After a long struggle by residents and the neighborhood associations (the Dalhousie Community Association and the Hintonburg Community Association), and with much behind-the-scenes pushing by the concerned Councillors Holmes and Leadman, the Bayview-Carling Community Design Plan has been reactivated by the city.
The focus of the plan is Bayview Station to Carling Avenue, along the OTrain track, which is currently the subject of a development frenzy by condo and office developers who feel the time is right for the rebirth of this former industrial zone. No doubt some of the “time is right” feeling comes from the impending completion of the Preston Streetscaping project that puts Little Italy firmly into the trendy neighborhood category.
In the early 1960’s, the NCC paid to remove many of the railway lines in Ottawa, as “relics” of an industrial era unsuited to modern government cities. (My first government job was with the Cdn Transport Commission, a quasi-judicial and regulatory body, where I researched and wrote the first analysis of the relocation process and what it accomplished). Most of the rail lines, condemmed as barriers between neighborhoods, were replaced by roads, such as the Queensway, Colonel By Drive. Other roads, such as the Champagne Arterial which would have run from Fairy Lake Parkway over the River through Dalhousie, through the Carleton Campus, and join the Ottawa Airport Parkway by the Taxation Building, were not completed). In retrospect, the highways that replaced the railways are bigger barriers and problems today than the rails were before. Someday we may wish to convert them back to rail, especially Colonel By Drive and the Alexandra Bridge.
The CDP is another chance for the neighborhood to gets its wishes into the planning process. While a lot of the planning horses have left the barn, there are still some that can be harnessed. Most particularly, I will be pushing for Transit Oriented Development that has some teeth, additional pedestrian crossings of the tracks at Hickory and elsewhere, a real north-south bike route from the river to Dow’s Lake, a larger park at Beech.etc.
The first meeting, primarily aimed at getting participants in the original study back into the process, will be the initial Public Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, December 10th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at Room 4102E/4103E, City Hall. The rooms are located on the fourth floor at City Hall.