Monday, September 6, 2010

DCA Minutes (draft) Sept 1, 2010

 Minutes, 1 Sept 2010

The first fall meeting of the DCA, on 1 Sept 2010, started with a review of ongoing neighborhood issues, so everyone can be aware of what has transpired, gets up to date, and can give input going forward. The Association meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Dalhousie Community Centre, corner of Empress and Somerset, everyone is welcome.

Present: Eric Darwin, Maija Kagis, Zsofia Orosz, Catherine Boucher, Charles Akben-Marchand, Archie Campbell, Michael Hatfield, David Seaborn, Laura Bergen, Jessica Scallen, Craig Haines.

Minutes of June, 2010: approved as amended by board members and shown on our website www.OttawaDalhousie.ca. Moved by David, seconded by Craig.

Mainstreets:

Bambinos project, corner Gladstone/Preston: as part of the landscaping project, a colonnade gateway has been approved for this location and foundations will be installed probably this fall. Condolences were made for the five pine trees at the corner that will be removed. The form of the bambinos themselves is still evolving. The Association hopes that there will be a public opportunity for residents to see the final form of the Bambinos, which are about 21 feet high, before they are cast in concrete. Eric to write to DH and PBIA asking for this opportunity.

There will be sculpture walks/talks for the opening of the West Wellington sculptures on 25 Sept. Sign up at publicartprogram@ottawa.ca . Note that the Chinatown Arch opens Oct. 7; we do not yet have details on the ceremonies and celebrations planned for that event. The Preston BIA wants the fifteen Preston sculptures to open in September as well, to go with Vendemmia, a fall grape festival. The Preston date is still unsettled. The Association will post info for all these openings at its web site http://www.ottawadalhousie.ca/ . There will be an article in this issue of the Buzz on the Preston sculpture artist, c j fleury. Eric and Lori saw the sculptures in progress in mid July, and the DCA wrote a letter of support for c j fleury dealing with a possible ‘controversy’ (July 15). After some discussion, the Association decided it was OK with the sculptures being installed on a weekend or at night if they could not be installed during a weekday due to traffic congestion concerns.

PBIA is doing an innovative survey of area residents and employees for the future retail wanted along Preston. Be sure to fill out their survey at http://www.prestonstreet.com/ . Crowd sourcing can work.

Somerset reconstruction: Project start has been much delayed by the environmental approval process. The detour will start Sept 7th – street open EB but closed WB. We don’t yet know if WB will remain open for the Pool and local businesses local traffic or if it will be total one-way conditions [note: there will be no west bound traffic permitted anyway along the construction zone]. City hole digging will commence Sept 13th at Breezehill end. Tomlinson will work through the winter as late as possible, but sidewalks will not go in until March-April 2011, nor will the street get repaved except as a temporary surface at the end of November. Cost $4.5million, as expected. Tentative meeting date of 15 Sept for stakeholder group to consider the cycling underpass concept, railing choices, and the Preston-Booth segment. Significant issues will be parking bays and how they work if the segregated bike lanes are going to be considered on Somerset west of Bronson.

Little Italy street garden at 301 Preston: site is smaller than expected as streetscaping planting put in more shrubs. Contact with Ottawa Horticultural Society opened. Some funding available from PBIA, and there is a water source at the site. Where to go from here??

During the Preston landscaping, periwinkle was planted under the gingko trees that run along the east side of Plouffe Park and behind the screening wall at the Bank of Nova Scotia. They are not thriving, possibly because of too much sun. The landscape architect will address the situation next week, and either the area will be replanted with bigger plants or a different species will be used.

Real Estate:

Mastercraft has revised their project for 125 Hickory. The 24 storey tower becomes 20, the 20 tower becomes 16. They also added a storefront or commercial space. Eric has been discussing this with CHNA. Still unaddressed is the number of parking spaces “required” for the building. We continue to call for Hickory overpass over O-tain cut to be constructed simultaneously with the development, and for the city to take up the builder’s offer of financial assistance for this overpass. Eric to write to City.

[David Seaborn leaves the room]. Claridge proposal for 403 Albert Street (the parking lot at Queen/Lyon/Albert, opposite the Crowne Plaza Hotel, behind Barbarellas Club). Originally Claridge wanted 2x28 storey condo + one 20 storey condo. Now being revised, 20 storey is reduced to 14. Issue of lot coverage. DCA expressed opinion to City planners and our Councillor on A) access to DOTT as this development is above the downtown west station, and B)the city’s “reduced parking maximum” (because the building is at a transit station) is higher than the builder wants to build anyway (ie City standards are a farce). The COA is considering the issue on 15 Sept. We did not formally issue a position during the summer as A)it is a few feet outside our boundary, and B) our requests for info from CCCA for their views (so we could coordinate) went unanswered. The Association decided to provide input to the COA immediately. We would like to link the developer's desire for more height and density to the City's need for access to the underground metro station (ie, trade height for depth). There was discussion on whether it is the city or developers that wants new condos built close to the sidewalk, Eric to follow up. [DS returns]

Cathedral Hill development. This is for the lots of land surrounding Christ Church Cathedral, ie Sparks, Bronson, Queen – most of a city block. DCA board met with proponent on July 21. Church proposes to demolish the 1960’s hall facing Sparks, and 2 houses facing Queen (but keeping and reusing the facades). They will keep Roper Hall, and the Archbishops residence facing west over Bronson. They propose a 20 storey condo tower running N/S through the block where the two houses are now; a new office building (low rise) where the 60’s Hall is; and a new office building of 20 floors on the existing church parking lot facing Sparks. Sparks may be dead ended at the Cathedral. Lots of underground parking, 200 year lease deal, preserved views for The Gardens condo but not others. Public meeting expected in the fall. Generally, we were pleased with the care and thought that went into the proposal.

