Showing posts from 2011

Reply from Watson re U-Pass

Dear Eric,Thank you for your e-mail regarding the U-Pass program. I appreciate your opinion on this matter, and want to make sure that you have a proper perspective on the background of the program, and the process going forward. The current U-Pass pricing of $145 was part of the introduction of a pilot project in 2009-10. At that time, it was made absolutely clear that the price would eventually be raised to a price that is “revenue neutral” for the City of Ottawa. This means a price that provides a balance between revenues that OC Transpo received from post-secondary student riders prior to the program, and the increase in usage and revenue that was anticipated from the program. This is the "revenue neutral" concept that you have no doubt heard about. Further, the price was supposed to be raised to revenue neutral last year as part of the 2011 budget, however your student federations were unable to properly coordinate the required referenda to authorize a more perman

letter to Watson re Bronson

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 Eric Darwin, President Mayor Jim Watson City of Ottawa Re Bronson Avenue Dear Mayor Watson In tough economic times the City must continue to demand a great return on its capital investments. The reconstructions of Preston Street, Wellington West, Richmond Road, and parts of Somerset Street have resulted in adjacent property values doubling and tripling in a short period of time. Economic activity along these streets is booming. The City is prospering as a direct result of good investment in livable streets. What a wise policy. In contrast, all our suggestions to make Bronson more livable are being rejected by city traffic engineers who have a single focus on enhancing rush hour traffic. Your city is foregoing enormous economic potential and consequent tax revenue enhancement. Instead, the current reconstruction plans for Bronson will merely continue the blight and decay that has plague

letter, devonshire school daycare

21 Nov 2011 Dear Ms. McKenzie, The board of directors of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) has been following closely the discussions and consultations around the full day kindergarden program and extended days. We reviewed the report on the “Proposed Delivery of the Extended Day Program” and urge you to vote for the staff recommendations on November 22nd that will permit Third Party Providers to continue to offer care to our children. We commend the OCDSB for its commitment to expand childcare services in Ottawa. We strongly believe that Third Party Providers will continue to be valuable partners for the OCDSB in the new system, especially in neighbourhoods like ours where there are few licensed childcare spaces. We believe that right now, the most important thing for our community is to clarify once and for all that Third Party Providers are valued partners of the OCDSB as it will quickly start building up a reliable, high quality and affordable childcare system that w


DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 Eric Darwin, President Mayor Jim Watson Diane Deans Chair of the Transit Commission RE: U-Pass Program Dear Mayor Watson and Chair Deans, On behalf of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) I am writing to express our support for the Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) program for post-secondary students at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. As you are aware, this program is largely responsible for the significant transit ridership increase of the past year. By bringing more youth onto the transit system, the program is helping to build a generation of transit riders. The program has already taken thousands of cars off the road each and every day, resulting in less congestion and decreased demands for new roads and road maintenance. By supporting this program, the City of Ottawa joins the many cities across Canada that have ma

Traffic signal wanted at Arlington/Bronson

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 6 November, 2011 Councillor Diane Holmes City of Ottawa Re: Arlington & Bronson Traffic Control Signal Dear Councillor, In the process of reconstructing Bronson Avenue, a Traffic Control Signal should be incorporated into the design at Arlington Street. Our reasons are: • There is no place to cross Bronson between Gladstone and The Queensway. This is a very heavily and aggressively travelled part of Bronson. To cross at any place other than a crosswalk is to take your life in your hands. • There are some 15 wheelchair bound residents at 520 Bronson. Just to travel along the sidewalk on this major collector is dicey. • Students of Glashan School living west of Bronson are risking their lives crossing at Arlington. • While Flora Street, mid-way between Gladstone and The Queensway might seem more logical, Flora does not extend westward and therefore there is no connectivity for pede

