Progress Made on Grand Allée Park Design Planning

JOHN DANCE

The plans for Grand Allée park in the heart of Grand Allée parkt now include distinctive entrance features, carefully designed stall areas for the Main Farmers’ Market and naturalized plantings to help protect the large maples that line the allée that runs from Main Street to a second park that will be in front of the Deschâtelets Building.

Representatives of the community association, Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) and the Farmers’ Market recently met Farmers’ Market staff and City representatives to review the latest design – and they responded favourably.

Community consultation on the park began in 2015 and the vision for an “urban, linear” park has been carefully developed to ensure the view of Deschâtelets and the heritage trees are well maintained.

Distinctive entrance features based on proportions of the Deschâtelets Building’s windows are proposed for the new park. Image Supplied Regional Group

Distinctive entrance features based on proportions of the Deschâtelets Building’s windows are proposed for the new park.
Image Supplied Regional Group

Landscape architect Jessica Palacios says the park will be a place to grab a coffee and sit – “it’s more a European style park … a beautiful path between the trees.” The park is intended for pedestrian use with temporary vehicular access to set up special events such as the Farmer’s Market or conduct operations and maintenance.

The park will use similar site finishes and furnishings as those used on Main Street to visually tie the two areas together, such as, pavers, benches, bike stands and lighting standards.

Two steel structures replicating the proportions of Deschâtelets’ windows will be placed on each side of the Grand Allée to mark the Main Street entrance to the park.

Given the City of Ottawa’s policy of minimizing operational expenditures, SLOE will be seeking volunteers to help with maintaining the new park’s native perennials and shrubs.

While the new park will have electricity available for the market vendors and others, no washrooms are planned. “Washrooms and a handwashing station [in] the Grand Allée are constrained due to heritage trees, size and configuration,” noted Regional’s Erin O’Connor. “We may need to consider temporary solutions until the Forecourt Park and the City recreation facility in the Deschâtelets Building are built.”

The targeted park opening is set for 2023 once Regional’s new buildings along des Oblats are completed. Regional says there may be cafés and restaurants on the Grande Allée side of the new buildings where park users could pick up a coffee or food. Residents will be able to walk between the two new buildings to reach the new park from des Oblats.

Suggestions raised through the recent consultation session included: providing picnic tables; ensuring safe night lighting and snow removal in the winter; creating a long-term succession/replacement plan for the large old maples; and adding a pediment feature on the entrance structures to reflect a key design element of Deschâtelets.

With the conspicuous success of the large colourful GLEBE lettering that was recently installed at the community’s northern Bank Street entrance, one resident has suggested that a similar OOE/VOE installation near the entrance to the Grande Allée “would certainly heighten our community profile, enhance community pride and give everyone a handy spot to meet.”

The design and consultation process for the Grand Allée park is markedly different than the scant consultation that OSEG and the City have done for Aberdeen Square in Lansdowne Park. Unlike the OSEG case, in Old Ottawa East, Regional, the City and community groups have worked over a number of years to produce a satisfactory design.

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