How long will it be before Mayor Jim Watson rides in on his white horse to save the Chateau Laurier? Election year, you know.
The developer is not local so there’s no fear of alienating the old boy’s club here and losing campaign funding.
Interesting too that Ottawa City Hall has gone into great detail about the process that goes into this decision, essentially inviting public comment.
The new-look Chateau Laurier.
Watson can go: “See I’m not a pawn of the developers.” Well, not a pawn of out-of-town developers. Just ask Mizrahi Developments during the last election. Watson made an issue of its building’s height at Wellington West and Island Park Drive, but then the company got its height after the election.
Yes, this is a no-lose attack option for Watson. In fact, he’s already spoken to it in a negative fashion.
Expect Watson pronouncements any second:
The City has received a revised heritage application for a new seven-storey addition at the rear of the Château Laurier hotel, facing Major’s Hill Park. Visit ottawa.ca/chateaulaurier for more details.
In preparing this latest design, the applicant has considered public feedback, along with input from City planning and heritage staff, and from the City of Ottawa’s Urban Design Review Panel. The new design has been revised by, for instance, further reducing its proposed height and making greater use of stone and bronze to better reflect the materials used on the historic hotel.
The applicant still needs several planning approvals before the project can proceed, which will provide opportunities for the public to give feedback on the revised design. Written feedback can be submitted to email@example.com.
The applicant has received some public feedback that expressed concern about the contemporary design choice made by the Château Laurier, but the Ontario Heritage Act does not prescribe design, and additions to the hotel are not required to replicate the style of the historic building. In fact, heritage conservation practices in Canada encourage additions to heritage buildings to be of their current time.
The Château Laurier is protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and all additions must be approved by City Council after consideration by the Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Planning Committee. The Built Heritage Sub-Committee will consider a report by heritage staff on Monday, June 18. The Planning Committee will consider it on Tuesday, June 26. Members of the public can make a five-minute presentation and submit written comments to both committees.
The Heritage report would then be considered at City Council on Wednesday, June 27 and, if approved, a heritage permit would be issued.
The hotel addition will also require Site Plan Control approval by the General Manager of the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development department. Once approval from Committee and Council is confirmed through a public process, staff will work with the Château Laurier on the Site Plan process to consider issues like how the application respects the neighbourhood, and how it fits with the community vision, surrounding buildings and public realm. City planning staff will also ensure the proposed development addresses all current City policies.
Once all conditions for site plan approval have been satisfied and the Development Agreement executed, the site plan drawings would be stamped as approved and the applicant could then obtain building permits and start construction.
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