Patio application on Booth Street

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 6 November, 2011 Peter Gunstra Senior By-law Administrator, West ROW Development Review City of Ottawa Re: Outdoor Patio Application – 376 Booth Street Dear Sir, The Dalhousie Community Association is opposed to this patio extending along Willow St due to the exclusively residential nature of that street. Despite the presence of a few residential units on Booth St., the already high volume of traffic will mitigate the impact of a patio on those residents. So we are not opposed to a patio all along the Booth St. curb. This approval is contingent on the usual 11pm closing, the absence of live or recorded music, and the absence of bright lighting. Yours truly, Eric Darwin, President Dalhousie Community Association CC: Councillor Diane Holmes

DCA Minutes, 5 Oct 2011

 In Attendance: Eric Darwin, Michael Powell, Ida Henderson, Michael Hatfield, Archie Campbell, Stephanie Strudwick, David Seaborn, Charles Akben-Marchand, Lori Mellor, Lisa-Marie Inman, Pat Snair, Maija Kagis, Anil Naidoo, Sean Darcy, Pamela Connolly,Councillor Diane Holmes 1) Presentation from Jeff Polowin and Rod Lahey regarding SoHo Italia development by Mastercraft Starwood a. Polowin indicated that they had met with city staff, but no decisions had been made yet. Had also met with the Councillor. Are planning on bringing this to planning committee in December. b. They are doing the rounds with stakeholders because of changes from initial design. c. Lahey indicated emphasized that M-S is not just a “Toronto” firm, but has lots of roots in town. d. Lahey also indicated that: i. There were concerns about height and podium in original design. ii. Planning department indicated that it would be a good idea to increase the lot size. 1. Were concerened about the next prop

801 Albert Street, proposed development

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 16 October 2011 Councillor Diane Holmes, City of Ottawa Cc: Jeff Polowin, Hill & Knowlton Councilor Katherine Hobbs Dear Councillor, Re: Re-Zoning of 801 Wellington St. On Sept. 20 ’11, representatives of the Dalhousie and Hintonburg Community Associations were given a presentation of perspectives and other drawings of office towers for the 801 Wellington site opposite Bayview Station. The developer did not leave any documents with us. There was no assurance that any resultant buildings would look like what was presented. We were merely being informed that this was the basis of a re-zoning request which would eliminate the existing 1.5 FSI, allow 196, 184 and 95m heights ASL, and drastically reduce commercial parking requirements. Some shadow studies were later submitted electronically. Site Planning: A preliminary review indicates that the principal pedestrian and vehicle circulat

DCA Sept Meeting

DCA meeting, September 7, 2011 Present: Don McMaster, Craig Haynes, David Seaborn, Ida Henderson, Michael Hatfield, Maija Kagis, Archie Campbell, Eric Darwin, Charles Akben-Marchand, Mike Powel, Zsofia Orosz Guests: Mark Barszjewski, Connie Brian, Pat Deacon, Pamela Connolly, Stephanie Strudwick, Pat Shair, Diane Holmes Minutes of July meeting. Motion to adopt moved by Archie, seconded by Eric. It was noted that some Word documents circulated could not be opened by all. New agenda items 1) Cousin Edy's Garage; 2) update from safety committee (under public safety); 3) proposed change to City policy on court fees; 4) 62 Bell St (illegal rooming house) Transportation committee In June, committee members met with staff about Bronson related to the trial of a road diet. No feedback has been received from traffic dept. manager Mr. Manconi, the pilot is for 2012 summer unless they start reconstructing before. There is a PAC meting on September 22 at 6:30 at Bronson Ce

Letter to Paul Dewar, MP, re NCC's closed gate

12 October 2011 Mr Paul Dewar, MP Re Popular Preston Extension route closed by NCC We would like to bring to your attention the recent unilateral closure by the NCC of the Preston “extension”. This paved route, a former NCC road, has been used by the community since the transitway opened in the early 1980’s, as it is the nearest and safest community access to the Ottawa River parklands and bikepaths. It is a popular route, used by hundreds daily. The alternative routes are simply horrible: via Booth Street, a busy, unpleasant road that is much further from the River, and slated to undergo several years of major reconstruction ; or via Albert to Bayview, which unfortunately takes cyclists and pedestrians along one of the most unpleasant and ill-suited bits of road in the City, where Albert goes over the O-Train, and thence along the creepily deserted Bayview Road to the River. Please inform Madame Chairman Lemay that she does have alternatives. One, is to keep the current

