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Old February 8th, 2006, 10:29 PM   #41
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^You're right, any expansion of transit is better than none. The Airport has been ruled out (for now). I can't remember why, but it will be linked by a bus shuttle from Lester (?) station.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 10:49 PM   #42
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I've always loved the bright yellow Super C plastic bags. Where will I get my bags now???
_______________________________________
Food fight: Super C converts to Food Basics
By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Wed, Feb 8, 2006 10:00 AM EST

The Super C name is about to disappear from the Ottawa grocery scene.

A&P Canada plans to convert seven of its nine Super Cs in Ontario to Food Basics, including the store at 426 Hazeldean Road in Kanata. The Super C in Rockland will also become a Food Basic outlet. The changeover will be begin in late March.

Pembroke's Super C will close Feb. 11, while the Super C in Cornwall will be converted to a Loeb Supermarket.

"Upon reviewing our current banner portfolio, we found that customers have a strong affiliation to the Food Basics brand," says Alain Brisebois, senior executive vice-president of A&P Canada. "Therefore, we are investing in these conversions to provide customers with a consistent discount offer that they know and trust, across the province. "

As part of the conversions, the stores' product selection will be modified to include A&P Canada's own private label brands including MasterChoice, Equality and Basics for Less.

Super C employees in the stores slated for conversion to Food Basics have been provided with working notice and package options. "We thank the Super C employees for their service and hope to offer some of them the opportunity to work within the new Food Basics stores," Mr. Brisebois said.

The Super C brand will continue in Quebec, where it operates 52 stores.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:03 PM   #43
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February 9, 2006
Light rail may stall O-Train
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, OTTAWA SUN
City councillors got an update on the city's largest construction project yesterday and there was at least one surprise.

Capital Ward Coun. Clive Doucet said he wasn't aware the current O-Train operation may have to be shut down for about a year for the transit line to be completed.

"That's not acceptable," said Doucet, pointing out that about 10,000 passengers use the train daily.

"They can replace a bridge over the Queensway in the middle of the night, but can't keep a rail line open while they build a double track?"

Doucet said the O-Train is equivalent to commuters using about 20 buses, which take about three times as long to reach their destination.

PROJECT REVIEWED

City staff and the project's fairness commissioner, Howard Grant, also provided council with a review of the $725-million project.

Some councillors were also interested in the non-disclosure agreement required of any city politician and staff if they want to see details of the project.

Gloucester-Southgate Ward Coun. Diane Deans refuses to sign and again raised the issue that she is an elected official representing the public and deserves to see the documents without conditions.

Grant said the current state of the project requires non-disclosure restrictions to avoid jeopardizing the plan by leaks of proprietary information to other bidders involved in the procurement process.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #44
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Council escalates battle with Loblaw over big-box store
By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Thu, Feb 9, 2006 8:00 AM EST

Ottawa city council is engaged in another tug-of-war with a big-box developer, throwing up a speed bump in the path of a new Loblaw Superstore at St. Laurent Boulevard and Conroy Road.

Council has declared it will not sell a strip of city-owned land that runs through the middle of the proposed site.

Council rejected the big-box store last summer when it refused to rezone the land, which sits on the edge of the Ottawa Business Park. Loblaw responded by appealing the ruling to the Ontario Municipal Board. The appeal is to be heard in coming weeks.

Councillor Diane Deans, who opposes the store, hopes the city's refusal to sell the land will strengthen its hand in talks with the company.

But Councillor Peter Hume warned the decision will cause Loblaw to adopt a "second-best" design for the site, which will see loading docks backing into his ward. He vowed to overturn the decision.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:06 PM   #45
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February 9, 2006
OCC expansion stuck in park
By DONNA CASEY, OTTAWA SUN
Get it done - that's the message from Ottawa's tourism industry to Ottawa Congress Centre officials who say they've hit a roadblock in the much-delayed $85-million expansion of the downtown convention centre.

"It is seriously impeding our ability to sell conventions for this city," said Ottawa Tourism president Jacques Burelle, of yet another delay in the decade-long saga to revamp the OCC.

"Every passing day continues to hurt us and we're waiting on them to get it resolved," he said.

Congress Centre board members gathered yesterday to discuss the latest snag in the expansion plan.

The deal, with $85 million in government funding, hinges on a $10-million partnership between the OCC and landlord Viking Rideau.

Negotiations between the OCC and Viking Rideau have stumbled over the proposed cost of parking spots for an expanded congress centre.

