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.



If weather permits, construction on the new Springhurst dock is scheduled to begin this month, City staff report. Otherwise, construction activities will begin in July so that construction does not interfere with fish spawning and other environmental constraints on the site.

“Once construction begins, the site will be fenced off to ensure it is safe,” says Dan Chenier, the City’s general manager of recreation, cultural and facility services. “Staff anticipate that the work should be completed by the end of August.”

The Grande Allée Park is substantially complete but final work and inspections still need to be completed prior to the City assuming control of the park, reports Chenier. “Once the work is completed and approved by the City, the fences will be removed, and the park will be opened to the public. It is anticipated that the contractor’s fencing will remain in place until the spring.” Next winter, “(i)t is anticipated that the Grand Allée Park will be plowed, and winter maintained,” he says.


More delays in Ministry of Education approvals of designs and for additional funding have pushed the forecast opening of Au Coeur d’Ottawa elementary school in the Deschâtelets Building to September 2025. Originally, the opening was forecast for 2022. Over the last two years, major structural and exterior improvements have been made.

In December, parents were informed by the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) that the call for tenders was progressing quickly, and a construction permit request was submitted to the city that same month, “marking a crucial step in the realization of this project.”

“We look forward to moving to the next stage with the interior design of the building, as soon as the required funding and authorizations are granted by the Ministry of Education,” noted Danielle Chatelain, CECCE superintendent of education.

In related news, the City’s Dan Chenier says, “Construction of the new Old Ottawa East Community Centre is contingent on approval of provincial funding for the CECCE’s school project for the Deschâtelets Building. Once funding has been confirmed, City staff will finalize timelines for the new community centre and provide updates on estimated opening dates for the facilities.”

“The new community centre project will not have any direct impacts or changes to Old Town Hall [OOE’s current community centre],” says Chenier. “The existing town hall structure will continue to receive regular maintenance and lifecycle work.”


The nine-storey Spencer condominium building with 85 units now under construction at the corner of Hazel Street and Deschâtelets Avenue will have its first occupancy this summer.

Leasing of the completed Milieu and the Ballantyne, the two large apartment buildings on the south side of des Oblates Avenue, is progressing well, Regional Group reports.

Regional has not yet confirmed the tenure (condominium or rental) of the two approved Phase 3 buildings just to the south and east of the Deschâtelets Building or their construction schedule.

Planning of Phase 4, the final part of Regional’s Greystone Village, is underway and consists of the semi-circular area bounded by the Grande Allée Park on the west and the Forecourt Park on the east, just in front of the Deschâtelets Building. Dubbed “Greystone Forecourt,” Regional is proposing about 30 freehold dwelling units in eight different groupings. Regional has had preliminary discussions with the OOECA planning committee and will be consulting with the broader community before long.

In terms of overall number of units, there will be 968 total units, including units occupied, under construction, and forecasted within Greystone Village (excluding the retirement residence).


The new six-storey apartment building – the “ECHO” – at the corner of Main Street and Echo Drive will welcome its first residents this month.

The new building has 53 suites ranging in size from 585 to 1,285 square feet, catering to diverse needs and preferences. “Among these suites, there are 28 one-bedroom layouts and 25 spacious two-bedroom layouts – as well as some unique ground floor suites that present live-work opportunity and unique terraced connections to Main Street,” says Emily Meyers, Uniform Living’s marketing manager. Rental rates range from $2470 to $5200 and indoor parking and storage is also available.

Emily Meyers stands beside 115 Echo’s prominent entrance feature with its restored bell from the now demolished Holy Trinity Church. Photo by John Dance

Emily Meyers stands beside 115 Echo’s prominent entrance feature with its restored bell from the now demolished Holy Trinity Church. Photo by John Dance

“We have nearly 25 percent of the building rented to date, and we are very pleased with this response given we launched only recently,” says Meyers. “Our feedback from clientele is that the building is stunning with great attention to detail, the location is unmatched and the proximity to vibrant spaces and places in Ottawa is opportune.”