Letter to NCC re Preston extension

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 . Eric Darwin, President Marie Lemay Chair, NCC                               “Madame Chairman                                                   Unlock this gate!” Re Preston Street extension & LeBreton remediation plans We note with a great deal of horror that the NCC has closed off the gate whereby hundreds of local residents access NCC bike paths and parklands from the north end of Preston Street (at Albert). I would like to remind you that this is the nearest and safest point of access for the whole community to the NCC lands. Alternative routes, such as via Booth Street or Albert-to-Bayview are extraordinarily unattractive alternatives. I invite you to cycle along Albert over the O-Train, or Booth northwards from Albert, and tell us that you think these are fine alternatives to the NCC’s 30-year-old off-road wide paved path north of Preston that leads to a legal crosswalk over

317 Cambridge Street apt building

The proponent plans to demolish a pair of semi-detached homes that have been converted into a rooming house, and to construct a new apartment building with bachelor and one bedroom units. The exterior design is pleasing and the affordable units will meet a neighborhood need. The proponent has plans for the rehousing of all existing tennants. Adjacent property owners have been consulted. DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 Eric Darwin, President September 21, 2011 Members, Committee of Adjustment, City of Ottawa Re: Application # D08-02-11\A-00310 317-319 Cambridge Street North Dear members of Committee, The proponent, Mr. Raymond Stern, met with representatives of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) on September 20th and presented his proposal for redevelopment of this site. He is looking to demolish the existing building and replace it with a 4 storey, 25 unit apartment building. The DCA has n

Fall Meeting schedule

The DCA meets on the first Wednesday of each month. There are meetings scheduled for Sept 7; Oct 5; Nov2; and Dec 7th. Meetings start at 7pm. Starting this fall, we have a new room at the Dalhousie Community Centre, corner of Empress and Somerset St. We meet on the third floor, last room on the left. Note that the December meeting is often rescheduled into a pay-as-you-go holiday dinner at a local restuarant.

Gladstone/Little Italy O-Train Station

On June 27 the DCA sent a letter to Councillors Holmes and Hobbs (since both abut the Otrain corridor) pointing out the merit of installing an O-train station near Gladstone Avenue in 2014 as part of the O-train expansion project. (you can read that letter by going back a few posts on this website). Subsequently, Councillor Holmes wrote to a number of city bureaucrats pointing out the merits of examining a station there in 2014. In August, Councillor Hobbs put forward a motion at Transportation Committee: As you may know, the City is building a passing track just north of the future Gladstone Station on the O-Train line as part of the $59 million upgrade that will increase service from every 15 minutes to every 8 minutes. With the information on the cost of a study to use Gladstone Station as the passing track, I will work with my colleagues on council including Councillor Holmes to fund the study and the construction. During construction of the first phase of the LRT project the

500 Preston (Soho Italia)

The City will shortly be considering the rezoning of 500 Preston Street to permit a 35 storey condo tower occupying the entire lot at the corner of Preston and Sydney. Here is our input to the city consultation process: DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1    11 August 2011 Eric Darwin, President Planning and Growth Management Dept Attn D.Bridgewater Re: the Soho Italia proposal by Starwood Mastercraft, 500 Preston Street The Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) has discussed this project, met with the proponents, and unanimously agreed that it is objectionable on numerous grounds. Firstly, the City is supposed to plan for its future using an Official Plan, supported by lower level plans. Neither the OP nor the CDP for the area call for high rises at the south end of Preston Street. Indeed, the zoning for the Carling and O-Train corridors was recently revised by the City as part of the CDP. And the CDP itself is still ong

No August Meeting

The Association does not normally hold a meeting in August, accordingly there will not be a meeting August 3rd. The Board continues to be involved in community affairs during August. Current issues include 500 Preston (Soho Italia) rezoning to permit a 35 storey condo; the lack of information regarding the Rocherster/Balsam site (23 townhouses); the LRT stations, Devonshire School park/parking, Somerset reconstruction, etc. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Sept 7th, 2011.

