Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heritage Designation for Convent One Step Closer

The Planning and Environment Committee approved a recommendation today to designate the entire Soeurs de la Visitation site as a heritage property. This will be voted on by City Council on April 14.

The developer, Ashcroft Homes is all up in arms about it and is trying to quash the designation through the Ontario Superior Court. The funny thing is the main effect that the designation will have is it will make it harder for the developer to appeal City decisions about the site to the Ontario Municipal Board. Ashcroft's lawyer pointed this out with indignation today at the Committee hearing, referring to this 'veto' as a 'draconian measure.'

But this 'veto' would suit me just fine. It means that the developer would likely have to comply with the density, height, heritage protection rules and other planning guidelines that it was fully aware of when it bought the property. Ashcroft's proposed plans show that it would much rather double the density and the height, excavate most of the site for under ground parking, punch a hole through the Byron Linear Park, cut down trees protected by the City tree cutting bylaw and block the view of the Convent from Richmond.

I am quite keen to see the site developed in a way that is actually in accordance with the planning bylaws and Westboro's secondary plan. A heritage designation is a great tool to make that happen and is completely consistent with the history and values of the site.


  1. The web page below raises a good question: are the advantages of smart growth being realized in Westboro?


  2. One more comment:

    August 8th piece in the Citizen shows that before the land was sold that the City was considering making protecting the SITE under the heritage designation.

    see this web page: http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/bulldog/archive/2009/08/18/les-soeurs-de-la-visitation-for-sale.aspx

    Also, Ken Gray has done a good job of covering this story as it develops.

  3. Thanks John. That Spacing post was written by my wife, Allegra Newman as part of a series we were doing on Spacing about a condo development being planned behind our house.

    I agree that Ken is doing a great job covering this issue. A link to his blog is in my links, as is a link to the Hampton Iona Community Association's website, which has a comprehensive set of links related to the Ashcroft proposal.

  4. Great meeting last night, Chris. It was nice to see so many articulate people and only one fallout. I hope you update your blog. I see Ashcroft is going to fight to the last drop. They paid over $12 million for that site and and I'm glad Councillor Leadman has said it's not the city's worry weather they make money or not. I also hope they make that slide show presentation available to the public. Perhaps you can get a copy and put a link on your site. I've written my letter to the councillors and the Citizen.