Lansdowne unveiled

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This summer is filled with "sneak previews", ribbon cuttings and official openings at Lansdowne Park.

Although much of the precinct will remain a construction site throughout the summer and fall — with Bank Street being temporarily returned to its full four lanes on major event days only — it is becoming increasingly clear what the final site will look like.

I am personally looking forward to helping cut the ribbon for the Urban Park on August 15, and seeing the public come out on August 16 to enjoy the first day of programmed activities. I also look forward to seeing the Horticulture Building reborn as a public facility available for a whole range of community uses.

As for the retail section of the site, I am not overly impressed with the stores and food/beverage operators announced to date. There is certainly no sign of a "unique urban village" taking form, as was promised.

Nor am I impressed by the somewhat overpowering heigh and proximity of the buildings along Bank Street, which, combined with the wall-like architecture of the Glebe Centre, have created a canyon where there was breathing room and light before. I can only hope that a more animated site will soften this effect.

The increasingly mall-like selection of stores and services at Lansdowne may bode well for the existing businesses of Bank Street in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South. But then again, maybe not. I feel that everyone will be further ahead if Lansdowne indeed becomes the regional destination that its developers are aiming for. Essentially, a rising tide floats all boats.

All will become clear by the spring of 2015, when the full site is open and active for the first time in a long time.

In the meantime, you may want to take note of the upcoming dates:

  • July 18 - CFL Football: The Canadian Football League returns to Ottawa with the RedBlacks' first home game, against the Toronto Argonauts.
  • July 20 – NASL Soccer: The Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League play their first game at Lansdowne, where they will take on the League Champion New York Cosmos.
  • July 23 – NASL Soccer: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a special exhibition match between the Ottawa Fury FC and the storied Rangers FC from Glasgow.
  • August 16 – Lansdowne Park: The Official Opening of Lansdowne Park will feature a community festival and picnic, with games and activities for kids, exhibitions, concerts and more!

Sincerely,

David Chernushenko
Councillor for Capital Ward

Lansdowne taking shape

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As the old saying goes, there are only two seasons in Ottawa: Winter and Construction. But at Lansdowne Park, it's been Winter Construction and just Construction, with milder weather allowing work to continue at a faster pace.

To keep to an ambitious timeline for the kickoff of July 18, the past few weeks have revealed some noticeable changes on site: The pavers have been laid in the centre area of Aberdeen Square. Trees have been delivered for parts of the urban park and some of the first trees planted in the East Court, as well as in the orchard and shuttle loop area. The concrete perimeter wall around the skating rink is complete and the area has been filled with base material and compacted. Footings for some of the structures in the children’s play area are being built, as are those for the Art Screen.

Below are some observations and photos of the transformations I saw during my last site visit on April 29:
 



South Side Stands. Photos by Natalie Mezey.

South Side Stands
The Veil on the South Side Stands is in place and now the remaining horizontal beams are being installed along with the seats, railings and other finishings.

Paving interspersed with planting beds for trees and shrubs is taking shape. Boxes of furniture for the future park have been delivered.
 


Building B. Photo by Natalie Mezey.

Building B
The contractor has begun to install bricks on the exterior of the building. Finishing work on the base building, including drywall, painting and light fixtures, is continuing and will soon be transferred to the tenant fit-up contractors.
 


Building C. Photo by Natalie Mezey.

Building C
Exterior glazing has been installed on most of the front exterior of the theatre. Inside, much of the structural work is being completed with the goal of transferring it to the contractor very soon.
 


Building D. Photo by Natalie Mezey.

Building D
The exterior of the building is progressing, with most of the brick and exterior glazing installed. Trim is also being installed around windows and doors.

Pavers have been installed in the Aberdeen Square central area, and the final rows along the edge of the square will be finished shortly. This area will be the home of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market beginning in the spring of 2015. It remains at Brewer Park for the 2014 season.

Construction Entrance
The contractor will switch the main construction entrance on Bank Street to "Lansdowne Way" while landscaping work on "Aberdeen Way" takes place. During this time, trucks will use the Lansdowne Way gate to access the site. This is planned to start in the first week of May and continue until the end of June.

For regular construction updates, sign up for City's ebulletins, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact my office to relay any observations or concerns.


Sincerely,

David Chernushenko
Councillor for Capital Ward

Tackling Lansdowne’s transportation and parking challenges

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A review of the Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee’s work and thoughts on next steps by LTAC chair Coun. David Chernushenko

Background

In June 2012, Council approved a Transportation Impact Assessment and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan that acknowledged the transportation challenges posed by the intensive redevelopment of Lansdowne Park – within communities that are themselves intensifying, in a city with more vehicle traffic than ever. The TDM Plan concluded that existing infrastructure would be sufficient to handle the new demands, if combined with aggressive Transportation Demand Management measures. It laid out in broad strokes the elements of such a plan, while calling for more detail to be added, and for a comprehensive Transportation Monitoring Plan to be prepared.

Although the Lansdowne TDM plan proposed a radical shift towards use of transit and active modes of travel and away from facilitating private car use, many local residents, associations and the Glebe BIA were not convinced that transportation and parking challenges were being treated with sufficient seriousness. They worried that they would bear the brunt of problems which they felt were certain to arise, due to insufficient road capacity, transit options, parking availability and safe cycling routes. They feared that too great an emphasis was being placed on monitoring, and not enough on pre-emptive measures.

The Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee

Against this background, I convened the ad-hoc Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee to examine in detail all aspects of these transportation challenges. The LTAC met over an 18-month period to discuss concerns, review possible solutions, receive recommendations from several community associations and give feedback on the proposed Transportation Monitoring Plan.

