Old Ottawa South church seeking financial salvation from condo faces concerns

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Residents raise concerns about proposed condo's height, obstruction of heritage views of church


This architectural rendering shows the proposed condo and townhouses as seen from Galt Street. Southminster United Church can be seen behind them.

By Matthew Kupfer, CBC News

As Southminster United Church turns to a developer to help its finances, Old Ottawa South residents have raised objections about a proposed condominium's height and the obstruction of heritage views of the church itself.

Windmill Developments is behind the proposal, which includes four three-storey townhouses and a 14-unit, six-storey apartment building.

Church administrators made their case for looking for a development deal at an official public consultation held Monday night in the church basement at 15 Aylmer St.

Andrew Brewin, a member of the congregation in charge of the redevelopment, said the church is trying to make sure it can continue to operate as a place of worship and a community hub.

'Ultimately, it is survival'

"Ultimately, it is survival. Can our congregation pull together the resources, both financial and human, to be able to continue for the next 85-plus years?" Brewin asked.

"If we do this proposal, we will be able to do that. Otherwise, if we have to go back to the drawing board, it really is hard to see how we'll be able to draw the kind of energy that's needed to do that kind of work."

The church turned to redeveloping the site after attempts to get more money by renting church space came up short.

The church's financial shortfall happened in part because of overdue repairs to a hall that was built in 1955 and created a "drip, drip, drip" from the congregation's budget, Brewin said.

The value of the deal is "in the neighbourhood" of $2 million, he added.

Questions about height, obstructed views

Residents said they felt the church hadn't consulted enough prior to going to the developer, and that the church should have looked for alternatives to keep programs running.

Laura Urrechaga was among the 13 original members of Development Watch Southminster, a group that formed to organize people who were against Windmill's proposal.

"We as a community, want them to survive. But we want the importance of our heritage value to be maintained," Urrechaga said. "We do not want to be turned into Westboro."

Among the key issues is the height of the proposed building — six-storeys or about 19 metres — which is almost double what's allowed for neighbouring residential and commercial buildings, she said.

'Exceeded expectations': Latest figures show Corktown, Adàwe bridges popular with pedestrians, cyclists

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

More than 185,000 people used the Corktown Footbridge to walk, jog or pedal over the Rideau Canal in a five-week span this spring, making it Ottawa’s most heavily-used pedestrian and cycling bridge.

Between May 10 and June 13, 186,333 people — an average of 5,324 per day — used the decade-old bridge to travel between Somerset Street West in Centretown and the street’s eastern portion in Sandy Hill, according to figures supplied by the city. The numbers don’t distinguish between pedestrians and cyclists.

July, meanwhile, was a record-breaking month for the Adàwe crossing between Somerset Street East in Sandy Hill and Overbrook’s Donald Street. Of the 117,659 people who crossed the bridge between Canada Day and July 31, 60,758 were on bicycles and another 56,901 were on foot.

That’s the highest monthly total recorded since the $9.2-million bridge opened in December 2015.

More than 114,000 people crossed the bridge in June, and on three previous occasions — July, August and September 2016 — monthly totals exceeded 90,000 crossings, according to the city’s figures. Adàwe was the least busy in December 2016, when 21,850 pedestrians and 4,823 cyclists crossed it.

“The high usage of the Adàwe crossing has exceeded my expectations and is a testament to the demand for safe, convenient and pleasant routes for walking and cycling,” said Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum.

He wants the city to build on the bridge’s success by ensuring infrastructure is in place to link these crossings to a wider grid of dedicated walking and cycling routes.

City puts final touches on pedestrian and cycling crosswalk on Bronson

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The city put down the green thermoplast on the crosswalk this spring to make the bike lane. (Jennifer Beard/CBC)

Krista Johnson was struck by a car and killed while cycling on Bronson Avenue in 2012

CBC News

Five years after a cyclist was killed on Bronson Avenue, the city has put the final touches on a pedestrian and cycling crosswalk on the busy road just north of Sunnyside Avenue.

Twenty-seven-year-old Krista Johnson, an avid runner and city cyclist, was struck by a car and killed on Bronson Avenue in October 2012.

The Carleton University student was cycling home at the time.

While speed was not deemed a factor in the crash, Johnson's death triggered a safety review of that stretch of the road.

According to the councillor for the ward, David Chernushenko, it was determined that section of Bronson was a very confusing and busy area.

And, the lack of a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights there meant people were dashing across in busy traffic.

Green thermoplast marks bike lane

"This crossing addressed a need to be able to cross a very high speed busy road in a safe manner. It's only triggered when the need is there. So, while it does have the traffic calming effect of slowing down traffic by having another intersection, it's not going to be activated if no one wants to cross so you won't have frustrated drivers," said Chernushenko.

The crossing has been in operation for 18 months, but the city recently added signs, and in the spring, put down green thermoplast paint on the road to mark the bike lane.

Chernushenko said the process took five years to reach this final stage due to a number of factors. It took a year to do a traffic safety review and hold public consultations. And then there was a municipal election before the contracting process began.

"The usual, I guess process to do a public infrastructure project of tendering and design, sure it did take longer," said Chernushenko.

Comment on proposed roadway modifications in OOE

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City of Ottawa

Pursuant to By-law No. 2011–122, the City of Ottawa is providing notice to the public of its intention to approve road modifications at the following locations in Old Ottawa East, in accordance with the authority under By-law No. 2011-28:

Greenfield Ave. between Main St. and Lees Ave./King Edward Ave.

  • Cycle tracks on both sides of Greenfield Ave. between Main St. and Lees Ave./King Edward Ave.
  • A reduction in the number of on-street parking spaces on Greenfield Ave. between Main and Concord Sts. to accommodate the proposed cycle tracks
  • Removal of the existing median on the east leg of the Greenfield Ave. and Concord St. intersection

Colonel By Drive from Graham Ave. to Hawthorne Ave.

  • A multi-use pathway on the east side of Colonel By Dr. between Hawthorne Ave. and Graham Ave.

Main St. from Harvey St. to Colonel By Dr.

  • A multi-use pathway on the west side of Main St. between Greenfield Ave. and Colonel By Dr.
  • Cycle tracks on both sides of Main St. between Greenfield Ave. and Harvey St. and on the east side of Main St. between Greenfield Ave. and Echo Dr.
  • A potential pedestrian crossover on the west leg of the Main St. and Colonel By Dr. intersection, subject to funding availability and National Capital Commission approval
  • Minor narrowing of portions of these roadways to accommodate the proposed cycling facilities

Full reconstruction of these roadways is warranted based on the requirement to replace aging sewer and watermain infrastructure. As part of the sewer work, existing combined sewers will be separated. The preliminary and detailed design process will begin this year with the construction year to be determined. Additional public consultation showing the proposed implementation details will be undertaken by the Infrastructure Services, Design and Construction Branch.

If you have any questions or comments about the proposed roadway modifications, please contact Vanessa Black at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 613-580-2424 x12559 no later than Wednesday, August 9, 2017