Letter opposing more parking lots south of Gladstone

The Polish church on Louisa is planning to expand to the east, with a nice addition to the property. They are also asking to rezone a house across the street to permit it to be used as a parking lot. That entire block is under assault, with residential uses being squeezed out in favour of unlandscaped parking lots. DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 11 July, 2011 Doug Bridgewater, City of Ottawa Planning and Growth Management Dept. Re: Zoning By-Law Amendment Proposal: 27 Louisa St. Dear Sir, Apologies for this late reply, but there has been no sign on the site and no notification until this week due to the Postal disruptions. The Dalhousie Community Association is aware of the separate planning application for a proposed addition to the church building, and support that. However, we are opposed to this parking re-zoning for the following reasons: • Using a residential as a parking lot is not in conformity with the pu

balsam/rochester townhouse project

Fanto developments is proposing a townhouse project to replace the existing houses at Balsam and Rochester Streets. Here are sketches of the Rochester and Balsam sides: DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 11 July, 2011 Doug Bridgewater, City of Ottawa Planning and Growth Management Dept. Re: Zoning By-Law Amendment Proposal: Balsam & Rochester Streeets. Dear Sir, We strongly support the concept of low-rise townhouses on this site. However there are some fundamental problems with the layout presented. Perhaps this is why the developer and the architect have not returned our calls and we have been able to acquire only a vague documentation from the Planning Dept. The dev/apps web page still contains the four year old apartment tower plans, and not the current ones. Our comments are therefore based only on a site and landscape plans dated Feb/Mar 2011 and an undated partial perspective sketch. • With only nominal pro

Letter re O-train Expansion & Little Italy Station

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 Eric Darwin, President To: Councilor Diane Holmes & Councilor Katherine Hobbs; cc: Mayor Jim Watson, Alain Mercier, Diane Deans, Marianne Wilkinson Re: O-Train expansion The Dalhousie Community Association is delighted at the recent decision of Transportation Committee, and subsequently City Council, to expand the O-Train service and increase its frequency of operation. The current proposal is to install a passing track north of Gladstone Avenue. We recognize the economy of installing the track in an area where the cut is already wide enough. However, immediately south of the passing track is the proposed location of the Little Italy station running from a point under Gladstone Avenue south to Young Street. There are good planning and transit operations reasons for constructing the station now. Good planning : Installing a station there now would encourage transit-oriented infill i

Dalhousie report, June 2011

- Eric Darwin President, Dalhousie Community Association Ironically, the thing keeping the Dalhousie Community Association most busy is the thing that will have the least impact in the short term, but will affect all our lives in the future. I’m talking of the LRT system, of course. Five of the thirteen proposed stations fall in Somerset ward, and the Campus station at the east end of the Corkstown footbridge over the canal will be another important local station. The Transportation Committee of the DCA has had two meetings with the City and their consultants specifically regarding station access. Why do we think this is so important? Well, it’s one thing for the planners to figure out bus routes, station transfers, and entrances and exits, but we are focused on the walk-in –- or bike-in –- accessibility since so many Dalhousie residents live within a short distance of the stations. We check for easy safe street crossings; direct, safe routes; and attractive environments. We wer

