SLOE studying options for sustainable development of Oblate lands

Image, left: Members of the “Deep Sustainability” team include, from left, seated: Patricia Ballamingie, Gabi Schaeffer, John Dance and Jamie Brougham. Standing: Rebecca Aird, Michael Oster and Ian McRae.  Missing from photo: Mary Trudeau and Lalith Gunaratne.

Members of Sustainable Living Ottawa East are leading a research effort to identify opportunities for sustainability in the development of a 12-hectare parcel of land north of Saint Paul University on Main Street.

A sustainable future for the land is important, SLOE members say, not just for the immediate community but also for the city, given the rare opportunity for the development of such a large area in central Ottawa.

The current property owners—the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the university itself—presented a development plan to the community two years ago. That plan and a secondary version laid a foundation for integrating leading-edge design and technology practices.

The SLOE steering group is aware that its ability to influence what happens on the land is limited, given they are neither its owners or developers. They see their role as one that will bring credible, well-researched ideas to the table in advance of the land’s development.

The steering group made a presentation to the Ottawa East Community Association, April 9. It identified four key areas of sustainability.

  • Connectivity and community: create a more livable Old Ottawa East by optimizing links, services, and amenities to serve the new development and surrounding community. This would involve assessing community needs based on current and projected population growth, and exploring options to meet those needs as part of the development.

  • Affordability and seniors housing: ensure the development meets the city’s target to have a minimum of 25 percent of all new units be affordable housing. It would also mean providing options for seniors, including members of the religious orders that currently own the property, to remain in the community. Researchers will look at innovative and best practices for affordable housing options and meeting the needs of seniors in a new urban development.

  • Storm water management and shoreline restoration: maximize storm water infiltration and optimize the ecological health of the Rideau River shoreline. This would involve a landscape-based approach that respected natural features while addressing other uses of the land, such as a multi-use pathway.

  • Energy sustainability: maximize sustainable approaches to energy supply and demand in the new development and surrounding community.

Through a partnership with Carleton University, the steering group is developing relationships with faculty and students, not only from Carleton but also the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College.

Research activities in the initial phase include:

  • Reviewing and assessing the implications of relevant city plans and community conditions

  • Researching approaches and achievements in comparable developments

  • Applying the information to specific options and approaches to be considered.

Researchers will produce a short visual presentation and written summary of findings and recommendations as a foundation for community discussion. There will be a forum of experts and key stakeholders in the late fall of 2013. Researchers will pursue more study, pending outcomes from that forum.

To get involved, or to stay posted on progress via the SLOE newsletter, please email


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