Chinese Alliance Church: (Eccles/Bell/LeBreton streets) has agreed to add two residential units to the fa├žade of the new church hall facing Bell. This is a significant compromise from the church; as for parking and access their plan meets all (new) city standards.

73 Aberdeen: lots of time was spent during the summer on this proposal. Proponent won rezoning to convert house to a two-storey art gallery with commercial-looking storefront, plus an art school, including one one-bedroom apt. on the ground floor. City interprets CDP and neighborhood plans calling for mixed use intensified development near transit stations as meaning residences can be converted to commercial uses provided some residential uses are retained. Suggest we investigate further as part of CDP process as that addresses neighborhood zoning. We want to preserve residential areas and focus commercial uses on mainstreets.

Underway: the Cornerstone project and the Z6, both on Booth Street, are both fully framed and exterior cladding will go on shortly. Both projects should look good.

Transportation:

Pay and Display units already installed on Preston, in progress on Somerset. A few meter posts converted to bike posts on Somerset only, none (yet?) on Preston. A parking study for the lot at Cambridge/Somerset may get underway in 2011 (takes one year) to determine the number of spaces the city might want there if the lot is developed for residential uses. We hear some noises about the need for a parking study for side streets off Preston where office parking is an issue. Somerset west of Preston is currently not metered – should it be? After a discussion of whether we want to see if the parking study could be expanded to include the whole of Dalhousie, ie Somerset issues, Preston issues, sidestreet issues, Somerset, Plant Pool lot, NRC Booth St complex, we decided that would be too cumbersome. Instead, we will express support for a parking meters on Somerset west of Preston, including the Plant Pool lot; and for a review of parking hours on the side streets off Preston where all-day office parking is a problem.

O-Train Bike Path. The city approved funding (subject to not being cut from the budget) to plan and construct the O-Train bike path. The Association decided to ask for a consultation of stakeholders (DCA, CHNA, HCA, Carling-Bayview CDP, bike groups, BIA) early enough in the planning process to influence the size, shape, and location of the paths before they are locked in place by the bureaucracy. Upcoming public meetings on cycling are Sept 22, bike lessons from Europe; Oct 6, noted bike planner from Holland.

Bronson. We have successfully raised the profile of the project and our problems with it, by using the “fake trees” as a hook. Got newspaper coverage, radio news, CFRA, CBC. CBC Morning coverage on the first day http://www.ericdarwin.ca/downloads/CBC_Bronson_Fake_Trees.mp3  got lots of listener response, and they did a followup on day 2: http://www.ericdarwin.ca/downloads/CBC_Bronson_Road_Diet.mp3 , which also got a lot of response. CBC declined to do another show “at this time” but wants to follow up in the fall. [subsequent to the DCA meeting, the City decided to conduct some sort of road diet study on Bronson, details yet to be determined].

Carling Avenue reconstruction, O-Train to Bronson: We feel there is lots of room for improvement on this road too. DCA suggested better median plantings; signals at O-Train for the new bike path, reduced merge lanes, ped lighting, ped gateways, etc. City proposals remain way too commuter-centric for cars and offer token improvements to peds, cyclists, and transit. We agreed to keep up the pressure this fall.

Interprovincial Transit Strategy survey. DCA sent comments as outlined at our last meeting, and after Eric attended open house on subject. Subsequently, questions have arisen on the capacity of the DOTT to handle a LRT service to Gatineau.

Western Leg LRT study: City has started up study to determine route options for the LRT from Bayview to Lincoln Fields, eg west from Tunney’s along transitway/parkway; or south along O-train corridor then west along Carling , etc etc. Eric sits on the City committee. Will meet with key consultants and staff on Sept 27th to raise our issues, including evaluation criteria, capacity, design, etc.

Carling-Bayview CDP: next stakeholder meeting yet to be determined. It is to focus on the Gladstone area of the corridor.

Other issues:

Rochester Heights playground build brought out lots of people.

Signs on 333 Preston Street (E-mail discussion Aug 6-8). The DCA did not oppose the Royal Bank sign on the tower.

Fall Cleaning the Capital (Fwd from Laura, Aug 16). Maija suggested that this fall we focus on a cleanup and weeding along Preston Street to be done in the week before the sculptures are unveiled, when we expect lots of visitors to the street and want to look our best.

Patio Encroachments (Aug 31). DCA wrote to support current policy of asking neighborhood opinion before approving patios.

Buzz deadline Sept 7

Next meeting: 6 October 2010 at the DCC, corner of Somerset/Empress, at 7.30pm.

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