Proposed Ramp for Old Town Hall

City staff kindly met with OOECA and CAG representatives and with Christine Honsl - an OOE resident who uses a chair for mobility - to review proposed plans for a ramp that would provide access from ground level to the first floor of the Old Town Hall (OOE's community centre).

The community welcomes the city initiative to restore access to the first floor, something that has been lacking because of the malfunctioning of the old elevator. However, it is also worth noting that both this elevator and a proposed ramp still will not allow access to the second floor of the Old Town Hall. We recognize the budgetary constraints that have led to the city's not addressing this longstanding problem but want to ensure that at some point this lack of second floor access be fixed.

Brantwood rink closed for the season

March 3, 2013, was the last day for the Brantwood rink. The rink, run by about 50 community volunteers superbly coordinated by Cindy Courtemanche, opened earlier (Christmas) than virtually all other city rinks and closed later, even being open after the heavy snowfall of February 27. And a very big thanks to Mike Galazka, owner of Mike's Service Centre, who for more than 20 years has plowed the rink, and whose plow suffered in the clearing of the aftermath of the February 27th storm.

The Ottawa East Hosers, who perfected their skills over decades at the Brantwood rink, won this year's Capital Ward Cup, emblematic of shinny supremacy in the heart of the nation's capital. Congratulations to them!

The #16 bus to return to part of Main Street

According to information the OECA has received from Councillor Chernushenko’s office, OCTranspo plans to reinstate the #16 bus on part of Main Street sometime this spring. Plans are to have the #16 from downtown come up Lees Avenue as it does now, and turn left onto Main Street and continue south on Main Street as far as Hazel Street, where it will make a left turn into the parking lot of Saint Paul University, and terminate its run at the university. Plans are to eliminate the existing route west on Hawthorne Avenue, up Elgin Street and around the police station. OCTranspo also plans to renumber the existing twice-a-day #5 run from Sandy Hill along Main Street to the hospitals on Smyth Road. Presumably these two runs will become a #16 route.

OCTranspo has not consulted the OECA on these changes, despite our numerous requests for consultation. We have sent a number of e-mails and made a specific presentation to the transit commission requesting that the #16 be reinstated all the way down Main Street and up Smyth Road to the hospitals. This proposed change will not meet any of the community’s needs, and ignores our many requests for a reinstated route to the hospitals on Smyth Road.

EMC News editorial re: 160 Lees Avenue

The EMC News (Ottawa East) has posted a great editorial regarding 160 Lees Avenue. You can read it here.

Latest update on proposed parking lot at 160 Lees Avenue

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.

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