OOECA Update

Lots of Leeway at Lees

Old Ottawa East has a considerable variety of neighbourhoods but the Lees community is unique.

Lees – particularly the five apartment towers – has as many people as the rest of the neighbourhoods combined.

It is the focal point for major city initiatives yet quite underrepresented within community organizations.

This past summer saw the city prepare its transit-oriented development (TOD) plan for the area around the Lees light rail transit station (LRT). This initiative has the potential to quadruple the population of the Lees neighbourhood over the long term.

Work continues to finish the pathway running along the river behind the apartment buildings. Improvements to Springhurst Park are well underway.

Meanwhile, traffic on Lees has become even worse than usual with the five-year closure of the eastbound on-ramp at the Queensway.

Over the last five years, significant improvements have taken place in the Lees neighbourhood: new businesses on the ground floors of some apartment buildings, a path from the transit way bridge to the Oblate property at Saint Paul University and an established presence of the University of Ottawa on what was once the Algonquin College campus.

The U of O has opened a playing field and stadium in the Lees neighbourhood. Running behind the stadium is a new path that travels half the length of the university’s river frontage. Originally, the university was reluctant to build the path but after listening to concerns of residents it relented and literally cut corners on the playing field to build the path.

Community involvement also helped relocate the proposed LRT parking lot from the green space between 170 Lees Ave. and Springhurst Park to an unused site just to the north of the university’s campus. Many apartment residents made their voices heard.

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and the Old Ottawa East Community Activities Group have launched an initiative to improve Springhurst Park. Also, CAG is expanding the range of programs available at Springhurst Park and seeking funds for additional park amenities.

To ensure new developments and transportation links really work, it is important the talents and concerns of residents of the Lees towers become more a part of the community’s planning and programming efforts. Please get involved and volunteer with CAG, Sustainable Living Ottawa East, or the community association.

For more information please contact info@ottawaeast.ca.

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