Blog Administrator

Ross Burnett

E-mail: rburnett (at) urbanstrategies (dot) com

City Project Manager

Robert Spicer, Planner III
Community Planning and Urban Design Division
Planning and Growth Management Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th floor
Ottawa ON K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 13858
E-mail: midcentretown (at) ottawa (dot) ca

Administrateur de blogue

Ross Burnett

Courriel : rburnett (at) urbanstrategies (dot) com

Gestionnaire de projet de la Ville

Robert Spicer, urbaniste III
Division de la planification communautaire et du design urbain
Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance
Ville d’Ottawa
110, avenue Laurier Ouest, 4e étage
Ottawa (Ontario) K1P 1J1
Tél. : 613-580-2424, poste 13858
Courriel : midcentretown (at) ottawa (dot) ca

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  February 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Is the process still in progress? Is the blog still operative?
    there has been no news,updates or comments for ages.

    • 2. Administrator  |  February 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Hi Dan – yes, the project blog is still active although it has been pretty quiet since the new year! Over the past 2 months, we have been collecting feedback on the options that were presented at the end of November (and have been posted on this blog for download, review and comment). At the moment, we are not issuing new tasks on the blog – at this stage of the project, the blog is most helpful for sharing information and allowing people to feed back any concerns from interested folks.

      • 3. Dan  |  February 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

        Is there a reply to my earlier question? ie: In your assessment, based on your own analysis and the public input to date,- are there 2-3 issues which have been highlighted as being the primary focus of concern.Thanks, Dan

      • 4. Administrator  |  February 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

        Hi Dan – based on our own work as well as what we have heard time and time again from community members, the main issues that we are dealing with can be summarised as follows (I hope that I catch most of them…):

        – an appreciation that people want to live in Centretown and that development pressure will continue into the future, but a lack of understanding of how the community can actually benefit from this investment (to secure some community gains). We are currently working with the local Councillor as well as City Staff to help them bring Section 37 to Centretown.

        – a lack of open space and park land to serve the neighbourhood

        – the network of arterial roads that run through the heart of the community and create challenging physical, environmental and safety issues

        – the conflicting stories that the policy and regulatory documents tell about the future of Centretown – these need to be updated and simplified (and contradictions between plans removed), so everyone has a clear understanding of the rules and regulations for building in Centretown.

        – heritage – not everything merits protection at all costs. In contrast, certain areas should be protected even more strongly. Heritage requires a finer grained, more targeted solution than the blanket HCD that uniformaly covers 40-odd city blocks.

        – beauty – the quality of architecture (new and existing) and public realm can improved.

        Most of these were discussed at our previous public meetings – have you been able to join us at any? It would be nice to put a name to a face next time.
        All the best

  • 5. Dan  |  December 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Has the planning team arrived at a consensus or determination on the two primary “issues” as they relate to the plan for Mid Centretown Community Design Plan?

  • 6. Dan  |  December 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    It has been two weeks since the request from Chris for electronic copeis of the Plan for Centertwon and the document on the Centretwon Heritage Conservation District. Do you have an update?

    • 7. Administrator  |  December 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Dan – As i promised Chris, we have been in touch with the City about this and they have told us that the study is available to the public. I believe that they said that they were also going to follow up directly with Chris – have you heard from Chris that no one has been in touch or are you just policing the timelines? I can chase this up again when we are back from the holidays. This will be after Jan 4th when the office is open again.
      Have a good holiday break and speak again in the new year

  • 8. Chris  |  December 4, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I was wondering if the Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan for Centretown will be made available electronically so that residents can be better informed of previous studies of the neighbourhood. At present, anyone wishing to access the study has to go to the city archives and buy the study on CD for $10.

    • 9. Administrator  |  December 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Hi Chris – we have a black and white scanned copy from the City. I will see with the client if we can scan our scanned copy and post on the blog.