"We see that as a significant roadblock in negotiations, but the negotiations still continue," said Phil Downey, chairman of the OCC board.

Viking Rideau spokeswoman Cindy VanBuskirk said the two parties are "still in dialogue" on the expansion.

Downey said the next step to salvage the deal involves setting up a meeting with Ontario Tourism Minister Jim Bradley, whose ministry oversees the OCC.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:12 PM   #46
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Thursday » February 9 » 2006

Light-rail officials seek to allay council's concerns
Councillors order review of documents to see which can be made public

Jake Rupert
The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Officials overseeing Ottawa's north/south light-rail project tried to allay concerns of city councillors yesterday during an information session on the progress of the bidding process.

The session was added to yesterday's city council meeting to address councillors' concerns about the amount of information being given to them and the public, and to correct inaccurate rumours surrounding the $750-million project -- such as the rumour the extension to Barrhaven was being axed. It's still on the table, city manager Kent Kirkpatrick said.

It is a crucial time in the project as the environmental assessment nears completion and bid deadlines approach for three competing groups, but staff and consultants insist that everything is proceeding properly.

"Any deviation from the principle and the process, I would be reporting," said Howard Grant, a consultant hired to make sure the bidding process is done properly.

Mr. Grant said that there must be confidentiality in order to ensure the bidders aren't stealing ideas from each other, but that any councillor can see details of the bids or any other aspect of the project upon signing a confidentiality agreement.

Part of the problem, Mr. Grant said, is the process being followed on the project.

Usually design aspects of a project are approved and made public with groups then bidding on the contract. The process council approved for this project rolls these two stages together, and also includes what kind of trains will run on the system, in order to save time and money.

This means three key aspects of the plan are subjected to bidding process secrecy, and it has resulted in several councillors feeling shut out and nervous.

"I feel like I'm blindfolded," said Councillor Diane Deans. "I don't even know what questions to ask."

Councillor Diane Holmes, among others, agreed.

"It like a totally closed shop that I have little access to, and I'm feeling uncomfortable with this," she said. "I want to see as much public presentation as possible on as much of what can be made public as possible."

Council ordered the light-rail project team to make a list of reports and documents the team has and for the materials to be reviewed to see if they can be made public.

If they can't, staff must state the reason. Councillors and staff are also working on plans to get regular updates throughout the rest of the project, which is scheduled to start construction this summer and be running by 2009.

Coun. Maria McRae said she hasn't felt a need to find out more information yet because it's too early in the process. She wants to see the final plans and the costs when it's time to make a decision. "I've had no difficulty getting answers to questions and information when I need it," she said. "I'm confident things are moving ahead and there will be sufficient opportunity for council to have its say when the time is right."

Mr. Kirkpatrick assured councillors that the preferred bid is selected, which will be done by a panel that includes two councillors and the mayor, final approval rests with council.

"The process is performing very well to date," Mr. Kirkpatrick said. "Council will have an opportunity to review and make changes before anything is done."

The design aspects of the bids, where the route will go and how it will be built, are due in mid-February. The cost estimates are due at the end of the month. After this, the bids will be examined to see if they conform with what the city wants. If they do, they will go to the selection panel, which will choose the preferred bid. After that, the bid goes to committee and council.

Coun. Gord Hunter said it would be negligent to not try and get council involved in the decision-making at an earlier stage. He said at the next council meeting he intends to bring a motion demanding that happen. "The way it is now, council comes in at the end of the process when everything is all but done. That's way too late in the process," he said.

"All the horses are out of the barn before council gets to decide if we are going to close the door."
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Old February 13th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #47
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Sunday » February 12 » 2006

Rideau Centre prepares major expansion
Plans for 110,000-square-foot addition filed at City Hall

Patrick Dare
The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ottawa's Rideau Centre is about to proceed with a major expansion that some people hope will revitalize historic Rideau Street, which is still trying to recover from its dark days as a closed bus mall.

Viking Rideau Corporation, which owns the busy downtown shopping centre, has completed plans for the 110,000-square-foot expansion and this week filed a site-plan application for the project at City Hall. Such applications, which involve significant preparation costs, are a reliable sign that property owners are ready to go ahead with building projects.

The company isn't releasing drawings and details until its owners -- Cadillac Fairview and two private investors -- have given final sign off on the project, expected around March 6.

But Rideau Centre spokeswoman Cindy VanBuskirk said the application at City Hall includes space for 25 to 30 new stores, including a couple of large stores, and a restaurant. The expansion will involve two floors, a third mezzanine level, and an underground two-level parking garage.

