Residents living near the Bayview yards site are eager to get in on the ground floor when it comes to planning community amenities.
Construction of an innovation complex at the Bayview public works site is a major first step in the redevelopment of the area, but what form the community space will take at the location is still uncertain.
The Jan. 21 finance and economic development committee approved of a report that calls for “meeting rooms of various capacities, small auditoriums and lecture facilities and reception rooms,” to be located in the 10- to 14-storey building planned for the area behind the existing public works building at 7 Bayview Ave.
That building would contain multi-purpose studios under a plan being spearheaded by Invest Ottawa, the city’s arm’s-length economic development agency.
Few details are clear at this point, but representatives from Mechanicsville and Hintonburg are eager to become involved in planning how the public space component of the Bayview yards site – which will subject to a future community design plan – will come into being. Likely, discussion of this space will be part of the broader discussion surrounding the CDP.
“What we have to remember is what was sent to council (Jan. 21) was a direction to staff to continue their work, and flip it into the CDP consultation,” said Guy Lachapelle, president of the Mechanicsville Community Association, who was among those who made presentations at the finance and economic development committee meeting.
He added that the community association will have to act quickly to influence what things will go into the innovation centre.
Lachapelle sees this as a first step towards constructive discussions on what amenities in the future development would most be of benefit to existing and future residents of the area.
Both Lachapelle and Hintonburg Community Association president Jeff Leiper mentioned the likelihood of creating a municipal land development corporation to guide development in the areas of the Bayview site not occupied by the innovation centre. This scenario, coupled with the community discussions, would allow the opportunity for greater community input, he said.
“We, along with the MCA, would like to have a community representative sitting on the board of any (municipal land development corporation),” said Leiper, saying it would be unusual for that not to happen.
The CDP planning process for Bayview would also require a number of rezonings, meaning detailed plans for a public space – decided by the community – could be made part of the rezoning document.
“The lines of communication are open,” said Leiper. “We just need to work through the process right now.”
Rarely does neighbourhood planning happen in a vacuum and Bayview is no exception. With a community design plan set be created in Mechanicsville and another for the Scott Street corridor, members of the public advisory committee will be challenged to guide the process.
But creating plans concurrently can also present opportunities, according to Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs.
“It’s an opportunity to provide needed services in another (CDP) area that will serve the same community,” she said, describing a scenario where a type of space not available in one CDP area could possibly be designated in a neighbouring CDP area.
“It gives us more flexibility to look at zoning for these eventualities. Having everything happening at once can be a benefit, but it will take a lot of volunteer hours.”