Monday, September 12, 2011

Centretown Events and Updates for September 2011

The following message was sent to the CCCA's e-mail announcement list early this morning, announcing upcoming events. Contact to be among the first to receive CCCA e-mail updates a couple times per month.

Dear CCCA members and followers,

I hope you did a lot of resting up over the summer, because September is starting up at full speed!

Here's a summary of 25 upcoming events and issues in Centretown:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 9:30am
265 Catherine (Greyhound bus terminal) rezoning at City Planning Committee

City Hall (Champlain Room)

The CCCA's initial response to this proposal is at the bottom of the city
staff report to Planning Committee here: We're still worried about the implications of rezoning this site before the Centretown Community Design Plan (CDP) is complete, and the implications of rezoning it now without any plans for Greyhound to relocate. It already seems to have inspired another large-scale rezoning at Bank and Catherine (see "SoBa" below). Another concern is that it does not include a public park, as proposed in the draft Centretown CDP. We will be sending out a letter to Planning Committee on Monday, and we will make a presentation to the Committee when it considers this item on Tuesday. To sign up to speak to the Committee, contact the committee coordinator, listed on the meeting agenda:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 5:30pm
CCCA Transportation Committee meeting

Bridgehead on Elgin (To be confirmed)

The CCCA's regular Transportation Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, though it will likely be rescheduled or cancelled. Topics to discuss include the city's Light Rail Transit project, Rescue Bronson Avenue (, the Downtown Ottawa Mobility Overlay study ( Please contact if you are interested in this meeting so we can inform you of changes in the time or location of the meeting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 7pm
Public Open House: Small-Scale Infill Housing in Mature Neighbourhoods

City Hall (Champlain Room)

Following involved consultations with community groups and developers of small-scale infill (e.g. building or replacing a house/duplex in a downtown neighbourhood), the City has proposed changes to policies surrounding this type of development. These changes are designed to make it easier for developers to design buildings that fit in with the neighbourhood, helping to avoid animosity with the surrounding neighbourhood when the plans come to light. Come to this open house to hear about these proposed changes and have your input. The community groups have been working together on our input, and while the changes are a step in the right direction, there is still some room for improvement.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 7pm
CCCA Monthly Meeting

City Hall (Honeywell Room)

After two successful Gab & Graze social events in July and August replacing our monthly meeting, the CCCA's Board is back to business in the fall. Come out to hear and participate in the discussions of what's happening in your community association. This is the last Board meeting before the 2011 Annual General Meeting, so if you're considering running for a position on the Board, come out to get a sense of what to expect! CCCA's meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 1pm
Committee of Adjustment meeting - 108 Lisgar

The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive

The owner of 108 Lisgar wrote to give us a heads up on a Minor Variance application he's made regarding his building, currently under construction on Lisgar Street across from City Hall. He previously received a Minor Variance to increase the permitted height from roughly 12 storeys to 20. This only counts the floors containing residential units, so the building would actually be one floor higher to accommodate the mechanical penthouse. The current application being sought from the Committee of Adjustment would be to allow that mechanical penthouse allowance to be used for residential, as the engineers have been able to put the mechanical units in the basement. The CCCA is in communication with the developer and we'll submit our comments to the Committee of Adjustment based on the outcome of those discussions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 7pm
Ottawa-Centre All-Candidates Meeting

Ottawa Chinese Canadian Heritage Centre
397 Kent Street (At Florence)

The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre has partnered with other neighbourhood groups, including the CCCA, to organize an All-Candidates meeting for residents to get to know the people who are vying for their vote in the October 6, 2011 Ontario election. For more information on when, where and how to vote, visit Elections Ontario's helpful website,


CCCA seeking Planning & Development Review Committee assistance: The
CCCA's Planning & Development Review Committee does a lot of work, and is looking for someone to step forward to co-chair the committee with CCCA President Charles Akben-Marchand while co-chair Judy Forrest is out of town for the winter. Please contact if you are able to help. Many hands make light work!

