As a result of the community rallying together and demonstrating an effective lobby campaign against the proposed parking lot at 160 Lees Avenue, the City of Ottawa and the University of Ottawa are developing a new tentative agreement to build the parking lot in a different location.
At the February OECA meeting, Councillor Chernushenko announced that there is a tentative deal whereby the proposed temporary parking lot at 160 Lees Avenue would not go forward but instead the city would give the university land adjacent to 200 Lees Avenue. If this agreement is reached, the university could enlarge its existing parking lot just to the north of the 200 Lees Avenue university buildings, bounded by Lees Avenue as it ramps up over the Queensway and the Queensway itself (sort of a triangular piece of land, some of it now owned by the city). In addition, the university would also get day-access to the Sandy Hill arena parking lot for a longer period than originally proposed.
This very good news remains tentative because the university's board needs to approve the agreement at its meeting on February 25, 2013. That said, Councillor Chernushenko advised the OECA that university staff support the new proposal and it is expected to be passed. The proposed bylaw amendment concerning 160 Lees Avenue has therefore been removed from the city's planning committee agenda for February 26, 2013. News of the university’s decision will be posted on the website as soon as it is available.
In the meantime, thank you to everyone in the community for their extraordinary efforts. We all came together passionately but calmly and thoroughly to fight for our greenspace. Of course, while this is indeed a great success, we need to keep our community lobby efforts alive to ensure that 160 Lees Avenue remains a greenspace for the long term as well. This land is still slated to be used for the Alta Vista Transit Corridor in the city's transportation master plan. So we will need to continue our community lobby efforts again in the near future in hopes of getting the AVTC removed from the transportation master plan.