Following our first meeting as an LTAC, I stated that the group would formally report to Council through the Transportation Committee. The Transportation Committee chair had expressed her support for this and, in addition, Transit Commission Chair Diane Deans had invited the LTAC to present our report to the Transit Commission. I initially expected that this would take the form of a consensus report written by me as chair and endorsed by all participants. As the group advanced through its exploration of issues and proposed measures, though, several parallel processes were set in motion. The Glebe Community Association (GCA) undertook an extensive survey of its membership, leading to a set of recommendations. City staff were actively involved in the process and offered feedback along the way, in addition to considering the final recommendations. The Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCAR) subsequently carried out a smaller but similar process, also with staff involvement.

Looking for Lansdowne's silver lining

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Updated 16 December 2013

On October 10, 2012, City Council voted 21-3 to proceed with the Lansdowne Partnership Plan (LPP) and sign the final contracts with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG). By then, the vote was just a formality. The more vigorous discussion and examination of final reports took place a week earlier at the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) meeting. In any case, it has been clear since the 2010 election that this City Council is strongly pro-LPP.

So, one era ends and a new one begins. The struggle to halt or fundamentally change the current redevelopment plan is officially over, to be replaced with a new mission: Identifying ways to leverage this massive capital project—with all the taxpayer spending it entails—for some much-needed community and regional benefits.

This has actually been my focus for a long time, since it became crystal clear that most of my colleagues were lined up in favour of the project, with only a couple even interested in discussing its shortcomings. I have put my energy into questioning and critiquing the plan's weak points at Council meetings, and using my position on the Lansdowne Design Review Panel to push for social, aesthetic and environmental improvements to the site plan and building designs. I also created the Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee (LTAC) to identify ways to mitigate the expected traffic and parking challenges, and to find ways to get more visitors to the site by means other than the car.

For anyone interested in my work at committees and Council, I think you'll find the audio files from the Oct. 2 FEDCO meeting revealing.

What to expect

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The redevelopment of Lansdowne has begun, and the residents of Capital Ward — especially those in the Glebe — are already being affected by noise, dust and other construction-related issues, such as the cutting of mature trees on Holmwood. There will be more to come as the work is completed over the next three years.

Like many of you, I am disappointed by the way the redevelopment process has been managed so far. Also like many, I hope we can make the best of it so that the citizens of Ottawa ultimately end up with a positive addition to their city.

Of course, any project of this magnitude is bound to cause problems for those living or working nearby, as well as those who like to visit the area or simply pass through on their way to work or school.

Tree Removal on Holmwood

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As most of you have no doubt heard by now, contracted crews began cutting down trees along Holmwood Ave. on Tuesday morning (June 5), much to the surprise of local residents who had not been notified of this work.

They quickly took action, locked their bicycles to the equipment to prevent further work, and contacted my office. I immediately asked for the work to be halted as I tried to find out what was going on, as I had not been advised that this work would begin. Those who stopped the cutting should be commended for their initiative, and for alerting me to what was happening. I cannot be everywhere at once and cannot always react to unfolding events as quickly as I would like to, so I am grateful to the dedicated residents who can and do take action.

It turns out that no one else at City Hall was aware of the work starting either. A sub-contractor to EllisDon Corporation, one of the contractors for the Lansdowne redevelopment, had proceeded unilaterally with the planned removal of trees required for soil remediation and the moving of the Horticultural Building. The company did so even though it had not yet received permission to begin, and even though residents had not been properly notified as required, and as promised by me.

Statement on the Lansdowne legal outcome

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The April 30 ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal against the Friends of Lansdowne effectively clears the way for the Lansdowne Partnership Plan to go ahead. This obviously comes as a disappointment for many residents of Capital Ward. We continue to believe that this plan — and the process behind it — are just too flawed to deserve such a major investment of public money and dedication of public space.

We have not been convinced that Lansdowne Park is the right place for a major new stadium, given its relatively poor transportation links, and we do not believe that more retail space is needed in this location. We also remain deeply concerned about the impact of additional daily traffic on the health, safety and social fabric of the residential neighbourhoods in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East.

It is time, however, to move from a position of opposing the Lansdowne Partnership Plan outright to one of more constructive engagement. However unappealing this will sound to many, it is in the details that we must seek ways to refine and improve what is likely to be built.

Lansdowne Park Design Review Panel update

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Shortly before I took office in December 2010, I was appointed to the Lansdowne Design Review Panel. The LDRP has final review authority over the integrated design, landscape and architectural plans for the Lansdowne Park redevelopment that was approved by the previous City Council.

At the time, I was well aware that the majority of Capital Ward residents objected strongly to how the redevelopment had been handled, and to the form it was taking. More than that, I shared your views. So why agree to join the LDRP?

I wanted to be in a better position to influence key decisions and make improvements to a project that was moving forward with or without my support. I saw an opportunity to lend my expertise as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, and as an international consultant on sustainable sports facilities and events.

That didn't mean I would buy in to the project as a whole. As I made clear to Mayor Jim Watson and others, I was there to be a constructive critic and advocate for the interests of Capital Ward, the residents of Ottawa, and the City's long-term financial and environmental health.

If you don’t find the information you need on these pages, please visit ottawa.ca/newlansdowne, or to contact the City directly by email at newlansdowne@ottawa.caor by calling 3-1-1 (press 1 for English, then 5 for the Lansdowne line). If necessary, you may also contact the project manager, Marco Manconi, at 613-580-2424 ext. 43229, or by email.