The building will take place on vacant land east of the existing Rideau Centre -- bordered by Rideau Street and Nicholas Street -- that is now used as a surface parking lot, a traffic loop from Besserer Street, and the old Ogilvie department store building, which is vacant.

If all approvals come quickly, construction will start in June and the new building would be open by fall of 2008.

"It will be very architecturally interesting," said Ms. VanBuskirk.

Rideau-Vanier Councilor Georges Bedard said the Rideau Centre's expansion could have a tremendous impact on the neighbourhood, which is still trying to recover from the years when Rideau Street was dominated by an unsightly bus mall.

The bus mall was torn down in the 1990s. But the street -- once home to some of the city's most distinguished stores -- is "very ugly" because of tattoo parlours, stores that have their backs to the street and unattractive street furniture, bus stops and planters, said Mr. Bedard.

His hope is that the Rideau Centre's expansion will generate development charge money that can be used by the city to improve the landscape of the street.

As well, he hopes the company will use this project to build an attractive front and entrances to Rideau Street, creating a "livelier, more animated" place.

Mr. Bedard said he wants to see a public meeting where the plans and drawings of the project can be shown and explained to people in the ward. He noted that the building won't be very tall and so won't cause concerns about dwarfing other buildings nearby.

"The street needs some rejuvenation and some revitalization. This project, and any other improvement we may make to our existing facade, will certainly go a long way to helping that process along," said Ms. VanBuskirk. She said the whole Rideau Street area is getting renewed life with some condominium towers being built nearby. She said potential tenants are lined up to get into the Rideau Centre.

But she noted that the expansion won't be huge by shopping mall standards. The Rideau Centre is now 350,000 square feet, plus the 240,000 Sears store. "We have no intention of over-building," she said.

The Rideau Centre's expansion had been entangled for years with the much-discussed expansion of the Ottawa Congress Centre next door, with the convention space of the Congress Centre to be built over the Rideau Centre building.

But the Congress Centre decided in 2004 that design was too expensive, and the Congress Centre should build upwards on its own property. So the Rideau Centre and the Congress Centre now have separate expansion plans. The Congress Centre expansion has been mired in financing delays for years.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006
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Old February 17th, 2006, 12:24 AM   #48
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February 16, 2006
Transpo rolls out $4B plan
New transitways, light-rail construction top priorities
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, OTTAWA SUN
The city's transportation committee got a glimpse of future transit plans in a detailed report from OC Transpo officials yesterday.

It was part of the ridership growth plan and required to fulfil provincial requirements to receive a percentage of Ontario gas tax revenues.

The city plans to spend about $4 billion to overhaul the transit network over the next 15 years.

The bulk of the money, $2.5 billion, is earmarked for new transitways and light rail construction.

"It's a revamping of the system," said Helen Gault, acting director of transit services.

On the city's books is construction of a transitway from Pinecrest to Bayshore and an east-west, light-rail transit line.

The report also suggests the city's long-range financial plan identified that the city might have a problem paying the bill because a "substantial funding gap exists in the city's ability to pay for these projects."

The federal and provincial governments have committed $400 million to help pay the tab on the $725-million, north-south light-rail project in the works. By next year, the city expects the third instalment of its $35-million share of the gas tax for a total of about $86 million spread over three years.

"Federal and provincial gas tax transfers and infrastructure grants will help to partly overcome the funding gap, but they will unlikely eliminate it completely," the report says.

The outlay of cash will also include $630 million to expand the fleet of light-rail cars from the three to 105 trains. Maintenance and control facilities for the light-rail network are expected to cost $100 million. Another $280 million is allocated for bus maintenance facilities, including four new bus garages and light-rail storage facilities.

OC Transpo is also planning to spend $810 million to expand its fleet of buses from 912 to 1,750. About $50 million will be set aside for the construction of park-and-ride lots.

BUS CAMS BY 2009

Some new buses will feature technology telling the visually and hearing impaired where they are on their route. By 2009, a few buses will be equipped with cameras to increase passenger safety.

Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess said the $4-billion tag is the cost of doing business and ensuring people get around the city efficiently.

"It's like any other infrastructure project. As you look ahead, there is obviously a cost."

