Street fight: Rideau River Drive residents 'incensed' over name change

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'We should have been given an opportunity to be consulted,' says longtime resident

By Jennifer Chevalier, CBC News

Homeowners on Rideau River Drive are fighting a street name change imposed by the City of Ottawa, saying their street is older, longer and more historically significant than a competing nearby private laneway.

Residents were sent a letter by the city June 9 telling them their street name was changing because it was too similar to Rideau River Lane.

Since the amalgamation of the City of Ottawa in 2001, 80 streets have been forced to change names to avoid confusion in the event of an emergency.

"Quite frankly I'm incensed," said Rideau River Drive resident Doretha Murphy. "It goes along the river ... it's appropriately called Rideau River Drive."

"Rideau River Drive existed a long time before Rideau River Lane," said Subodh Anand, who has lived on the street for 48 years. "That should be an important consideration."

Slightly more addresses on laneway

According to the city's own rules, once a decision is made that there could be confusion when police or an ambulance is called to streets with a similar sounding names, a set of criteria is followed to determine which street will get the short straw.

Typically the street with more residents gets to keep its name.

CBC News counted 23 townhouses on Rideau River Lane, which the city said make up 34 separate addresses.

Rideau River Drive comes up short with 20 homes, which the city counts as 25 separate addresses.

But there are other factors considered, including how long the street has existed, if it is a major road, its historical significance and if the street has an identifiable landmark.

The city said Rideau River Drive was renamed from Main Street in 1968, but has no record for when the private laneway was given its name.

While Rideau River Drive residents are organizing to fight the change, several residents on the Rideau River Lane CBC spoke to didn't want to talk about the street name.

Escapade festival promising to keep it down with move to Glebe

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Move from Rideau-Carleton Raceway to Lansdowne Park announced just over 2 weeks from festival

By Andrew Foote, CBC News

The Escapade electronic music festival — along with the city councillor for the Glebe — is assuring residents near Lansdowne Park they won't be kept up by the event's booming bass.

On Wednesday, the festival's organizers announced they were moving the June festival from the Rideau-Carleton Raceway in rural south Ottawa to Lansdowne Park, citing "rezoning and development" issues stemming from the track's recent partnership with Hard Rock International.

The festival had been held at the raceway for the last three years. It will take place this summer on the Great Lawn, the large greenspace at Lansdowne Park.

"Basically, this system is able to contour the sound field in three dimensions so we can literally take a remote control and change the speaker angles on the spot," said Ali Shafaee, the festival's director of partnerships.

"I think that's going to be a huge improvement in terms of making sure the sound doesn't bleed out into the neighbourhood."

There will be a stage on the lawn facing TD Place stadium, another on the south side of the Aberdeen Pavilion under a specially-shaped tent to contain sound and a third for the most bass-heavy music in the TD Place arena, according to technical information from the organizers shared by the city.

The eighth edition of Escapade features headliners Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Above and Beyond and Canadians Zed's Dead.

Councillor nervous

Capital ward councillor David Chernushenko said he was first approached with the idea of holding the festival at Lansdowne Park about six weeks ago.

"Knowing the track record of concern in the community around too many events and too much noise, and the right kind of event, they were aware I would need some real convincing," he said.

Chernushenko said he did end up being convinced because he has it in writing they'll keep the noise and bass to acceptable levels and if not, they could be immediately shut down or fined by on-site bylaw officers.

Overnight closure of Colonel By Drive June 8

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Parks Canada

The repair work on the walls of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site between Bank Street and Pig Island is wrapping up. As part of the final steps, the contractor will remove the barriers along the southbound lane starting at about 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 8. This work requires the overnight closure of Colonel By Drive from Clegg St. to Leonard Ave. A signed detour will be in place.

For additional information on Parks Canada infrastructure work in the Ottawa area, please visit www.pc.gc.ca/rcOttawa, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Old Ottawa South church plans condos by Rideau Canal

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A rendering by Hobin Architecture shows Southminster United Church in Old Ottawa South after its rear annex is replaced with a condo building and townhouses.

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen

A zoning quirk could let an Old Ottawa South church shore up its finances by building a six-storey condominium overlooking the Rideau Canal.

Southminster United overlooks the canal just west of the Bank Street Bridge. If you’re skating toward Dow’s Lake on a winter afternoon, you can see its stained glass glowing in the sun.

The church and the stained glass are staying. But what’s going, conditional on city council’s approval, are a two-storey addition at the back and a side yard. They’ll be replaced with a small set of townhouses and a six-storey condo building wrapping around the northwest corner of the church, with million-dollar views of the canal. The developer is Windmill, the same company that has worked with the Anglican Church on building condos around Christ Church Cathedral at the west end of Sparks Street and is redeveloping the industrial islands in the Ottawa River north of LeBreton Flats.

To let this happen, though, city council will have to rezone the parcel from “institutional” use for the church to “traditional mainstreet” like most of Bank Street, which allows four-to-six-storey residential and commercial buildings. What’s tricky about this is that the main church is what actually faces Bank; the land to be redeveloped is at the far end of the property, well away from the main street.

Furthermore, just a few years ago the city approved a heritage-protection bylaw covering the houses that face the canal there — every single one of them between Bank Street and Bronson Avenue, except for the church, whose institutional zoning made it different, less susceptible to redevelopment. Till now.