  • 10. Daniel  |  September 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    After a hiatus, I again logged onto the site to see the recent developments related to this study. Am I not accessing the site correctly as there does not appear to be anything added to the blog in close to two months?

    • 11. midcentretown  |  September 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Dan – good timing! You are right about the quietness of the blog over the past 6 weeks – things have been pretty quiet over the summer. That said, we have been doing a lot of work as a team off-line – mainly USI, ERA (heritage) and Delcan (transportation and servicing/utilities) – and have been collectively working to prepare a framework plan(s) that respond to the issues identified by the community. In fact, we just met yesterday with the project’s steering committee (Community Liaison Group) for a big session to work through materials and collect feedback. We have also been completing some additional analysis around Community Facilities (establishing a baseline and future demand potential) and the OMB (trying to identify a pattern of decisions for Centretown).

      We didn’t make it through everything with the Steering Committee yet, but as we work through materials we will be posting them to the blog to collect wider feedback and hear concerns and ideas from others.

      Look for us to start posting materials by middle of next week. If you subscribe to the RSS feed, you will be notified automatically.

      Hope you had a good summer.

  • 12. Dan  |  July 29, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I have a general general question.
    In the comment section there is a headline that identifies there are 6 comments. Is this the sum total of all comments recieved on the blog, or is it the number of comments exchanged with a particular user?

    • 13. midcentretown  |  July 29, 2010 at 7:05 am

      Hi Dan – 6 comments are the number of comments received under the “Contact” tab of the blog. If you have a look at the other tabs (such as “Home” or “About”, you will see all the other comments. To date, it is about 50 comments.

  • 14. Dan  |  July 28, 2010 at 8:49 am

    In answer to one of your comments as to the specifics of the web access problem I have experienced.. From the main page, Does Mid Cenretown Exist, there is a section “stay in the loop. As part of that, there are two links, 1. follow posts and 2, follow conversaions.
    Whenever I – or othErs, click on the links, the response is WEBPAGE CANNOT BE DISPLAYED.

    • 15. midcentretown  |  July 28, 2010 at 8:52 am

      Thanks Dan – I will have that looked into. Ross

  • 16. Dan  |  July 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I am responding to your last comments with an element of resignation. No doubt my response will appear as argumentative, and so be it.I have a fundamental issue with a planning exercise that is legitimized on the basis that it is following the process. I have serious reservations as to whether it is representative of the views and the attitudes of the residents and taxpayers in the area.
    to wit: the intitial meeting was held with between 60 and 80 persons in attendance. I am told that of this number, fully 20 were representatives of the planning program. In other words, paid staffers or consultants.
    The additional 40 plus or minus in attendance were those who, in large measure, had been specifically invited to attend as representativre of particular groups or organizations.
    At what point does someone in the process stand back and asses how effective the communication process has been in terms of effectively engaging the public in the planning process?
    My experience has been that CH (city hall) response is that you are following the established process. Well, guess what? It does not seem to be working very well when less than one one hundreth of the public is involved.
    Please don’t respond to this comment with the establishd departmental reply.
    What I would like to see is the response provide the public with the approved comunications strategy for this process, including a budget estimate and the performance indicatiors against which the consultaiton process will be evaluated.
    In tha absesne of a more inclusive participatory consultation process, the visioning exercise of which you speak is in fact being dictated by the 20 to 40 participants in an exercise that took place well before the issues had been identified.
    With respect, I would like to submit that the visioning exercise for the area of centretown that is being addressed is skewed.
    I return to my original position. The planning to date – and this can be identified as the visioning exercise for the area west of the Kent Street boundary is that the area is residential. You argue that the boundary being placed in my backyard. with the Kent Street frontage being totally different than that on my adjacent property, with no more than a thin line on a map as a divide is as appropriate as as 40 foor roadway.
    The support for this position is based on the public response to a line drawn on a map that was presented at a public meeting attended by 20 people. My question to you is not how many of those who attended your meeting concurred with this proposal, but rather, how many of the residents and property owners who live in the area west of the Kent Street boundary are even aware of this proposed change?

