Travellers along Albert west of Booth can justifiably be mystified by the construction project in front* of the Ottawa Community Housing project. The new wood fence constructed a year or two ago has been demolished and the gardens dug up. No ped detour is necessary, it seems.
According to OCH, the problem is that the brick wall is on a concrete foundation. It isn’t very far out from the building foundations. Moisture gets trapped in the soil, saturates it, and cause leaks and mold in the housing. The amount and repetitiveness of repairs to these units has astounded me for decades.
If you follow that, then you’ll understand they are digging it all up to install … a water run- off pipe. However, while OCH owns the housing, it doesn’t own the land — CMHC does. The city demands that the “owner” sign certain legal agreements before the sewer can be connected. CMHC no longer has a property mangement branch, all the files were “lost”, and then the legal beavers got to work. You can guess the rest …
It appears less complicated on the Rochester Street side. The existing sunken patio and terrace in front of the “storefront” that has never in 28 years been rented to a retail business … has been totally rebuilt with new retaining walls, new wheelchair accessible ramps, etc. In my silliness, I thought the old stuff was perfectly fine. But to access this sunken work site, to run their little bobcats around, to park their trucks, OCH chopped down 6 thirty year old trees, although it appears nothing will be built there. They assure me the trees will be replanted [I guess they mean replaced]. Mind, these are the same people that reclad the exteriors of all the units without bothering to upgrade the insulation at the same time.
I look forward to seeing what they plant.
*front, or back of? it is hard to tell what is supposed to be the front or back of these units. The front doors face Albert, but are walled off. Most of the windows face south, where there are no doors. Car traffic and vehicles cannot approach the houses by their street address.