Late 2021, residents at 116/120 Beech Street were notified that the property has been sold to developers Katasa Groupe.
In correspondence with Councillor Jeff Leiper on January 7th, he confirmed that the City has indicated to the new owners of 116/120 Beech their interest in acquiring a parcel of land for park expansion.
On October 27, city council approved a new official plan. The associated West Downtown Core Secondary Plan continues to commit to expand and enhance Ev Tramblay Park with wording such as:
The Secondary Plan also includes a Schedule F which shows Ev Tremblay Park expanded over approximately one third of 116/120 Beech.
On May 10th, 2021, the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association sent a letter to Councillor Jeff Leiper and the General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Dan Chenier asking that the following paragraph be added to the Preston-Carling Secondary Plan (in line with what Councillor Leiper indicated he supported in January):
On Wednesday January 27th Councillor Leiper reached out to say he had spoken with city staff about the possibility of amending the existing Preston-Carling Secondary Plan to state something along the lines of:
I indicated that adding such clarity to the official neighbourhood plan would go a long way to demonstrate the city’s commitment to expanding and enhancing Ev Tremblay park. He indicated he would keep the campaign updated on ongoing discussions with city staff.
On Monday January 18 I spoke with Councillor Jeff Leiper on the phone about the expansion of Ev Tremblay park. I appreciated him reaching out to me to set up the call.
On the call we discussed the fact that prior to the sale of the old Humane Society lot on Champagne (before his time as councillor), the neighbourhood plan stated that “Ev Tremblay Park will be expanded through the provisions of the Parklands By-law should the Humane Society decide to vacate their building.” And yet, when the property was actually sold, there was no documented evidence that a purchase was even considered by the city and certainly no public consultations about it.
I stressed this is exactly the situation community members want to avoid repeating if the Champagne and Beech property becomes available – a quiet sale and the start of development eliminating the possibility of park expansion without the community having a say.
While Councillor Leiper didn’t think a rezoning of the Champagne and Beech property below the current six stories would withstand a challenge to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), he said he would explore with city planners whether in the course of re-doing the master plan a more explicit reference could be added to expanding Ev Tremblay park into a smaller parcelof the Champagne and Beech lot, as indicated as a ‘potential’ in schedule C to the current Preston-Carling District Secondary Plan.
We also discussed the $2M+ in a city fund from cash-in-lieu payments from condo developers specifically targeted to the Preston-Carling corridor (not the Kitchissippi ward in general). While he said it is also earmarked to support a new ‘square park’ on Booth, I stressed that residents in the new condos on Champagne use Ev Tremblay park and weren’t going to divert to a new small parcel of greenspace on Booth if it gets built. Therefore it is imperative that funds be allocated to expand and improve the park of community members impacted directly by development as well as the new residents brought in by development.
I look forward to hearing back from Councillor Leiper about his conversation with city planners, but continue to push for a formal mechanism to be put in place to ensure the Champagne and Beech property cannot be sold to a developer without the city consulting the community about park expansion into that lot.
[Edited for accuracy Jan 30, 2021]
Last week I communicated with the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association and confirmed that the same thing this petition is trying to stop happening with the Beech and Champagne lot, happened with the (now) Envie lot.
CHNA members confirmed that prior to the sale of the Humane Society lot to the developers of the Envie towers, the Preston-Champagne Secondary Plan explicitly stated that “Ev Tremblay Park will be expanded through the provisions of the Parklands By-law should the Humane Society decide to vacate their building” [reference].
But instead of exploring expansion when the Humane Society lot came up for sale, there is no evidence the city looked into it at all [ed].
In fact CHNA submitted an access to information request in 2014 to find out what deliberations the city hand undertaken to consider purchasing the property [ed], but got no documents back, implying no analysis or deliberations had actually taken place.
Documented CHNA feedback to the city at the time on the rezoning of the Humane Society [reference] stated explicitly:
Later CHNA records confirm CHNA submitted an ATIP request looking for any discussion within the city of the Official Plan direction re: the Humane Society property. No record of a discussion was found, which means that no one reviewed the plan or, if it was reviewed, it was ignored [reference].
All of this reinforces the need for the city to clearly and publicly commit now to exploring the purchase of the Beech and Champagne lot if it comes up for sale, to achieve the neighbourhood plan which still states that Ev Tremblay park will be expanded.
We don’t want history to repeat itself!
City councillor Jeff Leiper reached out to me about the petition on January 12th 2021. He clarified that the 2018 amendment to the neighbourhood's secondary plan which permits a 6 story building on Beech and Champagne was not specifically about the 6 stories, and that that reference was actually included in a historical 2014 version of the plan which he had access to.
This is a useful clarification and I have updated this website and acknowledge my initial error, however the same concern still stands. The city had public plans to expand Ev Tremblay park in 2013, but then they later formalized a neighbourhood plan allowing for condos on both sides of the park while still stating in the very same plan that “Ev Tremblay Park will be enhanced and expanded.”
When this version of the plan went before council in 2014, there were two possible modes of expansion for Ev Tremblay park – south into the former Ottawa Humane Society, or west into the current parcel on Beech and Champagne. The south lot was subsequently sold and filled by the two Envie towers which go right up to the border with the park, and so there is only one direction left to expand.
The intent of this petition remains the same - to get the city to commit to seriously exploring the expansion of the park before allowing another mid-rise condo to be built.
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