    As one individual I do not have the resources to take this issue to the public and to mount an opposition campaign to the expansion of what amounts to an expansion of the commercial core of the Centretown area. To me, this is as legitimate a question to be answered as the more esoteric question “what is centretown”.
    Thus the question of “what is Centretown” may be intellectually stimulating. However, my response is that we have a boundary for Centertown. many residents of the communtiy have an understanding as to limits limitis. Now, the question is what are the issues faced by th e residents and businesses who live and derive their livlihood from within the boundary. In reaching a consesus on the issues, the approaches to the solutions will have a focus.
    It may be of significant interest to the planning community to address the issue of where the Italian Community of Little Italy begins and ends versus the boundary of the Asian community in Little Saigon, But the real questions can be ignored, minimized or even overlooked if the public’s interest is directed the question of whether the character of the neighbourhood is affected more by the nomenclature.
    tes of the community. The fact is the character of the area bounded by Kent Street to the east and Bronson Street to the west has been regregarded as residential in planning studies after planning study. If you are proposing to alter the boundary I would suggest that there should be a more substantial effort made to inform the public about the change and the rational for the change, as well as a description of the potential inmpacts.
    In other words, a bit more inclusiveness , honesty and transparency would seem to be in order.

    • 17. midcentretown  |  July 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

      Hi Dan – I think that we may need to agree to disagree on some of these points, but hopefully you will see where we are coming from. In fact, I wanted to respond publically so others can see where we are coming from.

      First, I am not sure where you got your numbers from, but they certainly do not reflect our understanding of recorded participants (either in total number of in break down of who was represented) and I can assure you that this plan is not being dictated by 20 residents.

      That said, with regard to the planning process, we feel that this has been an exceptionally transparent process that has been as open and inclusive as possible. I am sorry that you feel otherwise. There are not many other projects I know in the City of Ottawa that are using the tools that this project is using for communication and participation. We are using broad variety of tools to obtain and share information, such as: this project blog; City’s project web site; focused interest group meetings – with residents, service providers; developers, the CCCA, etc.; meetings with City staff and other relevant organizations; a series of 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; Comments to the Consultant Team directly. If you think this is not inclusive enough, please provide additional recommendations. You will need to contact the City (Bob Spicer) to ask how the consultation process gets evaluated.

      With regard to the mapping, the map presented is conceptual and is not a final product – it is meant as a discussion tool to relay a concept. The idea it is meant to capture is that mid-centretown is not a box and that its boundaries are more organic than a straight line. Where the specific boundary might be located is still being considered. We hear your concern with your property and this will be taken into account for the next round that will also be shared publically for discussion.

      To clarify, we are asking where Mid Centretown is and if it exists as a definable place. We are not asking, as you wrote, “What is Centretown”. As the name of the study indicates, this is not a Centretown Study. It is a Mid-centretown study. But as I mentioned before, before we can work with stakeholders to identify the specific issues that affect the area we need an agreement as to where the area is. This excercise is catagorically not about an expansion of the Central Area into Centretown. I am not sure where that idea came from, but i assure that is not is our study remit.

      We hear your views on keeping west of Kent as residential and I feel that we for the most part share those same views (with the exception of the southern edge by the 417 and the extreme northern edge).

      I am happy to discuss this further with you to reassure that we are not proposing an encroachment of the Central Area into Centretown or that areas west of Kent become commercialized. All of the analysis that has been publically presented and is available for you to review yourself shows clearly that this is our view at this time. I suggest that we take further comment off-line so we can include the City directly with our conversations. Your process issues are City issues that cannot be addressed in this forum.


