Heritage panel split on proposal to demolish chapel wing of Deschâtelets Building

Chapel in Deschâtelets Building. Photo: City of Ottawa

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

OTTAWA CITIZEN, By Jon Willing

The built-heritage subcommittee on Tuesday was deadlocked on a decision to allow a developer, on the request of a school board, to demolish part of the historic Deschâtelets Building off Main Street in Old Ottawa East to establish a new elementary school.

Regional Group, which bought the land from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 2015 to create the Greystone Village community, has a pending deal to sell the historic landmark building to the French Catholic school board for an elementary school, but the school board doesn’t have use for the chapel wing, which is a narrow room with a vaulted ceiling.

To close the deal with the school board, Regional Group needs the city to approve the partial demolition of the building and a rezoning application for the land to permit a school.

Heritage Ottawa’s David Flemming said the organization is disappointed to see city staff agree to wipe out the chapel wing.

“What is more significant to a former religious institution than its chapel?” Flemming said, calling the proposed demolition an “erasure of history.”

The subcommittee vote was a tie, split between politicians and citizen members. The tied vote means the heritage application will go to the planning committee on Thursday without a recommendation from the built-heritage subcommittee.

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