The following comments were recently sent by Connie Copps, OOECG member, to Mr. Stephen Cunliffe, Manager of Land Development at The Regional Group. Gardeners will be interested in these comments, especially those in item # 4 which specifically address impacts on the OOECG. Connie is delighted to speak to other gardeners with further thoughts on these matters firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Cunliffe,
I am writing to you in response to the latest version of the Greystone Village proposed for the Oblate Lands. My knowledge of this neighbourhood dates back to the late ‘60’s and early ’70’s, but more recently I am a resident on Hazel Street. I enjoy all that Old Ottawa East offers, including the Old Ottawa East Community Association, the Ottawa East Community Garden, and Brantwood Park.
I am familiar with the community planning effort that has culminated in the current proposed configuration. However, I suggest that there is still room for improvement. I have organized my thoughts in a list below, followed by a request for further information.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on the circulation of fresh air from the Rideau River to Main Street. The air quality in the Main and Hazel area is heavily impacted by major arterial traffic – the Queensway to the north, Colonel By and Queen Elizabeth Drives to the west, Riverside drive to the south, and Main Street itself. Getting a breath of fresh air while enjoying Main Street activities is important to the quality of life in the community. This sense of space and light differentiates this shopping area from the Glebe, Westborough or Beechwood Avenue.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on the skyline currently visible from Main Street near Hazel. Right now, the historic skyline as viewed from this part of Main Street is defined by the Deschatelets building, a cluster of mature trees, and the existing hedgerow behind St. Paul’s University. The skyline is a visual invitation to locals and visitors to the open space and the Rideau River beyond.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on light to the existing hedgerow. The hedgerow is both an agricultural remnant and a link to historic land uses, and as such is particularly valuable in an urban setting. The lilacs are fragrant in the spring, and the trembling aspen chatter in the slightest breeze from the river – a very relaxing landscape element.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on the Old Ottawa East Community Garden. This long-established garden contributes local, organic produce to more than 50 families, as well as the Food Bank. This garden is a multi-generational activity, promoting healthy active living and community involvement. Due to the garden’s location next to a 4-story building, it receives no more than 5 hours per day of direct sunlight, with 3 to 4 hours more common. The remainder of the light is filtered sunlight from dawn. This is especially important for the early spring growing season, before the leaves emerge on the trees. The open skyline, the sound of the wind in the trees, the fresh air from the river: all contribute to the environment experienced in this garden.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on the view of the Rideau River from St. Paul’s University. The University owes its location to the presence of the river and historic land use planning. It seems unfair to place a physical and visual barrier between the University campus and views towards the river, its fresh air and refreshing breezes. In addition, the University puts considerable effort into maintaining close ties with its surrounding community. This relationship has been mutually beneficial for many years. The towers will segregate the University from the new development, and make interaction between the adjacent land uses less likely.
- The proposed location of the towers will impact on integration between the new development and the existing community. The towers form a physical barrier, creating an enclave of the new neighbourhood. Visual links from the development and St. Paul’s University, Main Street activities, local churches and schools will be lost. For example, teenagers will have to pass through the towers to get to Immaculata High School, and parents will have to get through the towers to view the school bus stop. The towers will isolate the new development, making it more difficult to build a sense of community and belonging by dominating the landscape.
Thank you for your kindness in considering these opinions. I realize that market trends are the primary consideration in the development of the Oblate Lands. However, it seems that the 9-story towers would have less impact, both physically and visually, if they were located near the existing largest structure, the Deschatelets building on the north end of the property. It would also minimize the impact if the towers were oriented in an east-west direction, rather than north-south.
Please include me in your mailing list for future opportunities for community opinions. If possible, a shade study of the garden area would be appreciated by garden members.
David Kardish, VP, Land Development
David Chernushenko, Councillor
John Dance, OOECA
Stephen Pope, OOECA
Rebecca Aird, SLOOE
Margaret van Erve, OOECG
Helen Carriere, Vice Rector, Administration, U St. Paul
Erin O’Connell, City of Ottawa
Joe Paraskevas, Editor, Mainstreeter
Annette Hegel, OOECG