More than a year after finally acquiring the property, the Canada Lands Company is finally ready to start the consultation process with the surrounding community on the design plans for the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.
The company will hold its first open house at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on Nov. 26 from 3 to 9 p.m., featuring two presentations, one at 4 p.m. and one at 7 p.m.
The rest of the evening is planned to offer people the opportunity for members of the public can gather information and offer comments and ideas about the future of the property.
Don Schultz, a Calgary native, is the real estate director in charge of the project that will see the 136 -hectare site transformed into a unique urban landscape.
“It is all about gathering as many ideas as we can get,” he said.
Schultz said Canada Lands will only present an analysis of the site at the open house, leaving space for residents to comment on all aspects of the project.
“There is no design,” he said. “This event is all about where and how the design should go.”
The goal for the group over the next 18 to 24 months is to develop a community design plan and submit it to the city by spring of 2014.
The process of purchasing the land originally started in 2005, when the Department of National Defence planned to close the base and sell the land to Canada Lands, with a portion of the site also being sold to the National Capital Commission in 2005.
Canada Lands officially purchased the land in May 2011 following the settlement of a three-year land claim dispute with the Algonquins of Ontario.
Residents from communities surrounding the air base participated in a number of consultations at that time, but the land claim halted the original plans.
One of the concerns raised during the first consultation process was traffic, specifically where it would be directed in the area.
Schultz said the group continues to see the south end of the development, Codd's Road or Burma Road as an entrance and exit for the development, but added the company also wants to have direct access to the Aviation Parkway. Access to the parkway depends on whether the route is used as part of the proposed interprovincial bridge project.
Schultz said the company will tackle this particular factor by working on two designs, one if the bridge proceeds at the Kettle Island corridor and one if it does not.
“We fully expect that traffic will be a strong concern and we will address those concerns,” he said.
The main thing, Schultz pointed out, is that a lot of time has passed since those first round of consultations, including changes to where the city’s light rail system will run.
Initially planned for Montreal Road, the LRT will actually be further south, which Schultz said has affected the projected number of units the company is planning for.
In early planning, the team wanted to create an urban hub of more than 15,000 units near the projected transit station.
But that is no longer an option, Schultz said and the actual number of units is now more dependent on the real estate market and results and comments from the public consultation process.
The Rockcliffe project team will be announced at the open house, which includes management from MMM Group and Meloche and Associates, market research from N. Barry Lyon Consultants, urban design and landscape through Brook McIlroy and Janet Rosenberg and Associates and public consultant specialists Momentum.
The entire development of the land is projected to take more than 15 years to complete, with 8 to 12 hectares under development at any given time.
The Canada Lands Company has a history in acquiring land from the defence department and has in the past used street names and landmarks to commemorate the land they are developing. The company has also officially launched a Rockcliffe air base website, www.clcrockcliffe.ca, which Schultz said is dedicated to receiving comments from the public and keeping residents informed.
There is no registration needed to attend the open house and residents from across the city are invited to participate.