrire à notre flux RSS si vous souhaitez être tenu informé des derniers développements concernant le plan de conception communautaire pour le secteur médian du centre-ville. Nous vous demandons par ailleurs de lire et d’accepter le code de conduite (ci-dessous) avant de publier vos commentaires sur le blogue du projet.

Nous vous remercions de manifester votre intérêt envers l’avenir de l’un des quartiers les plus intéressants d’Ottawa et sommes impatients de prendre connaissance de votre opinion, de vos préoccupations et de vos idées de changement novatrices.

5 Comments Add your own

  • […] About-À propos […]

    Reply
  • 2. Dan  |  August 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I suspect we have a fundamentally different orientation and interest in assessing the particular application and development on Kent Street – one that fulfilled all your negative criticism for ad-hoc and incremental planning processes that were in your power point presentation of the study’s background.
    Regardless of the altruisitc and poilitcial corectness of your response to my positng. the fact is the study was announced in early April and the referral of the re-zoning to committee and Council occured subsequently.
    I am operating on the assumption that the planner for this file was aware of the planning study and its terms of reference, If there is in-house communications in the planning department, I suspect this study was talked about and “in the works” long before the public announcement of its existence.
    In a transparent and open planning consultation process, an objective assessment would presume that this factor should have been put forward for the public’s information. I would go so far as to sugest that the presentation to Council, with the planner actively supporting the application for a re-zoning, without so much as a mention of the study to the elected Council is, at a minimum, a indication of poor judgement. On the dark side, it could be viewed as either arrogance or incometence.
    My point is that this is one example of the insular, arrogant attitude and behaviour of planning officials.So here is another study from the same group of staff at Ottawa City Hall. Three months ago you hosted a public meeting and since that time you have supported a blog and I am not sure what else.
    As a resident of Centretown, and one who will potentially be affected in a serious manner by the implementation of changes to the planning regime in my neighbourhood, I am concerned with the outcome of the planning process.
    I am not ale to devote full time involvement with this study, as I have a multitude of other obligations, including full time work to make a living. So where does that leave me.

    I cannot see any evidence that the planning team has undertaken a regular update on the progress of the planning project. It is my understanding that there was a defined consultation process. So my questions:

    Where is the opportunty to participate?
    What are the issues that the planning group is looking into?
    What options are being considered?
    What have you been doing for the past four months?
    Where is a progress report on your deliberations?

    If you really want public input, is it your view that this blog, where I appear to be a primary contributor, is suffucient?
    Will the meeting with the business associations be open to the public and will there be advance notification of the date and place and issues to be discussed? Will the same apply to the meetings with the community associations?
    Are there any initiatives that have been initiated to reach out to the residents of the community?
    You have already identified that the majority of residnets in the Centretown area are not comprised of the same homogeneous mixture as is found in the country estates and suburbs. So what have you done to reach this totally different market? What are your objectives in terms of capturing the attention of the public on this important study? Are you content to follow the process of public consultation that has been the landmark of the planning department since its pre-amalgamation era. Ads in two newpapers and buried in the city’s web site?
    I suspect my frustration with this process and the past planning exercises is totally evident.
    so I will close whith one thought and question.
    Apart from the initial public meeting in which .004% of the adult population of Centertown attended, what has been done to measure the public reaction to the planning proram for Centertown? and to date – do you believe the efforts to reach out to the residents have been successful? If affirmative, on what is this conclusion based?……Yes, I know the study is not complete and there are many opportunities for future consultations. For the moment, I would be content to have an assessment of the progress for the past four months.

    Reply
    • 3. midcentretown  |  August 16, 2010 at 8:41 am

      Hi Dan,

      Your views regarding how the City’s Planning and Growth Management Department operates are noted.

      As you know, we had a community open house on June 8th, a bit more than two months ago. We have been working since then on various components of the plan such as: conducting a community amenity audit; conducting a transportation, servicing and infrastructure review and strategy; reviewing the existing design guidelines applicable to Centretown; defining the urban design framework and strategy, and; further developing the 3D-computer model for the area. This information is still under development and our preliminary options/approaches will be presented to the Public Consultation Group (PCG) in mid-September. The PCG is composed of many individuals representing many different interests in the study area including the BIAs, CCCA, residents, developers, etc. Because of room capacity, the meetings are not open to the public, although we will put the minutes of the PCG on the Blog.

      As you are well aware, Mid-Centretown is quite diverse and complex and the team needs time to properly assess issues and come up with well thought out solutions. To find out what we are exactly doing, you can download the detailed summary of the Work Plan (including the issues we are looking at) and the project timeline under the “About” tab. The study is expected to be completed in May, 2011 with many opportunities for input between now and the completion date. Information presented at any public events, including PCG meetings, will be posted on our blog for review and comments by anyone.

