Southminster church redevelopment approved

on .

Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

Council gave the green-light to the redevelopment of an Old Ottawa South church after the applicant, Windmill Development Group, revised its proposed development so that a six-storey condominium building to be built adjacent to the church, overlooking the Rideau Canal, would top out 0.1 metres below the parapet of the existing church.

The issue of height had stalled the application, which the planning committee considered last month. The National Capital Commission and Parks Canada were convinced the building would affect the visual setting of the canal, with the six-storey building previously envisioned to be slightly taller than the church.

Residents weren’t pleased with the height either. Nearly 400 people submitted comments on the application, with opponents decrying the proposed height of the new building, the density and the impact on the views around the canal.

Southminster United Church officials approached Windmill about a potential partnership as it faced a financial reality. They came up with a development scheme that would provide the church with critical revenue.

Andrew Brewin, chair of the church’s redevelopment committee, said the future of the church could hinge on the partnership with Windmill. The church needs money for its main building, which also acts as a community hub.

Planning department staff supported the revisions to the proposed development, but Capital Coun. David Chernushenko concluded he may face criticism from both sides over the outcome of the “imperfect” redevelopment.