Congratulations to Councillor Jeff Leiper and the City of Ottawa for conducting the Westboro Infill Study. There is only one problem, the title of the study is wrong. The term “infill” is defined as the development of vacant parcels of land within previously built areas. In direct contrast to this definition, in Westboro, single homes are being demolished and replaced by multi-unit dwellings (often on two or three adjacent lots simultaneously).
Clearly, this is not infill: it is redevelopment. The term “redevelopment” defines a project where an existing building is removed and converted to a different use. This distinction is not splitting hairs. The scale of change and the impact on residents through redevelopment is vastly greater than what one would experience with true infill projects.
On many Westboro streets, over half the single homes that existed 10 years ago have been replaced by these multiple “infills”. What we have is a not-so-incremental redevelopment of the entire neighbourhood. With the pace of redevelopment increasing, one can envision that, in another 10 years, the resulting changes will be on the scale of the redevelopment of Le Breton Flats.
So Councillor Leiper and City of Ottawa, thanks for the study but, as they say, please call a spade a spade! Whether one is for or against it, there is no arguing the fact that these neighbourhoods are undergoing redevelopment on a massive scale at a bewildering pace.
Max Finkelstein and Constance Downes
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