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.



Photo Supplied

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The future of 100 Riverdale Avenue, a large lot on the west side of the street, remains unclear. However, the likelihood of it being redeveloped into four or more units with a very high number of bedrooms has diminished after one of the lot’s owners brought a recent informal consultation session to a halt when he said he did not support the multiple-unit proposal that the other owner was promoting.

Jim Naida, one of the co-owners and a long-time Old Ottawa East resident, wants to redevelop the lot consistent with what has been built along Riverdale between Main Street and Avenue Road over the last decade. The other co-owner had drafted a plan for two “long-semis”, with a total of four dwelling units and with a combined 36 bedrooms. Neighbouring residents took exception to the multi-unit scheme and the abnormally high number of bedrooms.

Some residents were of the view that the “prairie-style” house should not be demolished but, given that it has no heritage status and it is on a large valuable lot, demolition is probably inevitable.


Another two months have passed and still no news from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) on when it will complete its environmental study for the replacement of the deteriorating Highway 417 bridge over the Rideau Canal.

It’s now been a year and a half since MTO proposed a plan that would require 90-week detours of both Canal parkways – a plan that had not been raised in the previous five years of so-called consultation. The Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA) and others strenuously objected to the detour plan but MTO has shown no indication that these objections will be addressed.

The final transportation environment study report for the project was to have been completed a year ago and no explanation has been provided by MTO for the lengthy delay.

Meanwhile, OOECA has called for MTO to re-open consultation. In a recent email to MTO, OOECA transportation chair Tom Scott noted that MTO has selected a bridge replacement option “that had not been part of any prior meaningful consultation, but also one that had very serious and previously unseen impacts on downtown transportation – both for vehicular and for active users.”

“Several of our neighbouring community associations equally impacted by the Rideau Canal Bridge reconstruction reported to us that they had not been engaged at all,” Scott also noted.

When the project was first launched in 2017, MTO committed to “consultation throughout” the entire planning process. The reality is that there has been little “consultation throughout” and none with community associations and residents for the last year and a half.


Brantwood Park will soon have ‘three-stream waste diversion receptacles’, so that park users may have much of their waste recycled. The new receptacles are part of a City pilot project called “Waste Diversion in Parks” to determine the best means of ensuring that park users recycle their waste.

Brantwook Park will have the same "three-stream waste diversion receptacles" that Windsor Park has. Photo by John Dance

Brantwook Park will have the same “three-stream waste diversion receptacles” that Windsor Park has. Photo by John Dance

Windsor Park in Old Ottawa South was the first Capital Ward park to have the triple receptacles. Old Ottawa East residents have suggested that there is an even greater need for them in the busier Springhurst Park. The Councillor’s office says that efforts will be made to have receptacles there too.

The contents of black and green bins at parks are a little different than the comparably coloured bins used at residences. The park black bin accepts trash that is neither recyclable nor compostable – unlike the residential black bin that is for paper items. The park green bin is almost the same as the residential green bin in that it accepts all compostable material including dog waste. But in addition, paper items should go into the park green bin given that there is very little of this material generated in parks and most of it is soiled from food. The blue bins for both parks and residences accept metal and plastic items.


Barring any unforeseen utility issues, City staff expect that a speed camera will be installed on Main Street between Evelyn and Springhurst avenues by the end of 2024. In February, Hydro Ottawa confirmed appropriate on-site power requirements. The site will now undergo design and utility circulation to confirm feasibility.

The “community safety zone” camera will be the first in Old Ottawa East, although there are currently about 40 in other Ottawa locations. The cameras are located in certain community safety zones, near schools or parks, where speeding is a risk to most vulnerable road users.

According to the City’s website, speed cameras have had a positive impact on driver speed and safety in school zones with a 200 percent increase in compliance with the speed limit.

“Once the cameras are active, motorists photographed speeding through these areas will get a ticket,” says the website. “Like speeding tickets issued by police officers, the fine amount will be based on how much the driver was exceeding the posted speed limit. Since all City of Ottawa speed cameras are installed in Community Safety Zones, fines will be doubled – even if it occurred outside of school hours.” Revenue from the fines is invested in road safety programs.