While Bloess said it's a lot of money, it is also an investment. "The more people you get using it (transit), the more you save on the number of roads you have to build."
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Old February 17th, 2006, 01:01 AM   #49
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I just fell into the H&M website, and they've got Bayshore listed as a store. So I guess they've lined up the Market Fresh site already? Good news!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #50
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Rideau St east of the Rideau Centre could do with a little make-over; a few nice stores although IMO Rideau centre is ok as it is. Sparks Street is what needs some major surgery. I know its winter but it needs some exciting retail development for it to be more than just a shortcut to Bank.

Expanding the Transitway.. sounds good. From Pinecrest to Bayshore only? I would have liked the Transitway linked from Iris bus station to Pinecrest and then Bayshore. Pinecrest is kinda hard to get to without a car.

At least Super C stores are being converted into Food Basics and not just being left empty like most of the Market Fresh stores.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 05:19 AM   #51
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Hello, new here

Nice to see that the Rideau Centre expansion finally seems to be going ahead, hope they will design something not bland, especially for the streetfront exterior along Rideau. As for the former Ogilvy's that idea of converting to lofts would be really nice, especially with its architecture and history in Ottawa's Department Store scene. Hopefully the Congress Centre and Viking Rideau can come to an agreement of some sort, the city is really behind other major Canadian cities in terms of convention space offered.
About Sparks, the ER Fisher closing will really be a loss.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #52
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Hello Hog's Back Welcome to SSC.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by samsonyuen
Downtown showdown in the works
Federal government, city could square off over architecture
Zev Singer and Dave Rogers
The Ottawa Citizen

Monday, January 16, 2006


CREDIT: Rod MacIvor, The Ottawa Citizen
Citizen architecture columnist Rhys Phillips has described the office tower at 269 Laurier Ave., above, as a prime example of an ugly, cheap-looking federal building. 'It is just a box covered in metal and glass that could be built anywhere in the world by any cheap developer,' he says.
A potential federal building boom and the city's new downtown design plans are on a future collision course, some city councillors say, with the casualty likely being the top-tier government's commitment to steer away from ugly glass boxes.

The showdown could come over proposals for a possible 800,000 square feet of new downtown office space, recently being hinted at by the federal Department of Public Works.

Although the federal government has never been legally obliged to follow the city's planning rules, it has long followed a tradition of voluntarily seeking city approval through the same channels any private developer would.

But now that the city has set its standards higher, city planning committee chairman Peter Hume worries the federal government's nod to city rules will be overpowered by its desire to produce the cheapest architecture available -- a return to "banal, boring" buildings in the downtown core.

Last year, the city adopted a set of rules aimed at ensuring any new buildings in the city core enhance rather than detract from the look of the city. Proposals that don't measure up can be rejected. Among other things, they call for better landscaping and more detailed and interesting building structures.

"What will be most interesting is how soon they will abandon their 'Oh, we're your partners and live by your rules,'" Mr. Hume said of the federal government.

Diane Holmes, the city councillor for the downtown core, said she is not yet a believer that the federal government will change its previous building habits.

"Public Works has a directive to build the cheapest buildings possible," she said. "The federal government has no interest in the urban design of the city, in making the capital city a jewel."

She said the potential federal building boom will be a test for the resolve of city council.

"It will depend on how strongly council feels about it," she said. "Whether they're happy with this dark, dirty, dank, boring downtown that they have now or whether they want to upgrade that into something that tourists would be interested in, that would really make a statement about an exciting downtown for Ottawa."

The Citizen's architecture columnist, Rhys Phillips, said several architects have told him that in the past, senior government officials have told them to design buildings that look cheap.

"The government wants to make it look like it is spending taxpayers' money wisely," Mr. Phillips said.

He added, however, that government buildings need not be built that way.

"In Vancouver, the taxation people got a building done by one of the top architects that won a Governor General's award," he said.

Mr. Phillips said a prime example of ugly, cheap-looking federal buildings is a new office tower at 269 Laurier Ave.

"It is just a box covered in metal and glass that could be built anywhere in the world by any cheap developer," Mr. Phillips said. "On the Albert Street side, they turned it literally into a strip mall with strip mall parking.

"Many of the new buildings are just reflective glass boxes."

Pierre Teotonio, a spokesman for Public Works Canada, said the suggestion that the federal government is planning 800,000 square feet of office space downtown is speculation.

"No decision has been taken to build the office space because we are still in strategic planning," he said.

Mr. Teotonio said on Friday he could not immediately say whether Public Works would respect the city's architecture guidelines.

Ned Lathrop, the deputy city manager in charge of planning, is more optimistic that the federal government will honour the new process.