(Mid-)Centretown Community Design Plan: City staff tell us they are
meeting with the consultants on September 15 to discuss the input received on the first draft, presented in late June. We look forward to hearing more after this meeting. We were also provided a summary of what changed in the CDP between the initial draft released online and the revised one presented at the June 29, 2011 open house:
  • Zoning By-law Map – R4- Residential Mixed Use changed to R4- Fourth
  • Land Use Plan
  • Gladstone west of Bank and portions of Somerset changed from Residential
  • Mixed Use to Secondary Traditional Mainstreet
  • Some reductions in the Apartment Neighbourhood along the southern
    boundary, west of Bank Street
  • Residential Mixed Use gained an asterisk to note that the designation was still under review with regard to whether limited mixed use should be allowed throughout this designation.
  • Bronson removed from the Land Use Plan
  • Bank Street added to Pedestrian Priority Streets

Section 37 policy delayed again: Community groups were asked to rush their comments in May so that the City's guidelines for implementation of Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act could go to Council in June, 2011. (The CCCA's backgrounder on Section 37 is at Since then, we were told the policy would be delayed until August due to comments from the development industry, and it is still missing-in-action now in mid-September.

While Section 37 applies to the negotiation of community benefits in re-zoning applications and requires community consultation, the city has in the meantime been conducting similar negotiations as part of site plan agreements, usually without any community input and with tenuous reporting of these agreements in reports to Council. With the barrage of planning applications not slowing down, this policy needs to be in place sooner, not later! Please e-mail your councillor ( and Planning Committee chair Peter Hume ( and ask them to get this policy out there!

346 Gloucester rezoning later this fall: As mentioned previously, the
Committee of Adjustment rejected a minor variance application for 346 Gloucester to increase the permitted height of their property at Bay/Nepean/Gloucester, because the height increase was not "minor". Subsequently, the developer has filed for a rezoning. Unfortunately, since the City's Section 37 policy is not in place and the site plan for this site has already been approved (see previous item), the city will be unable to seek community benefits for this rezoning as it did for the one at the other end of the block (224 Lyon).

150 Elgin procedural questions unanswered: We are meeting with the
developer's consultants to review the plans for 150 Elgin (a 21-storey office building along the North side of Gloucester, formerly planned to house the concert hall), but many questions remain for city staff to answer. When the CCCA was notified of the site plan application, the notice said that it would not be approved until conflicts are resolved between the proposal and an existing development agreement with the city for the site to include public parking and residential units. We asked what process would be used to amend this agreement, and what public input would be sought, but have received no response.

"South on Bank" - a 15 or 19 storey tower at Bank and Catherine: As we expected, the proposed rezoning of the Greyhound bus terminal (first item in this e-mail) has been followed by a proposal for a 15-storey building at 203 Catherine (we've heard conflicting reports that it is 15 or 19 storeys), at the north-east corner of Bank. We're told that "the footprint is an inverted T-shape fronting on Catherine Street, stepping back and tapering up to the top". A re-zoning application has not yet been filed, and we're looking to meet with the developer to learn more about the proposal.

Committee of Adjustment decisions on 604 Gilmour and 732 Cooper: We have not yet heard of the Committee of Adjustment's decision on these two applications. A representative of the 604 Gilmour site shared the CCCA renderings of the proposed building, and it is sympathetic to the heritage character of the neighbourhood.

City Miscommunication: Earlier this year, there were some problems with the CCCA not getting complete and timely notification of development application proposals from the city's planning department and the Committee of Adjustment. We raised some of these concerns with the mayor when we met with him earlier this year. This has improved somewhat, and we were told to regularly check the City's development applications website at for a complete listing of current projects as a back-up. The website also contains additional documents pertaining to the applications. Unfortunately, we've found that some applications (including some above) are not listed on the website.


