City Conducting Transit-Oriented Development Study

The City of Ottawa is undertaking transit-oriented development (TOD) studies that will examine properties within an 800 metres radius of three future light rail stations east of downtown. This includes the Lees Transitway station in Old Ottawa East. View a map of the study area. According to the city, the goal of the TOD studies is to plan well-designed and compact neighbourhoods. For more information, visit the city’s TOD website. Public consultations will be held later in the year.

160 Lees Development goes to Planning Council on February 26

The City of Ottawa’s planning committee will review the application for 160 Lees Avenue on February 26, 2013. At the request of Councillor Chernushenko, the city has agreed to conduct the site plan studies in advance of this going to committee so that due diligence is done and the proper assessments and analysis are conducted on the impacts raised such as environmental issues and traffic. We will be receiving a list of the studies that will be conducted and we will post them on the website.

The OECA has received a copy of the alternative locations that the city staff reviewed before proposing the 160 Lees Avenue site as the recommended option. They are posted in the planning section under the 160 Lees Avenue file.

The OECA will continue to press for more information regarding the size of the proposed parking lot. The city is required to compensate the university for lost parking due to LRT construction, however, the current proposal provides the university with an additional 132 parking spots. At a meeting held on January 7, 2013, between the OECA, Councillor Chernushenko, university representatives and city staff, we asked the university to assess its current parking, do a needs assessment and review if indeed it really needs a 362 parking lot to compensate for 230 lost spots. The University of Ottawa is in a key leadership position to change the decision on whether the parking lot is necessary and whether its size can be decreased, but we need to appeal to the president to get the decision in the MOU with the city changed. Officials from his office indicated that they were surprised that they have not received more letters - let's make some noise and send President Allan Rock some letters. Your voice matters and because of the interest that we have been getting on this issue, changes are happening but there are still more changes required.

For full details about this proposal, including the most recent site plan, please visit the planning page.

City Presentation on 160 Lees Development

The City of Ottawa's presentation from the December 19th meeting concerning the 160 Lees planning application is now available. Note that the presentation states the application will be heard at Planning Committee in January, but this has since been postponed to February. For complete details about this proposal, including maps and minutes from the December 19 meeting, please visit the OECA’s planning page.

Update on proposed temporary parking lot at 160 Lees Avenue

The OECA hosted a public meeting on Wednesday, December 19, with city staff to answer questions about the proposed Zoning By-law Amendment application for 160 Lees Avenue. This is a city-initiated application to permit a temporary parking lot for a period of three to five years during the construction of the light rail project. This is the section of greenspace bounded by Lees Avenue, the apartment buildings, the Rideau River, and Springhurst Park. The meeting drew considerable positive media coverage of the community’s concerns.

The original proposal included both parking for 362 vehicles and a staging area for construction. At the December 19 meeting, the city presented an alternate proposal that removed the staging area from 160 Lees Avenue. The parking lot is proposed because during construction of the light rail project, 230 parking spots at the University of Ottawa will be displaced and the city must provide compensation. What is not clear, however, is why the proposal includes 362 parking spots when the university is only losing 230 parking spots. The city has also not clarified how many other alternative sites were considered. We are supported in our quest for answers by Councillor David Chernushenko who was instrumental in having an alternate proposal presented at the meeting.

For full details about this proposal, including maps and minutes from the December 19 meeting, please visit the OECA’s planning page.

Public meeting to discuss creation of a temporary parking lot at 160 Lees

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 19, at Old Town Hall to discuss a Zoning By-law Amendment application for 160 Lees. A City of Ottawa initiated application has been received for 160 Lees Avenue to permit a temporary parking lot for a period of three years. This is the section of land bounded by Lees Avenue, the apartment buildings, the Rideau River, and Springhurst Park.

During the construction of the light rail project, 230 parking spots at the University of Ottawa will be displaced and the city is proposing the construction of a temporary parking lot to accommodate 362 parking spots at 160 Lees Avenue. The university will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the parking lot. The land will also be used as a staging area for the light rail construction.

For more details, see the site plan, a map of the proposed parking lot, and additional correspondence from city staff.

This is scheduled to be heard at the city’s Planning Committee on January 14, 2013.
The OECA understands that construction is inevitable as the light rail project moves ahead. However, we want to ensure that Old Ottawa East residents are informed of the zoning amendment and that city staff works with us and our city councillor to negotiate the best possible outcome. First and foremost, we would like to explore the viability of alternative locations for the parking lot and staging area. Information outlining alternative locations is available in the following report and map. If this is not possible, can the proposal be built in stages on an as-needs basis. For example, can we encourage the use of more public transportation to reduce the need for as many parking spots? Additional concerns include:

  • What is the vehicular access to the parking lot? Ie: both right and left-turn allowed from Lees Avenue?
  • How will the parking lot be maintained in the winter to minimize disruption to surrounding neighbours?
  • How will the parking lot be lit and what measures will be taken to ensure that light and noise do not impact surrounding neighbours?
  • How do we ensure the safety of those enjoying Springhurst Park and the pedestrians who use this area, especially students traveling to and from school?
  • What steps will be taken to minimize surface runoff from the parking lot into the Rideau River? Is an Environmental Assessment of the area available?
  • Ensure that the “Major Open Space” designation according to the Official Plan is respected, which would mean that the area as far north (and including) the basketball court is excluded from the parking lot and a 20 metre setback from the Rideau River is maintained.
  • Ensure that the parking lot is indeed temporary and measures are put in place so that the land is returned to its current condition.

Please attend the public meeting on Wednesday, December 19, at Old Town Hall (61 Main Street) from 7-9 p.m. to have your questions answered and comments heard. The meeting will be attended by:

  • Matt Eason, Communication and Outreach Cordinator, Rail Implementation Office, City of Ottawa
  • Ottawa City Councillor David Chernushenko
  • John Dance, OECA president
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