DCA Meeting June 1, 2011 Minutes

DCA Board meeting, June 1, 2011 Present: Sue Stefko, David Perkins, Don McMaster, Michael Hatfield, Craig Haynes, Eric Darwin, Pamela Connolly, Michael Powell, Laura Bergen, Catherine Boucher, Charles Akben-Marchand, Karol Sjolund, Don Smith, Archie Campbell, Zsofia Orosz Adoption of minutes of May meeting The minutes were adopted with minor changes – moved by Eric, seconded by Mike. Update on LRT Matt Easton from the City provided a short update on the status of the LRT. The conversion of the core to LRT is expected to deal with the present bottleneck (50% cut in busses through downtown, including 2,000 busses off Rideau/Wellington); generate $3.2B in economic outputs. Preliminary design approval is expected in July – there is a slight change as the LRT will be at grade at Campus Station. They are conducting the final phase of the geotechnical and hydrological study. The design-build-maintain (OC-Transpo to operate) RFP will be out in October 2011 for pre-selected applicant

DCA advice to City re Bayview LRT Station

Following up on some meetings with City staff, the transportation committee sent the following note to the meeting participants at the City, on May 27, 2011: Bayview Station access Thank you for taking the time to discuss with us our concerns about the Bayview Station design and access. The conversation was productive and worthwhile. We look forward to continued dialogue and frank exchange of views which will result in a better OLRT and neighborhood. To summarize our views, here are some points that you might find helpful. 1. Station design: the vaulted roof design for the station canopy is attractive. The east end of the station should frame the view of the downtown, including an arc of skyline, as well as the foreground. This dramatic view should be visible right from the top of the escalators from the O-Train platform. It would be good if future LeBreton Flats developments kept this sightline unobstructed.(This view plane might also be of use for the nationally significant b

DCA Agenda for 1 June 2011

7pm (Note the new time !) Adopt minutes of May meeting. Guest speaker: Matt Eason from city of Ottawa, to talk about OLRT Transportation Committee report on activities: • meeting with city re Bayview Station access • followup correspondence with City staff • attended PAC on all stations • Still pushing MUP for Carling, thru bike branch meeting June 2nd, briefing to PBIA board, meeting with area planner. Coming next: meeting with city cycling office, then again with the traffic engineers. Eventually, DH to ask for more budget to better complete the Carling study. Development Committee report on activities: • Balsam site by Fanto, • Bridgehead site, Anderson at Preston • LeBreton Street car dealership • Gloucester site height limit. • Sec 37 (Catherine) • Mid centretown CDP recommendations (Catherine) • City review process for Infills • We added our voice to the chorus objecting to reduced play space at Devonshire, via a letter to the OCDSB. S

Committee of Adjustment Letter

Richcraft is proposing a condo at 346 Gloucester, just east of Centennial Public School, on the same block as Ricardo's pizza. The won increased height at the OMB, and are now back with a nicer design, same buildable area, but a very different shape that is also ... taller. We wrote to the committee of adjustment... Re: 346 Gloucester Street Dear Members of the Committee of Adjustment The Dalhousie Community Association wishes to offer three comments on the proposal. 1. We appreciate the improved aesthetics and view of the building 2. We appreciate the step backs and podium format of the revised building 3. We object to further increasing the height of the building over the previously (OMB-approved) height. Thank you, Eric Darwin.

Devonshire school yard and Parking

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1 Eric Darwin, President Dear Mr. Piovesan, Devonshire Public School is housed in a lovely heritage building fronted by large mature trees. It serves many children who live in the area of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA). The Board of Directors of the DCA would like to express strong opposition to converting scarce school yard area for staff parking. There are alternatives. While we recognize that many staff drive, we would like to urge the OCDSB to review its policy of enabling car commuting through its policy of offering free on-site parking to its staff. Does the OCDSB budget similar per person amounts to encourage staff to use public transit? Does it ever consider proximity to a school in hiring staff? Will the Board look at off-site parking measures, such as at Tom Brown arena or even the large underused private parking lot directly across the street fr

