OOE Updates Dec 2023 1

John Dance is The Mainstreeter’s
chief reporter and the former
Chair of the Old Ottawa East
Community Association’s
Planning Committee.
Relying upon his extensive
experience. he keeps our readers
informed of a wide range of
community developments.



Finally, the City of Ottawa has agreed to clear the snow from the eastern stairs
of the Flora Footbridge. Even before the bridge was completed in 2019, residents
requested that the stairs be cleared in the winter. Up until now, the request was
dismissed with the explanation “there is an alternative path for pedestrians in close
proximity,” a reference to the nearby ramp which has always been cleared.

Councillor Shawn Menard pushed for the snow removal and in a recent review
of the winter maintenance quality standards, City staff proposed a pilot project to
maintain the Corktown and Flora Footbridge stairways this winter.

In previous years, the stairs were blocked off before the first snowfall and barriers
were removed weeks after the last snowfall so that, even though the stairs were clear,
pedestrians were denied access.

Late in November, footbridge pedestrian users overwhelmingly chose the stairs
rather than the ramp to cross the bridge. The stairs save pedestrians about two
minutes per trip and also reduce pedestrian-cyclist conflict.

Last winter, The Mainstreeter pointed out that the City assiduously cleared and
salted the sidewalk for the rarely-used entrance to the storage/electrical room under
the Flora Footbridge’s eastern abutment and questioned why the City couldn’t also
clear the stairs at the same time.

In response to the question of how much the snow clearing will cost, the City
responded, “As there isn’t a specific budget pressure for this pilot project, we will be
using existing contracted services to maintain the additional few stairways.”

Glebe resident Beverly Shapiro appreciates the City’s decision to remove snow from the Flora Footbridge’s eastern stairs. Photo by John Dance

Glebe resident Beverly Shapiro appreciates the City’s decision to remove snow from the Flora Footbridge’s eastern stairs. Photo by John Dance



City staff are recommending a new speed camera on Main Street between Evelyn and Springhurst avenues. Speed camera locations are determined by traffic data and are focused on parks and school zones. Since this location is near three schools—Immaculata, Lady Evelyn and École élémentaire catholique Au Coeur d’Ottawa—it qualified, due to the traffic on Main Street, Councillor Menard’s office reports.

The proposal still has to be reviewed by Hydro to ensure that there is a proper power source. Then it has to be approved by the City’s transportation committee and City Council, but this is all expected in the coming months.


Considerable progress has been made on the new footbridge across the Rideau River at Carleton University but a date has not been set for its opening.

“The Rideau River Pedestrian Bridge is one of many active transportation improvements being delivered as part of the Stage 2 [LRT] project,” says Michael Morgan, the City’s director of the rail construction program. “It is expected to be open after the remaining construction activities are completed, which includes the installation of handrails, final electrical work, and lighting.”

This fall the connecting pathways were constructed and paved so it appears to be near completion.

“The City and TransitNext are focused on bringing the project to substantial completion and will continue to share updates as work progresses,” says Morgan. “We appreciate the community’s patience and share their excitement for this new connectivity feature.”


It’s now been more than a year since the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario tabled its poorly received proposal for replacing the 417 Bridge over the Canal with a construction method that would require 90-week detours of the roadways and pathways under the bridge.

The final transportation environmental study report was supposed to be completed by the spring, then that was revised to the summer and now MTO says “Work to finalize the TESR for public review continues.” There has been no real explanation of why there have been delays nor has there been any indication that the ministry will reduce the very lengthy detours.


The Grande Allée Park in the heart of Greystone Village is tentatively scheduled to open to the public in spring, pending the completion of planned work, favourable weather and site conditions, says the City.

Remaining tasks include the heritage entrance feature installation, site furnishings, and landscaping work. In late fall, lighting and an official sign were installed.


The variety and extent of volunteer effort was on full display at the recent annual general meeting of the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA), embracing everything from filling 119 garbage bags with invasive weeds to providing critical financial analysis of the Lansdowne 2.0 proposal.

Meeting in hybrid form, with the in-person portion at Old Town Hall and Zoom everywhere else, about 90 people participated in the discussion led by president Bob Gordon, the first three-term president ever. MPP Joel Harden attended virtually and expressed his appreciation for all of the work that the association had done during the year. Ariela Summit attended on behalf of Councillor Shawn Menard.

OOECA’s accomplishments included providing two Adirondack chairs for the Brantwood Park beach, supporting the Rideau Winter Trail and a variety of public meetings including the only true consultation meeting on the Lansdowne 2.0 proposal, making the annual Remembrance ceremony at the Brantwood Gates an ongoing responsibility, and pushing back against the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s proposal to detour both Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Colonel By Drive for 90 weeks when the Canal bridge is replaced.


The OOECA Board is composed of a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and directors with specific files, most of whom are supported by a committee and, in some cases, sub-committees. For instance, Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) is the environment committee and has three sub-committees for trees, climate action, and the Rideau River and shoreline and, in addition, specific groups for invasives weeding, turtle protection, and community gardens.

During the open forum part of the meeting, Jennifer Drew suggested that additional efforts be made to solicit the opinions of those who are unable to attend the regular meetings. Several key positions on the Board remain unfilled and volunteers are sought. Specifically, the chair of the planning committee and the secretary position are vacant. And there is always room for additional members on the committees.

The primary funding source for OOECA’s efforts is the annual membership drive. The $5 per family fee is critical for the volunteer efforts. Canvassers go door to door to sign up members but if residents don’t get canvassed they may purchase a membership at Singing Pebble Books on Main Street or sign up on-line at the OOECA website.


Photo by John Dance

Photo by John Dance

So what makes the Rideau Canal so special to you? Ottawa residents recently had the opportunity to express their preferences and concerns as part of the Rideau Canal Cultural Landscape study, which was launched jointly by Parks Canada, the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa. Conclusions from the residents’ survey will form part of a written report scheduled to be completed and published by March. The Rideau Canal is a key defining feature of Old Ottawa East and plays a critical role in the daily lives of most residents, whether they travel beside it or use it for recreation or simply enjoy its scenic pleasures.

The scope of the study is limited to the 8.5 kilometre stretch from the Ottawa River to Hog’s Back. Old Ottawa East borders about a third of this distance and is one five central communities that has a vital stake in the Canal’s future.

“The study will create a guiding document that outlines the heritage values and character defining elements within the study area and how these can best be enhanced and protected for Canadians now and into the future,” according to the study’s website.

The related survey sought “your input on what makes the Rideau Canal an important place.” Specifically, respondents were asked how often they used the Canal and its lands, favourite places, what heritage values need protection and what could be added.

The Rideau Canal was completed in 1832 and, while its use has evolved over the years, it is one of the defining features of the National Capital area. It’s designated as a world heritage site, a national historic site of Canada and a Canadian heritage river.

One issue raised during the stakeholder discussions held in November, was the appropriateness of Lansdowne stadium’s very large TD sign that dominates the Canal viewscape. The City of Ottawa approved this sign and neither the National Capital Commission nor the City of Ottawa objected. It will be interesting to see how the study deals with such conspicuous commercialization.

The survey questions can be accessed at: https://ncc-ccn.questionpro.ca/a/TakeSurvey?tt=e5E%2BwXAx1idINY%2BFcZ8IvQ%3D%3D&lcfpn=false

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page

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