New development projects will change Westboro, Wellington West landscape

Boarded up houses with high rises seen in the distance.
Houses in Westboro await demolition. Photo by Charlie Senack.

By Simon Hopkins 

Kitchissippi is quickly evolving. Used car lots are being torn down to make way for massive developments. Single-storey buildings are being replaced by condos and apartments. 

As the community tries to keep its village feel, intensification is changing its once simple landscape. Kitchissippi has seen more development applications come forward than most of the other 24 municipal wards in Ottawa. 

To keep up with the changes, a comprehensive zoning bylaw review will make it easier for developers to get applications passed, while ensuring the community is aware of what can be built in each neighbourhood. 

“Hintonburg and Mechanicsville are not likely to change very much. But for Westboro Beach, Hampton Iona [and] Champlain Park, we will probably see some new zoning that will increase density,” said Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper in a recent interview. 

The city’s new Official Plan, which was approved two years ago, allows for greater density. Leiper said in its previous form, density hadn’t changed in over 40 years and reflected thinking that was popular in 1968. That will soon change. 

“Residents are often uncomfortable with the density. The lens in which we look is if it’s justified by the official plan,” said Leiper. “Owners go through significant time and expense getting rezoning. There is a lot of conflict and there is a lot of resentment that zoning is getting changed. This will make it easier for builders to understand the limits of what they are allowed to build and will help the residents as well.”

Leiper noted the 2018 development at the former Trailhead site at Scott Street and McRae Avenue as an example. Height limits were between four to six storeys, but in the end, 26 storeys were given. 

“There was no rezoning to guide what it reasonably should be,” said Leiper. “I personally would have liked to see it capped at 15.” 

City of Ottawa drawings showing where the building would be built.
Drawings for 327 Richmond Rd. City of Ottawa handout.

Building up  

Real estate firm CLV Group is in the early stages of a development at 327 Richmond Rd near Churchill Ave. The project would demolish five vacant buildings, including the former Westboro Sports Centre. The group proposes building a nine-storey building with commercial space and 177 apartments. 

Plans are also underway for an 87-dwelling unit, mixed-use building where the former Whisper’s Pub once stood at the corner of Richmond Road and Tweedsmuir Avenue. When built, it will contain ground-floor retail space and underground parking. 

The exterior of the former Whispers Pub.
An 87-dwelling unit is planned for where the former Whispers Pub stood. Photo by Charlie Senack.

Minto’s proposed high-rise for Parkdale Ave at Wellington West’s corner remains uncertain. The City recommended its approval, but those opposed took it to the Ontario Land Tribunal, where progress has stalled. The city has received no document updates to the proposal since 2022. 

Meanwhile development at the former Soeurs de la Visitation convent on Richmond Road has also seen no movement. Designated a heritage property, it will need to be incorporated into whatever is one day constructed. 

Built in the 1860s with additions added in 1913, Ashcroft Homes quickly picked up the property when it went on the market a decade and a half ago. They’ve planned to convert the former monastery into a mixed-use space with an apartment building attached, but the building has remained vacant and boarded up since 2018. Community residents are concerned it will remain unused until it’s condemned and torn down. 

An old black and white photo showing the outside of the  convent
The former Soeurs de la Visitation convent on Richmond Road as it was seen in its early days.

The enormous 40-storey building proposed for a vacant plot of land at 2026 Scott St in Westboro continues to take incremental steps toward completion. The land is the former home of the Granite Curling Club, now an empty building. The approximate 850 apartments would be just steps away from Westboro Station once the Western leg of the O-Train expansion is complete in a few years.

Infrastructure work for 2024

Major road work is set to continue throughout Kitchissippi.

The extensive work over the past year along Scott Street is set to continue with sections near Parkdale Ave currently under construction. The city will modify the intersections of Scott at Parkdale Avenue and Carruthers Avenue. The entirety of Sherwood Drive between Holland Avenue and Carling Avenue will see traffic management measures implemented.

Sewer and water refurbishment continues in Wellington Village. Last year, Caroline Ave had its under-street pipes replaced, and Huron Avenue, the next road over, will undergo the same this year. The City of Ottawa recently demolished a run-down house on Huron Avenue, and following the road work, the lot will be converted into a park. 

This year, two new parks are slated to be built in Westboro: one near Churchill Ave and Richmond Road, the other near Richmond and Island Park. Fisher Park should see upgrades made this year, and city-owned buildings like the Tom Brown Arena are also scheduled for improvements.

With files by Charlie Senack.

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