CHÂTEAU LAURIER: Heritage Ottawa Files Court Application Against Council Delegating Authority to Staff Over Hotel Addition

Monday, September 16, 2019


Heritage Ottawa’s legal representative, Michael S. Polowin, Gowling WLG, today filed a Notice of Application to Quash with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that challenges the City of Ottawa’s resolution to delegate authority to city staff over the Conditional Heritage Permit allowing an addition to the Château Laurier hotel, rather than being confirmed by City Council.

On June 27, 2018, City Council adopted a resolution granting the owner of the Château Laurier hotel conditional permission (the “Conditional Heritage Permit”) to construct a proposed addition to the Château Laurier. Three conditions were required to make significant changes to the design of the Proposed Addition. In the same resolution, the City delegated authority to determine whether those conditions were satisfied to the General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (Planning GM).

Under the City of Ottawa’s Delegation of Authority By-law, the Planning GM can only approve applications for heritage alteration under the Ontario Heritage Act when two criteria have been met: Gross Floor Area of the proposed addition does not exceed 30% of that of the existing building, and the proposed addition does not negatively impact the heritage attributes of the existing heritage building. The Notice of Application states that in the case of the proposed addition to the Château Laurier, neither condition is satisfied. Therefore, the final design approval of the proposed addition must be approved by the elected Council, instead of unelected staff.

The Château Laurier is one of Ottawa’s most iconic buildings, and is designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act as well as being a federally designated National Historic Site of Canada. The owner of the hotel proposes to construct a seven storey, rectangular addition that is incompatible with the hotel’s “Chateau-style” architecture and its picturesque setting adjacent to the Parliamentary Buildings.

The Application to Quash was submitted under Rule 14.05(3)(d) and Section 273 of the Municipal Act 2001, SO 2001, c.25.

CLICK HERE  to read the Rationale for Notice of Application.


Image Credits: Château Laurier: Julie Oliver, Ottawa Citizen. Proposed Addition: architectsAlliance (2019). Compositing Credit: Barry Padolsky Associates Inc Architects (2019)