Background

The City of Ottawa has posted its “final” concept plan for 1010 Somerset Street – the area west of the Plant Recreation Centre and Plouffe Park border extending to the pathway next to the O-Train (LRT) tracks:

https://engage.ottawa.ca/1010-somerset

Plouffe Park has been preserved and space in the 1010 development site has been allocated for a much-needed new school site for the Louise-Arbour French public elementary school community, new parkland, a new recreation centre and multiple new residential buildings.

The amount of new parkland seems to be 55% the amount previously promised (see the Corso Italia Secondary Plan, p. 127) and there are ways the quality and safety of the parkland could be improved. Parkland in Somerset Ward is 0.54 Ha/1000 persons. In the local neighbourhood (Dalhousie) it is even less. The City aspires to 2.0 Ha/1000. About 14,000 additional residents are expected to be housed in the nearby area (Corso Italia) in the next decade, ten times the current population. Having sufficient parkland is essential to community health and well-being.

Have your say

As the timeline for engagement on this concept plan is expected to be very short, now is the time to share your views with the City on this plan and describe the changes you would like to see to make this development better for our community.

There is no survey with this round of engagement; instead you can share your views at the virtual consultation, through the Engage Ottawa site and by writing to city councillors and the mayor of Ottawa. Earlier rounds of comments from the public have already resulted in improvements to the plan – this is another opportunity to suggest how we can make the site better for all and also share your ideas about how to make the new parkland and the new recreational centre the best they can be for our community.

Here are some questions you may want to consider in sharing your views on how to make 1010 Somerset a better site for everyone:

  1. CAN WE FIT MORE PARKLAND INTO THE SITE?

The community was promised much more parkland on this site than the current concept plan provides. With greenspace already very low compared to other Ottawa neighbourhoods and thousands of new residents expected nearby in the coming years, it’s essential to have as much parkland on this site as possible for the health and wellbeing of our neighbours. 

If you agree, ask the City to consider:

  • Finding another location for the district heating plant, not on parkland
  • Reducing the land for a “future residential site” by changing the southern edge to parkland 
  • Saving all of Plouffe Park: with the current plan, it appears the western edge of Plouffe including trees will be lost to provide a lane for school buses, reducing the park by about 20%.
    • Use Oak Street which would also be safer for children moving from the school to Plouffe Park
    • If only absolutely necessary as a fire lane, move the southern section of the lane to the west and at the top of the hill.
  1. CAN WE MAKE THE PARKLAND BETTER FOR THE COMMUNITY?

Earlier plans for this site had continuous green space from Preston west to the pathway near the O-train tracks. The current plan chops up the green space and cuts off much of it visually from Somerset and Preston streets with only narrow paths for access. Ample green corridors from Somerset and Preston would improve access and visibility, making the parkland safer and more inviting for community use. Refinements to the concept plan could make the parkland and the overall site much better.

If you agree, ask the City to consider:

  • Improving the connections between Plouffe Park and the new parkland with wider green corridors to improve access, visibility and safety and the quality of the parkland (including sufficient space for trees and plants).
  • Improving the usability of Plouffe Park (including keeping the grass growing all season) which is expected to be used by hundreds more children once the school is operating. 
  • Extending parkland north to Somerset in place of the mid-rise building site to create clear access and visibility from this street (move this building to the future residential block).
  • Reducing hardscaping in favour of permeable surfaces, consistent with broader efforts to better manage heavy rainfalls and reduce flooding.
  • Providing pathways that safely accommodate both foot and bicycle traffic.
  • Reducing vehicle lanes to the absolute minimum, while still providing access to emergency vehicles, including using Oak Street for school buses.

What we’ve been doing

Members of the P4X have written the following letters to Councillors and City staff. Check them out below and read more about how we can make this development work for everyone in our neighbourhood.