Advocacy Matters | November 2017

Photo: Jean Luc Henry

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Upcoming Matters

The next meeting of the City of Ottawa’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC) takes place on Friday, December 1 at 9:30 am at Ottawa City Hall.

Agenda items include application for new construction at 51 Sweetland Avenue in the Sweetland Avenue Heritage Conservation District, and a report on a Heritage Interpretive Plan for the Zibi Development.

In November and December, The Ottawa Hospital is hosting several information sessions across Ottawa on the new hospital development on Carling Avenue. More information here.

Starting November 27, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will table the report from its hearings on the state of historic places in Canada. The National Trust for Canada has launched a campaign asking Canadians to support their statement of priorities. More info here.

Recent Matters

Carleton University & Dominion-Chalmers

In October 2017, Heritage Ottawa wrote a letter of support in regards to Carleton University’s potential purchase of Dominion-Chalmers United Church:

“Dominion Chalmers is an important heritage property, whose congregation has laboured diligently to conserve the heritage values of the building and its associated site, and who have done wonders keeping the site as an active and vibrant participant in the spiritual and cultural life of the city,” wrote Heritage Ottawa president David Jeanes.  “Carleton’s acquisition of this wonderful building would increase the University’s community engagement, with organisations such as ours which has frequently used Dominion Chalmers for our events. It would be a beacon of Carleton’s acknowledged interdisciplinary expertise and leadership in the fields of history, heritage and sustainability.”

More information here.


City Hall Recap:  Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC) Meeting of October 16, 2017

The BHSC approved an application to alter 61 Park Road, a property in the Rockliffe Park Heritage Conservation District (RPHCD).  Heritage Ottawa is asked by the City to review and comment on heritage applications that go before the Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC) and on to Planning Committee. We did not object to this application. The application was subsequently approved by Planning Committee and full City Council.

During the presentations at BHSC, committee chair Toby Nussbaum recommended that city planning staff work with the community to create guidelines or a glossary to help with the interpretation of the RPHCD.  Sally Coutts, the city's Coordinator of Heritage Services, said that staff will be working on clarifying the plan in the coming months.

Committee members also received an update from city staff on other properties:

287 Cumberland Street, the former Our Lady’s School: In January 2016, City Council approved a demolition permit and construction of a low-rise apartment building. The permit expires in January 2018. According to city staff: “To date, no related applications for building permits or other development approvals for the property have been submitted by the owner. Staff understand that the property is currently listed for sale for $3.5 million. Property standards issues are monitored closely and necessary Orders are being issued by By-law Services.”

Somerset House at 352 Somerset Street: Staff wrote: “Heritage staff has recently been in touch with Richard Chmiel, the architect of the proposal that was approved by City Council on May 10, 2017. Mr. Chmiel is moving forward with the project. There has been a pre-permit meeting with one of the City’s Building Code Engineers, and the new engineering firm, Art Engineering, regarding the structure, seismic safety and moving towards a building permit. The discussions between the property owner, the engineering firm and the architect continue. Building Code Services regularly monitors the fence around the open excavation.


City Hall Recap: Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC) Meeting of November 19, 2017

The BHSC approved an application to alter 551 Fairview Avenue, a property in the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Conservation District and designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, only after passing a motion directing staff to work with the applicant to:

• improve the conservation of, and reflect the heritage character of the upper storey and roofline (including dormers) of the McKay Lake elevation of the existing home

• revise the plans so that interventions to the second storey are minimized and designed to complement the existing building's heritage attributes, and

• revise elements of the exterior cladding of the addition ground floor and basement of the addition to respect and complement the existing building's heritage attributes.

The revised application goes before Planning Committee on November 28, and goes before City Council for final approval on December 13.

After considerable deliberation by our advocacy committee, Heritage Ottawa submitted comments on this application to the BHSC, prior to its meeting.

While not opposing the proposal for construction of an addition at rear of the property, Heritage Ottawa noted that the application is complicated by visibility of the addition from the Dog Walk, a public walking path listed as a heritage attribute in the Rockcliffe HCD Plan. It can thus be argued that the addition would negatively affect a publicly-visible facade of an important heritage building.

Given that the view from the Dog Walk is the most public view, Heritage Ottawa stated that "it is important that the impact of the addition be mitigated by judicious plantings that conform to the HCD Plan provisions governing landscaping and provide screening from the Dog Walk, and we suggest that any reduction in the scale of the addition would be an improvement."

The BHSC also approved an application for new construction at 667 Bank Street, a property designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act and located in the Clemow Estate East Heritage Conservation District in the Glebe. The property is currently a vacant lot at the corner of Bank and Clemow. The applicant wants to build a new five-storey, mixed use building fronting onto Bank Street. Planning Committee will consider the application on November 28, followed by City Council on December 13.

Heritage Ottawa had expressed concerns over previous versions of this proposal, including that the façade facing the adjacent house in the Heritage Conservation District was too high and too close. The current version has addressed this by eliminating units that were close to the rear lot line, so that there is now only a one-storey structure at the rear. The impact is also mitigated by having a green roof.

Previous revisions made to the north façade are an improvement and more compatible with the park than the initial application. Overall, Heritage Ottawa does not object to the plans as now proposed, and appreciates the efforts that have been made to improve the compatibility of the proposed new construction with the HCD.


And finally, some recommended reading — a recent interview with planning expert Marc Denhez on the future of heritage.  Denhez spoke to The Coast about heritage preservation in Halifax and across the country. Read the interview here.