  • 18. Dan  |  July 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Several points:
    1. I have a problem in accessing the blog and the commentary for this site. It does not work! I understand the problem has been bought to your attention and yet the problem persists. What has been done to remedy the situation and – in view of the inadequacy of the site, how significant is the reliance that will be given to the “input” recieved from the commentary / blog?
    2. I wrote some time ago to voice my concern with the boundary issue on Kent Street. My concern is with the inlcusion of the west half of the streetscape into the study area, essentially classifying it as the same as the eastern half – which is more defined as commercial.
    I recieved a response on line, and to this point I have not been able re-access the comment.

    I continue to have concerns, on two levels.
    First, the logic that was provided would apply to numerous other situations in the city. On Bonson Avenue, for example, it would stand to reason that both sides of Bronson from Carling to the Rideau River, should be of a similar development scale and uses as Bronson between Carling and Sommerset. The same would apply to Laurier Avenue East – proceeding from King Edward to Charlotte Street.
    What is missing is some vision for the area and to my understanding and appreciation, the Official planning direction for the city has established that the primary funciton of the Centretwon area between Kent and Percy/Bronson is that of residential.
    My scond concern relates to this planning process. It seems to me that those involved have presented some plannig solutions, such as boundaries, and it is now up to the public to respond, whether in support or opposition. The planners then defend their position and call the entire exercise one of consultation. It is not! This is more of an educational forum, whereby the advocates of a particualr position proceed to influence or educate the public about the opinions that have been incorporated into the thinking of the planners.
    I would suggest that the first thing that has to be done is to identify the issues. Obviously the plan is intended to address issues. So the logical question, what are the issues. Then comes the options to deal with the issues. People can (hopefully) focus on issues and the sentiment of the public can be summarized, assessed , evaluated and coordinated into a meaningful framework.
    As it stands now, it seems the focus is on the submission of individual and unrealted thoughts and opinions. At the end of the day, in a planning sumary, the comments are presented in point form, covering the entire range of views on every subject matter, whether related or not. It is as though, at that point, any indiviudal who expressed an opinion can be directed to the summary section where, in black and white,the comment has been re-produced, with a statement along the lines of “we considered it, but it was not deemed appropriate / compatible, realistic or in line with the general thrust of the committee.
    With respect, I did not hear about the public meeting until after it had taken place.
    The opportunity to provide input seems ot have come down to submitting ad hoc comments ino a blog that seems to have major deficiencies and then to trust that the planners will some how objectively assess all input and submit it to council with the balnket satememtnb that consultations were carried out in a manner consistent with council policy and direction.

    • 19. midcentretown  |  July 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Hi Dan –
      Thanks for your comments – I will try to address each in order:

      1. Could you be a little clearer in what your issue is accessing the site? What specifically is the problem that you are refering too?

      2. Your comment was responded to with an answer and further thoughts on why Kent was included. Your question and response is still on line in the section that you left it.

      3. The Vision for this part of Centretown is emerging and it is much richer than solely a residential area. We had a lot of discussion on the vision for the area at the first workshop, which I understand you were not at. You can also contribute your thoughts on the future opportunity for the area on this blog. The question has already been asked. We welcome any insights and ideas you might have.

      4. The boundary discussion is not a planning ‘solution’ – it is one of the first steps that has to be agreed for issues that affect the area within the agreed boundary. Again, we discussed issues at the first workshop and have posted the materials on this web site as well, asking for any additional feedback.

      As you rightfully pointed out, we need to undertstand the issues before we can work to solve them. As such, we are still working to collect the issues from a wide range of stakeholders. We will then distill these down to key priorities and prepare preliminary responses for each. These will be presented back and asked for feedback and additional ideas. A formal event is planned for the Fall when we will present this to the community and work through the options with the larger interest group.

      6. Events were flyered in the neighbourhood, advertised in the local paper, advertised on this blog, advertised through the CCCA and advertised on teh City’s web site.

      I hope that answers some of your concerns and doesnt put you off from participating further. Please let us know how we can make the blog more effective. You are right with your thinking on issues and frameworks – you are just moving faster than the process is. We will catch up with you and look forward to hearing your ideas for how to make Centretown an even better community for the future.


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