Community Newspaper Columns

Canal footbridge one step closer to reality

August 2013

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has announced that a request from a local resident to “bump up” the Rideau Canal footbridge for a higher level of environmental assessment has been dismissed. This means City staff can proceed with the detailed design phase of the bridge.

Throughout this process, the majority of local residents and businesses have voiced support for this new connection between the communities of the Glebe and Old Ottawa East. Planners expect the bridge to be used for approximately 2,500 trips per day, which will result in fewer motorized vehicles crossing the Bank Street and Pretoria bridges.

When combined with the new Complete Street design for Main Street recently approved by City Council, the footbridge will provide cyclists and pedestrians in Capital Ward with a safer and more attractive route across the Canal and onward to destinations in eastern and southern parts of the city.

Now that the design phase is underway, there will be frequent updates posted at rideaucanalbridge.ca. Funding for the project has not yet been approved, so that is the next important hurdle. But I am sensing that most members of City Council have come to understand and support this important improvement to Ottawa’s transportation network.

Construction at Pretoria retail site
Detailed plans for closures and renovations at the Loblaws and other stores on Isabella St., adjacent to the Pretoria Bridge, have taken a while to come together, but here is the most up-to-date information I can pass on. I will use my website and newsletter to offer further updates when available.

  1. The Loblaws store will be closed for about four months starting in mid-August. Loblaws wants to keep the closure as short as possible, and aims to re-open before Christmas.
  2. The LCBO and Beer Store locations were closed after the July 1 long weekend. Construction on the LCBO store should be completed and the store re-opened in March 2014.
  3. As for lane closures on Pretoria, details from the contractor were not yet available in time for this column’s deadline.

The site’s small size means it would be virtually impossible to expand and renovate the Loblaws store, rebuild the LCBO and accompanying parking lot, and complete new underground/civil work without closing the stores. There is not enough room to complete the project in phases.

Parking garage update
In April, the City of Ottawa issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Glebe Parking Garage at 170 Second Ave. Following a competitive process, the City selected the Ottawa-based firm PBK Architects as the successful proponent.

City staff have since organized a design working group that includes representatives of the Glebe Community Association and the Business Improvement Area, and individuals from immediately affected streets. The working group had a constructive initial meeting in early July, followed by a design charrette, a collaborative session to devise solutions.

A formal public meeting is being planned for September. I will keep residents apprised of developments via this column, my newsletter and the capitalward.ca website.

Older Adult Plan events
As part of the Older Adult Plan (OAP), the City of Ottawa is hosting a series of “Meet Your City Services” events in 2013 to promote City programs and services of interest to older residents.

These events will feature a resource fair of displays related to a variety of areas, including recreation, culture, fitness, transportation, safety, health, libraries, emergency services, and many more. City staff will also be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

Events are planned for Aug. 24 at the Carp Farmer’s Market, Sept. 20 at the Kanata Expo 55+, Oct. 24 at the Ron Kolbus Centre at Britannia Park. More events are being planned in 2014, and I have requested that one be held in Capital Ward so residents of the Glebe and neighbouring communities can access this information closer to home. I will share more details when they become available.

This initiative is in direct response to feedback received from older residents during the OAP consultations held in 2011.

Centre 507
Centre 507 is a downtown drop-in centre that has been serving Ottawa’s disadvantaged for 30 years. It’s located at Centretown United at 507 Bank Street, just north of the Glebe.

It’s a refuge from the heat or the cold, a place to get a coffee or a bite to eat, to use the bathroom, the phone or a computer, make friends, talk to a social worker, look for a place to live or learn new job skills.

Find out more about Centre 507 and how you can support this community initiative by visiting centre507.org.

Councillor David Chernushenko