The difficult challenge of successfully objecting to requested minor variances for a new development became even more apparent with a recent Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) decision that supported the applicants’ appeal of a construction project at 435 Echo Drive. The OLT appeal pertained to a proposed new three-storey house with an elevator penthouse and a roof-top patio that will entail the demolition of an existing brick house.

The Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA) had objected to two of the four requested minor variances and the local Committee of Adjustment ruled in favour of OOECA. However, the applicants appealed the decisions to the OLT, and with the support of lawyers and a planning consultant, they convinced the OLT adjudicator to overturn the local decision. The two contested variances related to an extra metre of height and a smaller rear-yard than allowed by the applicable zoning by-law.

OOECA objections to the variances were not supported by either City of Ottawa or National Capital Commission staff. Although OOECA spent considerable effort in objecting to the variances when they were considered by the City’s Committee of Adjustment, the community association did not have the capacity to appear at the OLT hearing or to hire a lawyer or planner to represent it. One OOECA member attempted to get ‘party status’ in order to speak at the hearing but the adjudicator ruled he did not apply for status in time and to allow him to speak would result in “prejudice to the Appellant.”

For future development applications, OOECA’s planning committee will focus its attention on the minor variances that seek material increases in height or reduced rear and front yards adversely affecting existing trees or the ability to add trees within the area of prescribed yards.


In addition to the new Main Street speed camera near Immaculata and Lady Evelyn schools, Councillor Shawn Menard has requested that the City install a speed board (also known as speed limit boards) for northbound Main Street at Toronto Street. A speed board displays the speed of passing vehicles and flashes when a vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit.

For years, residents in that area have objected to cars speeding off the McIlraith (Smyth) Bridge into Old Ottawa East. Now that the speed limit has been lowered to 40km/h on Main, the speeding has become even more noticeable.

The speed board will be funded from the Capital Ward traffic calming budget. Although speed boards do not have a direct impact on the enforcement of speed limits, residents will doubtless keep a close eye on just how much speeding the new speed board indicates and, depending on what’s observed, make complaints to Ottawa Police Services.


The likely opening of the new Grande Allée Park is tentatively scheduled for later in May. Although the work looks to be nearly completed, considerable testing, review and inspection of the works installed last fall is required.

The new lighting, drainage and electrical systems must be tested. The heritage trees which are the defining feature of the park require a health assessment and some pruning.

A key function of the park is to serve as the new permanent home of the Main Farmers’ Market and any delay in opening the park will cause difficulties for the Ottawa Farmers Market, the new manager of our local market.


Well, it was better than last year but, sadly, a far cry from what we were used to. The Rideau Canal Skateway opened January 21st and closed February 25th, but over this 36-day period the Skateway was open for only 10 days.

Last year, the Skateway wasn’t open at all. These last two years show the drastic impact of climate change on Ottawa and our community’s most important winter playground.

Fortunately for Old Ottawa East’s skaters, the portion of the Skateway that opened was all along our western “shoreline.” Initially, just the Pretoria Bridge to Bank Street stretch was open but, subsequently, the Skateway opened beyond the Concord change house.

However, this stretch had far from the near perfect surface that skaters have become used to. Indeed, the National Capital Commission (NCC) recommended walking rather than skating on some days when the Skateway was open.

As quoted in a recent Globe and Mail story, NCC chief executive officer Toby Nussbaum said, “The struggle to keep the Skateway open not only lays bare the climate crisis, it feels like a battle to conserve a critical part of our collective understanding of who we are as Canadians.”

The NCC’s final words were, “Our 54th season on the Rideau Canal Skateway has officially come to an end. Despite the feeble winter, you came out in full force and your enthusiasm was palpable!”

Many people used the Clegg Street stairs in order to access the Canal Skateway on the few days this winter it was available for skating.  Photo by John Dance

Many people used the Clegg Street stairs in order to access the Canal Skateway on the few days this winter it was available for skating. Photo by John Dance

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page

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