Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 1)

Canada Lands Company (CLC) and the team of consultants selected to do the planning process and development strategy had their first public meeting this week regarding this site.  They provided information on the current conditions of the 125 hectare site and existing infrastructure (including sewar, stormwater and transportation - such as bike/ped networks and transit) and some concepts for "green and blue" that could help guide the process forward.  The public was encouraged to participate at this Ideas Fair through comment sheets, recorded messages, ideas clouds and even at a children's station.

Personally I was thrilled that so much consideration was given to current ecological conditions that included both water and land features and established species.  Not only did maps indicate where "significant tree groupings" and individual trees (there is a 160 year old Bur Oak on the property) were located (Landmark Trees of Ontario noted on their Facebook page that there are multiple large Bitternut Hickories, Sugar Maples, Basswood, Rock Elm and Slippery Elm spread throughout the site), they also showed "periodic standing water" features and potential locations for rain water ponds.  Two adjacent woodlots were highlighted - including the ecological land classification of these woods (Great Lakes-St. Laurence Forests) - and the aquatic scenery of the Ottawa River was noted.  Between the woodlots and development areas, buffers were proposed, allowing for a transitional zone which would help protect the integrity of these forests.

“Our vision is for the complete integration of landscape architecture and urban design, which I think is quite ground-breaking.”

- Don Schultz, CLC’s real estate director for Rockcliffe
Daily Commercial News, May 2013

All in all it's a great place to start and allows the public to envision an urban space that is truly integrated with its surroundings.  And who wouldn't be inspired when they see images like this:

There is still time for you to provide your input.  Review the presentation and display boards online at the CLC website and then share your ideas and comments through the link on the Contact Information page.  This is a year and a half-process, so there will be many other opportunities to have your say and show your concerns and/or appreciation as the project develops.  Next spring the consultants will provide their conceptual design options for the property - which they will start to develop after receiving public comments from the meetings this week.

All images are from: http://www.clcrockcliffe.ca/


Winter 2013 Update:

The Public Consultation Report from this Open House/Ideas Fair was published in January 2013.  It was shown that there was overwhelming support from the public to "preserve as much of the natural topography as possible and enhance the area's walkability and connectivity" (see page seven of the report):

The largest group of similar comments focused on protection of existing trees, forests, birds, animals and open space.

Also as mentioned above the CLC Real Estate Director views this project as an opportunity to integrate the landscape with the urban design and the landscape architect that is part of the consultant team believes in the importance of creating and maintaining urban oases public space which bodes well for the project.  She was in Ottawa in 2006 doing a presentation for Carleton's School of Architecture Lecture Series:

Here is the full quote: Why is landscape important?  Because it feeds your soul. Someone won't sit down and write a poem, but they will design a garden. We have to put pressure on government to say that public realm spaces are really critical in terms of quality of life, especially as we're doing more development. We need theses oases in the urban areas that surround us.

As the project continues, I will provide more details on the progress in my series of posts!

Posts on Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment:

First blog post: September 2011

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 2) - April 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 3) - September 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 4) - October 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 5) - November 2013

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