Heritage Ottawa to Planning Committee: Centretown CDP

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

re: ACS2013-PAI-PGM-0066: Centretown CDP

Heritage Ottawa was pleased to participate in the development of this plan, and appreciate that this document’s support for heritage in the Centretown Heritage Conservation District has strengthened through its various iterations. The Heritage Overlay – initially removed – has been reinstated. We warmly appreciate the design-led approach to neighbourhood development, which will have benefits for heritage. We also support the proposal for more precise guidance tailored to different sectors of the HCD, and the proposal to consider the candidature of the Golden Triangle for a heritage conservation district study.

During the planning process and in this final document there is an emphasis upon only Category 1 and Category 2 buildings (p. 103); it is premature to vote the Category 3 and 4 buildings off the island. This HCD is an older designation (1997). As noted in the CDP, the HCD needs to be brought up to the standards set by the 2005 Ontario Heritage Act, the new Provincial Policy Statement, and current practices in planning (such as the design-led approach espoused by this plan). As was discussed at the Built Heritage Sub-Committee last week with respect to another older HCD, there is a need for a thorough review of the category ratings and this should not be just a downgrading exercise.  Category 3 and 4 buildings would be revisited to determine whether they should be ranked higher, the same or lower than previously was the case (or simply determine if a building is a contributing resource or not, rather than split hairs over categories).  This examination could also determine if other buildings in the HCD deserve a Part IV designation for their own merits. We have seen examples of category 3 buildings which are protected because they are contributing resources: the row house on Sussex Drive and 187 Lansdowne, both category 3 buildings which were conserved because they contribute to  their respective HCDs. Until the categories are reviewed, existing heritage protection should remain in place.

Heritage Ottawa will support community-driven research and we hope that the City will provide the heritage planners with the resources necessary to carry out this – and other – HCD updates.

Thank you.

Leslie Maitland, President, Heritage Ottawa