The bell from Holy Trinity Church that once stood on the site has been fully restored and now shines prominently within a limestone entrance feature in front of the building’s front doors. “This nod to the history of this address is really lovely and creates a stunning focal point for our residents and the greater neighbourhood to enjoy,” says Meyers.


The transportation environmental study report (TESR) for the replacement of the Highway 417 bridge over the Rideau Canal is now a year late, yet it seems the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) still has no intention of consulting further despite the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA) strongly opposing MTO’s preferred option that involves detours of both Canal parkways for up to 90 weeks.

Since the last consultation in November 2022, the only community contact was through a meeting arranged by Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden. But this meeting was simply a matter of MTO reiterating why it was recommending closing the Canal parkways and pathways to allow the bridge replacement.

In December, OOECA president Bob Gordon wrote to Harden requesting thatMTO “immediately freeze its planning of the replacement of the 417 bridge …and should properly consult with affected communities before going further.” MTO responded to Harden saying, “The proposed 90-week closure length is a worst-case scenario, and the potential opportunity to reduce the closure length will be further reviewed in the subsequent detailed design stage with input from stakeholders.”

The Mainstreeter then asked MTO what the “best-case” scenario would be, and they didn’t initially respond to this question. But when prodded, MTO said, “[T]he potential opportunity to reduce the closure length will be further reviewed during the detail design stage.”

“The biggest failure on MTO’s part is not defining any further community engagement and consultation during this phase of the environmental assessment process,” says Tom Scott, OOECA’s transportation director. “They will publish the TESR without any requirement to consult and without any requirement to disclose the current level of dissatisfaction. It’s really just too opaque.” Stay tuned for the next installment on this so-called consultation.


More trees and other improvements to the Grande Allée and Forecourt parks are sought by the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA). The association’s goal is to have the Allée “lined and well shaded by two rows of thriving trees so that when failing trees are removed there will be succession trees of substantial size,” OOECA president Bob Gordon wrote to city manager Wendy Stephanson.

The construction of the Grande Allée Park running from Main Street almost to the Deschâtelets Building is now largely complete and several new trees were planted near Main Street. However, it’s the community association’s view that more trees should be planted near Main Street and between existing trees that are in declining health.

Gordon also requested the City ensure “that the width of the Grande Allée corridor, as currently defined by the southern faces of the two new buildings between des Oblats Avenue and the Grande Allée, applies all along the Grande Allée, from Main Street to the Forecourt Park in front of the Deschâtelets Building.”

The context for Gordon’s comment is that The Regional Group’s draft plan for “Greystone Forecourt” appears to encroach on the Allée’s viewscape from Main Street and, if built, would narrow the width of the Allée. That said, Regional says it will be revising its plan that has been presented to the community association’s Planning Committee.

Several other issues are also of concern to OOECA. Gordon urged the City to provide a safe crossing of Deschâtelets Avenue for pedestrians and cyclists so that they can move comfortably and safely from the Allée to Forecourt Park and on to the river pathway. Secondly, he raised concerns about the use of the fire lane in front of the Deschâtelets Building.

Originally, the fire lane was planned solely for emergency vehicles but now the City and the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est are proposing that it will be the drop-off zone for students of the new elementary school in Deschâtelets. Ongoing involvement in the planning of the Forecourt Park was also sought by Gordon.


Following a rigorous and independent process to replace Chantal Beauvais, Saint Paul University has announced the appointment of Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux as the university’s 7th rector. Dr. Leroux will assume his new duties later this spring.

Dr. Leroux joins Saint Paul from Concordia University in Montreal, where he held the position of Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

OOE Community Updates - Dr Louis Patrick Leroux -New St Paul Rector

“After intensive years of researching, creating and teaching, I understand very well that collaboration and innovative solutions can lead to positive social change,” explained Dr. Leroux. “The constant dynamism shown by the Saint Paul University community in its mission to create a better world is something that inspires me. It is an honour for me to represent this institution.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux to Saint Paul University. With his rich experience as a leader and researcher, he embodies the core values of our institution,” said Marie-Michèle Laferrière, President of the Board of Governors. “His daily commitment to making the world a fairer place through the arts is a testament to his bold vision and commitment to social justice.”

Filed in: Front Page

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