Parks Planning (ii)

Chaudiere Park is a well-used large-ish pocket park on Elm Street, between Rochester and Preston. It’s about 140′ along the street, and about 100′ deep. The park is dominated by a very large, very deep wading pool that delivers a freeze-your-bones-it’s-so-cold experience to kiddies for six weeks every summer. There is a large sandbox on the east; a basketball court on the west. The general impression is a sea of pavement. and Chaudiere Park on Elm is a newish location for the former Chaudiere Park on LeBreton Flats, which was relocated to Elm after the “slum clearance” expropriation in the 1960’s. As such, it deserves a proper park … Continue reading Parks Planning (ii)

Waterparks in the City

Dufferin Park in Toronto is justifiably well known for its innovative features. The boy on the left (picture, above) is by the spigot that flows water into this large sand lot, complete with oversize logs that seem perfect to stimulate little imaginations while containing the mess and providing bum rests for parents. Can’t you just hear Ottawa park bureaucrats commenting on the “safety” of that big log bridge? (shown above) Actually, watching the baby crawl up out of the ditch was hilarious and inspiring. The Dufferin Park neighborhood and adjacent Trinity Bellwoods neighborhoods appear to me to be in the “Glebe” level of affluence. A number of … Continue reading Waterparks in the City

Finding Fault with DOTT

The City released its first report on the test bores along the route of the proposed LRT through the downtown of Ottawa (DOTT). There was a lot of confusing fuss over the Campus Station (is there too much rock or not enough? will the tunnel there be bored or cut-and-cover? why would a open-to-the-surface slope into the tunnel cost about the same as a tunnel itself?) and not enough answers. There was also some fuss about the existence of fault lines crossing the DOTT route. Unfortunately, no one seemed to have the time to call an expert or even a geology professor at … Continue reading Finding Fault with DOTT

Planning Exercise (ii)

There is a large parcel of land owned by the Feds. It runs from Somerset Street to Gladstone, on the east side of the OTrain corridor. At the Somerset end, it has the address 1010 Somerset Street; at the Gladstone end it is 943 Gladstone; in the middle it has an Oak Street address. Most of the site is covered with a giant brick and concrete warehouse dating from the Second World War era. Before that, it was open field, my father tells me he attended the Ringling Circus there when he was a boy in the ’30’s. The circus arrived … Continue reading Planning Exercise (ii)

Pruning thoughts

City maintenance crews have been busy in our west side neighborhood. This is the pruning done on the west side of Plouffe Park, behind the Plant recreation complex. I am always alarmed at the “shave it off at the ground level” style of pruning. It just seems an awful lot of green material to hack off and toss away. A similar pruning took place around the Plant Bath building itself, but not so close cut. Yesterday, the crews were gathering huge heaps of green branches into piles at Primrose Park. Continue reading Pruning thoughts

Somerset Streetscaping – can it get back on the road?

The first meeting of stakeholders got together on Tuesday evening to discuss the streetscaping project on Somerset Street. The 2010 portion is from Preston to West Wellie. The portion shown above is in the Preston BIA catchment area. The portion beyond the bridge is in Hintonburg (Kitchissipi ward) and the Hintonburg BIA. In 2011 the section from Preston to Booth will be done. That is the area behind the viewer in the above picture. It falls in the Chinatown BIA. Yup, in a territory walkable in barely five minutes, there are two wards, 3 BIAs, 2 community associations, and other stakeholders. A nice streetscaping project might be do-able … Continue reading Somerset Streetscaping – can it get back on the road?

Sk8ers UnStoned on grass …

Plouffe Park can be found behind the Plant Recreation Complex. Part of it runs along Preston street. Part of it used to run along Somerset street too, but the City found it convenient to convert the kiddie playground into a parking lot so motorists don’t have far to walk so far to the Complex to get their exercise …. Along the Preston side, pedestrians parambulating the Little Italy wide landscaped sidewalks are presented with numerous opportunities to rest their derrieres on benches. There are also several planter sections that double as benches along the sidewalk. Naturally, skateboarders will sometime discover these concrete edges … Continue reading Sk8ers UnStoned on grass …

West Siders can get involved to get the city they want …

The first meeting of the Bayview-Carling CDP group will be this week…while intended primarily for those who were in the prior process to reacquaint themselves and review the previously identified issues and recommendations, I would think anyone else keen to get involved should contact .  The study area is from Bayview along the Otrain track to Carling, and includes the undeveloped/underdeveloped/industrial lands along the route. 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. A public advisory group … Continue reading West Siders can get involved to get the city they want …

Gourmet Take Out

Whilst walking along Preston Street on a new sidewalk (and not climbing over gravel and around holes) I spotted this gourmand partaking of pigeon delight in Ploufe Park. The concrete in the foreground is the planter wall that separates the sidewalk from the playing field. So, the bird is about 12′ from me. I poked my camera through the chain link fence to become paparazzi to the eagle-eyed.  The bird stopped eating, eyed me suspiciously for several moments, before flying off with the carcas. A similar predator frequented my backyard last winter, importing pigeon delicacies to consume by the hibernating … Continue reading Gourmet Take Out

Paying for Water Etc.

Ken Gray over at The Bulldog blog cites the following from a Conference Board study:  “Water charges based on the value of property-or any other fixed measure that is not directly related to water consumption-cannot provide consumers with clear price signals,” said Len Coad, Director, Environment, Energy and Technology. “A cultural shift is required in how we manage our water system. Instead of relying on the tax base and allowing users to pay a below-cost price, those who use the service should pay the full cost of water, including capital expenditures.” I agree fully. The genius of our society is … Continue reading Paying for Water Etc.

Flooding Responsibility

I feel empathy for the residents flooded in recent heavy rains. I live in a neighborhood area that has suffered sewer backups/flooding in the past (although not this year that I know of…). I dread the thought of having to tear up my basement etc. But a common thread throughout the media reporting on the flood really bothers me. “The City should … the City must … it’s the city’s fault…” Why are we so quick to blame the City and want taxpayers to cover the cost of our personal losses? All over the City, in surburban or urban areas, … Continue reading Flooding Responsibility

Preston street Update

The old Bell Telephone switch building on Preston just south of Somerset (opposite Plouffe Park and the Plant Pool) has seen a variety of tennants come and go. I hope Darrell Thomas makes a long term stay. He first opened his button and cushion shop in the lower level of 240 Sparks St, back when that building had a commercial shopping floor on the lower level (the original third floor commercial level had largely closed out and been converted to offices several years before). I think the lower level mall is gone now, too. Just another step in the retail … Continue reading Preston street Update

Plouffe Park sodded

Last Wednesday, May 13 about 1/3 of the park was sodded. There was no further action until Tuesday, May 19 when the remainder of the park was sodded. Fences have been constructed to try to keep people and animals off the fields. Limited activities (not including soccer) will be permitted during the summer when the Plant Pool Rec.Assoc (PPRA) holds summer camps. The big green swatch in the middle of the ward is really welcome given all the construction and dirt elsewhere. This neighborhood has the least amount of City greenspace of any ward in the City of Ottawa. Continue reading Plouffe Park sodded