      In terms of opportunities for input, the Blog is an important, but not the primary and only, means of communication for the study. We recognize that Blogs, as any other modes of public consultation and communication, have limitations. That is why we use a variety of tools to obtain and share information, such as:

      • Focused interest group meetings – with residents, developers, the CCCA, etc.;
      • Meetings with City staff and other relevant organizations;
      • Public meetings that are widely advertised with ads in newspapers and flyers delivered to households.
      • Comment sheets at the public meetings;
      • A group e-mail list to advise interested parties of upcoming events in the study;
      • Notices on the project webpage on Ottawa.ca;
      • Comments to the Consultant Team directly.
      Communication with your Ward Councillor, Diane Holmes is another means of expressing your views on the study.

      The next public open house will be held in early-mid November. As well, an additional public meeting, not indicated in the work plan, will be added in the new year. Bob Spicer has added your name to the group e-mail list and will keep you directly updated.

      Kind regards,

      Eric

      Reply
  • 4. Dan  |  August 10, 2010 at 8:06 am

    The comment section of the site does not contain an ongoing discussion of issues, so I am wondering whether there are additional forums for comment or input into this planning exercise?
    In the meantime, I do have a question and a couple of comments.
    From the slides on the web site there is mention of the complex zoning framework for the Centretown area, I believe there are 140 zoning areas, with 110 exceptions – noted in the references.
    The slides also mention that Kent and O’Coonor Streets have “limited opportunites for improving their condition”.
    On another slide there is an identification of the areas within the Centretown boundary that are in the process of change – including re-developement.
    There is one site that that exemplifies the challenge of the planning process in this regard and I would be interested in the response form the planning team.
    The site is the housing project located on the corner of Kent and Florence. It has been grand-fathered as legal non-conforming – as it is an 8 stroey building in a district that allows for a maximum of 2 stories. It was recently approved by council for a zoning change, to permit commercial uses on the first leve without, as well, having to provide required parking.
    The relevance of this site pertains to the fact that (1) the building was legal non-confiming,but with the zoning change becomes another “exception”, and so becomes another example of the ad hoc Centertown changes, noted on slide 41; (2) The zoning for the area is residential, thus the comment on slide 35, noting the intent of the planning exercise is to maintain the residential character of Mid Centretown would seem to apply. and (3) the approval of a new zoning for the property on an ad hoc manner will now allow for commercial uses to occupy the ground floor, with a changed orientation of the entrance from Florence street to Kent Street.
    Using this as an illustration of the issues facing Centertown, what options would the team consider relevant to address the challenges of similar applications? Or indeed, what comments would you offer with regard to the application as it was presented to the City and the City’s processing of the application?

    Taking advantage of this opportunity, I am going to add a few lines of background as a form of editorial comment:
    – the re-zoning process for the property on Florence Street was initiated and the public consultation process (sic) undertaken without a mention of the planning study for Mid Centretown.

    On a general level, would the planning team consider the processing of the Florence Street application, or similar applications having like implications, as being appropriate during the planning study, or would it seem reasonable to defer consideration until completion of the planning study?

    Daniel

    Reply
    • 5. midcentretown  |  August 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Dan,
      My name is Eric Turcotte and I will be filling in for Ross while he is away on vacation. I am a Senior associate at Urban Strategies and I am part of the study team.
      With regard to your first query, we will indeed be creating new topics for discussion as the study continues to evolve (active transportation, infrastructure, build form, land use etc…). We will post these topics at various intervals throughout the study with new ones beginning around mid-September.
      Your second point raises the issue about how to deal with ongoing planning applications, within Mid-Centretown, during the study process. As you already know, this study is about creating a comprehensive Community Design Plan (CDP) for the mid-portion of Centretown. Part of our task is to refresh and update the current Centretown Secondary Plan (slide 35 refers to current objectives of this plan) based on the recommendations of this CDP study.
      Although there are Planning Act provisions for Interim Control By-laws, It is generally not the practice of the City of Ottawa to freeze development over an entire area during the course of a CDP study. City Council may choose to defer zoning by-law applications, subject to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and may choose to do so on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of a specific application. Applications are approved during the course of a CDP study that are seen by City Council to be in keeping with the existing Official Plan and Zonign By-law policies for an area.
      The application you refer to was submitted prior to the initiation of the Mid-Centretown CDP and approved soon after it was initiated. Because of this timing, the staff report doesn’t make reference to it. I have included the link to this report below.
      http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2010/05-11/2%20-%20ACS2010-ICS-PGM-0084%20-%20Zoning-%2080%20Florence.htm
      Moving forward, any new development applications within the Mid-Centretown study area are forwarded by the City’ s Development Review Branch to the planner responsible for the study, Bob Spicer, for review and comments with specific regard to the study’s objectives/findings. The applications are shared with the consultant team for review and to inform the study – which is extremely useful to us. Again, City Council can choose to defer, reject or approve the application.

      Reply

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