More Life on LeBreton Flats

The second phase of the Claridge project on the Flats is now being occupied by residents. Note just in front of the moving van, the ground floor patio has furniture on it and blanket-drapes.

I was interested to note that the low-rise building has balcony railings that are glass above a metal panel, which hides some of the balcony clutter and reduces nosey people (like me) looking in. The balconies on the first phase on the opposite side of the courtyard are all glass. I prefer the Beaver Barracks solution shown a few posts back, where the top half of the glass is transparent and the bottom half frosted.

The LeBreton “community” comes to life in other ways too:

Baby blocks in a window indicates that some move-ins have been active. I take this a good sign that people may view apartment living on the Flats as a family-friendly environment.

The outdoor recreational space around these buildings is all-adult: courtyards with benches, walkways, stairs, bike path along the ravine. One balcony has a kayak on it, and the kayak course is just a few feet away. There is no play structure, and I suspect a condo board would be loath to provide one, and not just for the cost (north of $20,000) but for the fear of being sued when little Chloë takes a tumble.

Indeed, there is no play structure planned for any of the Flats … the only city park space with be the path along the aqueduct, and maybe thirty years from now a park down at the aqueduct inlet area.  Anyone for walking the tyke all the way up to Primrose park to watch the doggies that dominate that park?

I say this because I wonder what planning goes in to place for a new community like this regarding children. Personally, I think playstructures are appallingly expensive and not much fun because the bureaucrats take any risk out of them. Most of the activity I see at playstructures uses them for shade whilst digging in the sand. And even the sand is getting harder for tykes to find, as evidenced by this new style play structure base that is rubber membrane.

tot lot at Ecole St Francoise on rue Melrose. Play space à la mini golf.

I always knew when my kids played outdoors, as their sox had half the sand box in them. And of all the kid-friendly things I did as doting parent for the little bug  cuties, the sand box was always the number one hit (or fling, or throw, or hide, or carry away, or pee in).

I actually think that improved sidewalks like on Preston – wide, with benches, trees, shrubs … are great playgrounds. They could be improved by adding some short retaining walls or odd boulders to climb on en route to school or the store or wherever dad was going. So maybe the condo land on the Flats has the right idea: let them make up their own adventures on the urban environment and don’t provide a worry-wart bureaucrat’s idea of what a play structure should be. Let it be unstructured.

The City is their playground.

8 thoughts on “More Life on LeBreton Flats

  1. The riverbank can be their playground too. Just stay out of the water, and don’t antagonize the geese.

  2. Is this a second building? It seems like it is taking a very long time to build out the flats. Is Claridge the only builder? What about other sections of the flats?

  3. To answer dfg:

    Seriously, what was the NCC thinking giving development rights to a huge parcel of land, all at one time, to one developer?

  4. NCC + Lebreton Flats = Epic fail! They should have sectioned the area off to different developers, who would then try to outdo each other. Instead, we see this. Claridge needs to turn its attention back to this project, get moving, and greatly increase the design quality of its future phases. No 1970’s schoolhouse yellow brick!

  5. The issue of why the NCC gave the whole first phase to one developer is opaque. We can speculate several logical reasons. One, they are bureaucrats who honestly didn’t realize a monopoly on developing blocks of houses would cause the developer to holdout for the highest prices, and thus build slowly. Second, political connections caused the contract to be given to a particular developer. Third, they are happy building out the flats over 50 years instead of 20 because other developers don’t want the competition. Fourth, they don’t realize that leaving bombed-out-Beiruit holes in the ground in front of the buildings might discourage sales. Fifth, they realize that building all of the Flats at once will give a “project” look and feel, that might become dated, so they want it to be spread out over several decades so that there is variation in building design.
    Lastly, the NCC specified the colour palate, and wants it to be different from adjacent neighborhoods. Does this different look deter buyers? When the buildings eventually approach Albert Street, they are to be a blend of red and yellow brick to transition to the traditional red brick neighborhoods to the south.
    The NCC is also dealing with a an uncooperative developer in that the city and NCC goals of active street life, to be promoted by having ground floor units with real, useful doors, has been thwarted by Claridge .. and they let him get away with it over and over again. Slow learners.
    Finally, the City stands condemmed for its failure to rebuild Booth Street from Albert to Fleet. Until it does, the “affordable rentals” building cannot be built as its entrance is about 12′ above the current sidewalk, to match the some-day-maybe new Booth street. Meanwhile, the City drags it feet because “it’s an NCC project and if they want a bridge they can pay for it”, so we have the usual intergovernmental rivalies seeing who can go the slowest …
    … it’s a contest of tortises with an agressive-negotiating developer …

  6. But I was taught that more beaurocracy and government meddling yields better results! (Welcome to Ottawa education session)…
    Do we know when the next phase goes on sale? Claridge has had the same ad on the back of the Citizen’s Homes section for years. Maybe the shell crater out front can be turned into the ol’ swimming hole – rustic charm!

  7. I know, I know. It’s much easier for the NCC to deal with just one vendor. I was hoping that with the departure of the last NCC head, that Marie Lemay and Russ Mills would at least realize what a colossal screw-up the NCC made of LeBreton Flats, and try and fix it, but they probably have a pretty big backlog of screw-ups, not counting the ones they’re actively adding

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