New CCCA website launched: The CCCA's Communications Committee has been hard at work transferring information to a new website that will be easier to maintain. The new website also lets you join the CCCA online with
secure online payment! Check it out at and send any feedback to

September Buzz comes out this week: Keep an eye out for the September issue of the Centretown Buzz, hitting the stands later this week. We're always looking for people to help deliver the paper, so contact if you're willing to help out with this for an hour a month.

Games tables at Minto Park: The CCCA's Seniors Committee wants to know if you'd like to see permanent games tables (chess/checkers, backgammon, cards, etc) at Minto Park, similar to the longstanding ones at Dundonald Park and those being installed at Piazza Dante. A quick two-question survey is on the CCCA's website ( until September 12, following which the Seniors Committee will review the results to discuss at next week's CCCA Board meeting.

Elgin Street being resurfaced: You've probably noticed the work well
underway on Elgin street, with the resurfacing of the entire street and the replacement and repair of some sidewalks. If you'd like to see more bike parking along Elgin when the post-and-ring racks are reinstalled, make yourself heard by e-mailing and ccing!

Downtown Ottawa Mobility Overlay study: We are waiting to hear back on the status of this project to review traffic patterns in the downtown core and surrounding areas (including Centretown) as they will function after the transit tunnel is built.

New Mural in the Village: The Village Initiative has installed a mural on the side of 367 Bank Street, at Gilmour, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the "We Demand" protest on Parliament Hill for gay rights. Capital Xtra published a feature story on the event in its July 2011 issue, here:

Rescue Bronson Avenue gearing up for the fall: The Rescue Bronson Avenue project (, a collaboration of the CCCA, Dalhousie Community Association, CCOC and councillor Holmes' office, is
gearing up for more activity this fall. The city has scheduled a Public/Business Advisory Committee meeting later this month, possibly in an attempt to wrap things up--even though many issues are not yet finalized. Rescue Bronson Avenue is still looking for the City to pilot the reconfigured Bronson Avenue in 2012 with painted lines and bollards, to demonstrate with certainty whether a 3-lane Bronson Avenue will flow more smoothly than the current configuration.

Separately, the city is beginning discussions on public art for Bronson Avenue, as part of the city's One Percent for Art program.

Here are some more events to mark on your calendar:

City Culture Plan Open House, October 3, 6:30-9pm: Get a copy of the draft of the City of Ottawa's next 5-year Action Plan for Culture, hear how it was developed, and provide feedback. City Hall, Jean Pigott Hall (Main floor)

Ontario Election, October 6: Visit for helpful information on voting.

Heritage forum for Ottawa communities, October 15, 1-5pm: Heritage Ottawa and the New Edinburgh Community Alliance are teaming up to provide a forum for community heritage committees and similarly-oriented individuals to learn from each other's experiences in maintaining local heritage assets. Contact the CCCA if you'd like to represent us!

CCCA's Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, October 25: Time and location are to be confirmed. The CCCA's Annual General Meeting is where CCCA members elect the President and Board of Directors to serve for the next year. This year there are six two-year terms on the Board and one one-year term, plus the position of President which is elected annually. If you're interested in running for one of these positions, please contact the CCCA's Corporate Secretary, Toria Laine, at You might also want to attend the September 2011 board meeting (see above) to get a sense of what goes on. There are also many committees to get involved with, even if you don't want to join the Board.

That's all for now!

There's a lot happening in our community and your participation helps us stay on top of things, so thank you for being involved in Centretown issues by subscribing to the CCCA's e-mails. In between them, you can also visit our newly-revamped website at and follow us on Twitter at (@CentretownCCA)

Remember that CCCA memberships expire at the AGM, so don't forget to renew--it's only $5! If you're not yet a member of the CCCA but live, work, or own property in Centretown, head to today to join and/or donate. You can now do it directly online!


Charles Akben-Marchand
Centretown Citizens Community Association (CCCA)

1 comment:

  1. It was an impressive post and I enjoyed reading it. It was very well said and done. Big thanks for sharing.

    Charles A