Agenda for May 4th meeting

DCA Agenda May 4, 2011 7.30pm – meet and greet new and old board members, update contact list, adopt minutes and agenda 8pm – cathedral hill development presentation 8.30 pm – discussion of committee structure, selection of members for each group, election of President, Treasurer, etc. We may want to have a meeting chair separate from the President role. Do we want to move to a committee structure, and how autonomous should the committees be? Should they have fixed meeting date(s)? Suggested committees (to be revised): • Developments big and small, infills, Committee of Adjustment applications • Traffic, Transportation and neighborhood-scale plans • Cycling and pedestrians • Social wellbeing, schools, parks, housing, safety • Buzz distribution • Membership growth • Gardening Note the upcoming events to which we are invited: May 10th, 7pm, The Door AGM Note May 11, 6.30pm meeting on sec 37 at city hall

All candidates meeting

Ottawa Centre All Candidates Event The focus will be driven by you! Questions will be selected through the audience or beforehand through OpenFile is a collaborative local news site. Visit, open a file, and your ideas will help power the event. Location: Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street, Guiges Hall, Auditorium Date: Thursday, April 28th Time: 6-8 pm Twitter: #OCdb8 The event will begin promptly at 6 pm. Hosted by the Old Ottawa East Community Association and the Centretown Citizens Community Association, in partnership with OpenFile. Other community partners include: Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, Centretown Community Health Centre, Somerset West Community Health Centre, People for a Better Ottawa, Hintonburg Community Association, Glebe Community Association, Dalhousie Community Association Event contact:

DCA Report for April, 2011

Guest speakers entertain and educate The Dalhousie Community Association held its annual general meeting on 6 April. We had two guest speakers: John Doran and Rick Morris, of Domicile Developments. Domicile has been busy in the central city neighborhoods for 35 years. They have built townhouses, stacked townhouses, low rise apartments, and some higher-rise apartment buildings. They are active in the condo market these days, but have also built several buildings in partnership with non-profit housing providers. Their reputation amongst community groups and municipal planners is that they are “good guys” who work with the system and neighbours, rather than taking a confrontational approach right out of the gate. I contacted several building associations and academics trying to find someone to speak to the Association about infill development in our neighbourhoods, but no one was willing to talk about the decisions behind the infill projects, and the numbers involved, until I found

Get the dirt before it flies !


Mayor watson responds to Soho Italia concerns

Dear Mr. Darwin, Thank you for your email to me dated February 9, 2011. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in my reply to you on this matter. As Mayor in a city as large as ours, I receive hundreds of emails on a daily basis and I strive to ensure each one gets a reply. I value your feedback on this particular project and would like to thank you for taking the time to write expressing the views and concerns on behalf of the Dalhousie Community Association. Regards, Jim Watson Mayor City of Ottawa

OC Transpo Route Changes in our neighborhood

OC Transpo will be making a number of bus route changes that affect our neighborhood. We will post details of those changes when known. OC Transpo is holding a public event on Tuesday, March 29th 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Ottawa City Hall, Jean Pigott Place, 110 Laurier Avenue West 2011 Network Optimization Proposals: Public Consultation OC Transpo is seeking customer feedback into the network service proposal that supports the approved 2011 Budget. The plan proposes redesigning the network to make routes more direct, productive, and reliable, while ensuring that we can keep fares down and make our transit system sustainable for the long term. While over 90% of customers will be unaffected by the proposed changes, some will have to walk a little farther to a bus stop, and service on some routes will be reduced. As a valued customer, we want to make sure you are aware of what is bei

Dalhousie Report, March 2011

by Eric Darwin, President, Dalhousie Community Association Exciting Guest Speakers:   The Dalhousie Community Association will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on April 6, 2011. We are very excited that our guest speakers will be John Doran and Rick Morris of Domicile Developments. This firm has been active in Centretown, Dalhousie, and other wards for decades. They build townhouses, small and mid-rise apartments. Their talk will cover how much it costs to build infills, what factors determine "how big" and "how much" and "how tall", where the money goes, and what they do with the revenues. Should be very interesting and educational as condomania and infills appear throughout our neighborhoods. The meeting begins at 7pm at the Dalhousie Community Centre, 3rd floor, 755 Somerset Street at Empress. This could be the best hour you spend this year! And the cookies are free. High Rise Intensification: Soho Italia. The March meeting of the Dalhou