The City has been sporadically doing up a CDP (Community Design Plan) (which is a plan of dubious effectiveness under the Official Plan) for the O-Train corridor running from Bayview Station to Carling Avenue.
Residents frequently ascribe its tardiness to a desire on the part of the City to see all the developable land purchased and rezoned before the plan is drawn up. In that way, the city won’t have to continually amend it.
The City is committed to having CDPs done for all the stations along the OLRT. Having seen some of the in-progress ones I’d have to say they are better than nothing. At least they might tell some residents (and Swiss immigrants) that they won’t be getting what the current zoning is for.
And having seen some of the completed ones, I have been left shaking my head that they could ever have been passed with any sincerity as to upholding them. I just don’t see scattered four storey infills as the definition of intensification. Nor will the OMB.
With that in mind, let’s look at the Bayview CDP. In particular, the Bayview Station end of the plan. (Recall that the Carling end of the plan is undergoing a feeding frenzy with Ottawa and Toronto developers gulping up every lot; and the middle section, around Gladstone, is about to get a lot hotter with upcoming development of the former printing plant that occupies one entire block at Gladstone and Breezehill).
The City has decided against holding a real world public meeting on the plan, instead exploring an online public meeting. You can find it here: http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/public_consult/carling_bayview/index_en.html The last item on the menu on the left of their page is titled Online Open House, click and…
There are three videos at the site; the first and second are for the very patient raw beginners (you know, the equivalent of the first dozen display boards at a real meeting, which are full of text, and you just skip over to get to the meat in the last few panels on the other side of the room). The third video shows the recommended plan. It is 20 minutes long, but is worth watching. (Remember, it’s still quicker than going to a real meeting…).
Here is what the area looks like, as seen by a future migrating Canada goose:
In the centre is the LRT Station, although we are not sure yet if it exactly there, or somewhat further to the left (west) directly over the OTrain tracks. The green buildings running off to the upper right above Albert Street are the approved plans for LeBreton Flats, currently likely to built in 2067 (our bicentennial) if the current buildout pattern is continued by Malhotra’s great grandchildren who will by then be owners of Claridge.
Immediately below (south of) the LRT Station is the proposed Phoenix triangular development at 801 Albert. This is for two 35 storey office towers employing about 6500 civil servants and having a total of 200 or so parking spots since everyone will come by transit or bike path. Having seen these proposed plans in some (preliminary) detail, the office complex ain’t too bad for the site.
Running further south in the picture along both sides of City Centre Avenue the planners envision mixed use developments that are highest closest to the O-Train and lowest adjoining the existing houses of the neighborhood.
I look forward to presenting these pictures at future planning committee meetings and OMB hearings when objecting to office highrises in the areas they now show as continuing to be low rise residential. Indeed, the L-shaped building in white at the lower right (in the above picture) is the proposed Domicile condo at the corner of City Centre and Somerset (present home of International Paints and Fine Thingys Antiques). Planners show it as 5 floors; the developer is already proposing 12.
Here is the city’s artist impression, the perspective from Dalhousie:
The pink houses are the existing neighborhood residential. Preston Street runs on a diagonal on the lower right; Somerset runs on the opposite diagonal lower left.The top- most pink townhouses are Walnut Court; beyond them is the proposed LeBreton project in turquoise ( a pleasant break from the yellow brick now being used). Notice how the buildings step up from stacked townhouses adjacent the pink neighborhood, to high rises along the OTrain. The tallest twin towers are Phoenix’s, opposite the Bayview Station. Immediately south of them (a bit to the left in the pic) are six blocks of towers built on the City Centre warehouse complex site.
The City has kindly shown us a persective from Hintonburg too:
This time the view is from a hot air balloon just north of West Wellington after it met Somerset at the triangular park shown on the lower right. The elongated low rise white building is Tom Brown (yes, I know its orange in real life, just pretend…) which has had some whopping big additions put on the west, north, and east sides of the existing building. The city has also shown a new ped bridge reconnecting the chopped up parts of West Wellie, allowing us to walk over the OTrain tracks and use the bike paths to be built there in 2012.
Off to the left (north) are new white buildings for the Bayview Yards area. One of them sports a curved middle section, evocative of the old train roundhouses that used to be nearby. Beyond Tom Brown, on the other side of the OTrain, are the two tall Phoenix towers, and to their right (south) are the Equity City Centre buildings.
Alas, just chopped off the far right edge of the picture is the site at the corner of Breezehill and Somerset, beside Devonshire School, which Claridge is now clearing in preparation for a yet-unrevealled condo and shopping complex.
The last view of this exciting mega-node sim-development is from Mechanicsville:
It shows the view from the 28th floor of the proposed Urbandale condo tower on Parkdale Avenue. In the foreground is Laroche Park; off to the left is the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway and the river itself. The proposed condo towers on the far side of the park may be some time coming because they are on contaminated soil (the uncontaminated lands were reserved for non-buildings) and no one yet has the heart or dollars to remediate the crap found there. Notice how the buildings rise up as the view goes east, to their highest point (on the Mechanicsville side) at the west end of the new Bayview Station itself. The penultimate height and bulk of building is still the Phoenix buildings in the distance on the south side of Albert at City Centre Drive.
While the decision to hold a on-line public consultation has been controversial, it is still useful. Most useful of all are the 3-D sketchups of how the properties could develop. The buildings shown are, of course, a planner’s wet dream, nicely stepped up in height and density, and varied in form. Builders prefer to build clones of the previous building, or in pairs, to save money. But unlike 2-D flat drawings of zoning codes, the 3-D view allows way more people to imagine what might develop.
IF the plan passes, and the zoning is put in place to match the pretty sim-city models shown, will council have the courage to insist on the zoning being followed? Or will council continue to fob the hard decisions off to the OMB?
Now that you’ve seen the pic, go to the city site http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/public_consult/carling_bayview/index_en.html , click on Online Open House (last item on the menu on the left) and watch video #3. Some sweet voiced lady will walk you through the Bayview of a Brighter Tomorrow!