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Westgate development meeting recap and reactions

By Charlie Senack –

Roughly 100 Kitchissippi and River Ward residents packed the Alexander Community Centre on January 22 to get their first detailed glimpse at the phase one plans for the re-development of the aging Westgate Shopping Centre.

Councillors Jeff Leiper and Riley Brockington were on hand to address residents questions and concerns, as well as officials from RioCan, the property management company that owns the shopping centre.

In June 2017 city council voted in favour of rezoning the land, but now the site plan control application needs to be approved — and that may not happen until the end of the year.

“We expect this process could run well through maybe the rest of the year which is not uncommon for a site plan approval in any city, not just in Ottawa,” says Stuart Craig, Vice President of development for RioCan.

Phase one of the project would be constructed on the site of the current Monkey Joes restaurant, and would see a 24-storey mixed-use rental building built. It would house 216 units and multiple stores on the ground floor. It would also include 192 underground parking spots, 32 surface spots, and parking for 200 bicycles.

Once the site plan control application is approved and shovels are in the ground, it would take about two years for the building to be completed. Phase two of the project won’t even be looked at until phase one is finished, and residents have moved in.

“This will probably take about 4-5 years from today until when it’s finished,” Stuart Craig told the crowd. “And what we mean by finished is when all the units are full, everything is done, and it’s been stabilized for a while. At that point we will start on phase two.”

Looking at the project long term, RioCan says this is a project that could be taking place for the next 15-20 years. More public meetings are expected to be held in the future.

Missed the meeting? View the proposed plans online.

“I think that especially a city like Ottawa, we should have higher standards than this cheap, industrial, glass and steel building,” said Dan Roy. “RioCan has brought forward an extremely uninspired, industrial, cheap looking design. I would never have a guest come from out of town and look at that building and say, ‘wow, Ottawa has great architecture.’”

 

“One thing I’m worried about when I’m looking at these plans is I’m not seeing indoor community space which is something that we have now in the Westgate Mall and is used an awful lot by the senior citizens who live in the area,” said Selina Bishop. “I’m seeing community space, but it’s outward community space and I’m not sure that’s as useful to the citizens of this area.”

 

“I think it would be nice if the proposed stores were better connected,” said Annie Woo. “I think the individual stores will work if you live there, but you still need to put on coats and boots if you are going from tower one to tower five because we do not live in California.”

 

“The big question for me is whether I decide to move or stay,” said Rica Upton. “What would drive me to move is having a construction zone right across the street with noise and dust…. a construction zone is a construction zone. A lot of time people don’t like change but things do change, but whether or not I could adapt I don’t know.”

 

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