"We've actually had discussions with Public Works about design and design guidelines and I think they're on side to doing a better job about designing buildings that they lease and rent," Mr. Lathrop said.

He said too many federal buildings are in the vein of a cheap and simple "square box that sits on the ground." He doesn't believe that will happen again.

"They have to go through a process now to prove and tell us how they're going to enhance the city," he said. "That process in itself won't give us what we've had in the past."

Ms. Holmes said she'd like to see council stand firm and make the federal government decide whether to follow the guidelines or ignore them and admit it doesn't care.

"We've never tested them," Ms. Holmes said of the federal government.
Bless this man for taking a stand on how ugly modern government buildings
are... same thing in EVERY Canadian city... most of the modern government
buildings are hideous. I understand them trying to be economical, but it goes
further than that.. They look like no one cared at all.
Btw it has been really interesting following the discussions of projects in Ottawa!
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:48 PM   #54
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I just hope 150 Elgin turns out to be more like the World Exchange Plaza than that ugly building at Metcalfe and Gloucester (or Nepean?) with the white stripes. Go Ottawa!
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #55
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From: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/...b4653d&k=59920
__________________________________________
Quote:
Gatineau bus terminal to ease Ottawa traffic

Susannah Heath-Eves, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, February 24, 2006
The City of Gatineau plans to build a terminal to ease the congestion its buses create along King Edward Avenue during rush hour.
"Our ridership is increasing so we need more buses," said Celine Gaultier, STO's spokeswoman. "So where do we put the buses, you know?" she said.
With ridership increasing on both sides of the river, the two cities are working together to figure out how to deal with the capital's downtown traffic congestion.
The Gatineau bus company hired an engineering firm last month to figure out the best place to keep the buses while they wait to start their afternoon rush hour runs along Rideau and Wellington streets. STO hopes to have the terminal up and running within a year or two.
It has not yet been decided where to put the terminal, or even whether it should be in Ottawa or Gatineau.
OC Transpo is involved in the project, but the Ottawa buses won't use the terminal.
"I don't foresee OC Transpo buses being involved, but we are transit people, so we'll bring our experience to the table," said Helen Gault, OC Transpo's acting head.
As for those who want the buses off King Edward now, Ms. Gault said the problem is already being addressed. Some STO buses are taking different routes to avoid the busiest intersections along King Edward and Rideau.
Ottawa and Gatineau each have their own transit expansion plans. Ottawa has light-rail and Gatineau has Rapibus. The projects have to mesh where they overlap, but Ms. Gault is optimistic.
"We work very closely with our colleagues across the river. ... What's good for them is good for us. So we're all trying to attract ridership and we're not in competition; rather in collaboration," she said.
The two cities and the National Capital Commission are toying with the idea of a transit loop between the Ottawa and Gatineau cores.
One route being considered is along Wellington Street in Ottawa and Rue Laurier in Gatineau, and the two would be connected by the Alexandra Bridge and the unused Prince of Wales railway bridge near LeBreton Flats.
But Ms. Gault said the study is in its preliminary stages and they're keeping their options open.
"That particular concept shouldn't get too many legs. It might be the solution but certainly we haven't proved that it is yet," she said.
The interprovincial rapid transit study will probably wrap up some time in 2007.
STO announced Wednesday it was spending $1.2 million more a year on bus services in Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers. The Gatineau transit system has seen about a 3.5-per-cent increase in passengers due to housing developments and increased services.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 10:44 PM   #56
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From: http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/OttawaAn...61430-sun.html
__________________________________
Quote:
Sat, February 25, 2006
Convention centre not dead, OCC says
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, OTTAWA SUN


The Ottawa Congress Centre is wasting no time moving ahead with its plan to build a top-notch convention facility in the nation's capital.

Less than 24 hours after the plug was pulled on the multimillion-dollar project, OCC board chairman Phil Downey remained optimistic about the prospects for a convention centre, saying the group has no plans to throw in the towel.

"We (the board) already have a meeting set up for next week to brainstorm and to discuss a project that will work," said Downey.

A plan to expand the Congress Centre to accommodate a convention centre has been in the works for years, but one of the primary funding partners, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, axed the plan after negotiations between the OCC and the Rideau Centre's landlord, Viking Rideau, seemed to have reached an impasse.

DISPUTE OVER PARKING


Downey said he wants to meet with members of Ottawa's tourism and business community, as well as airport officials and the Ottawa Senators organization, as soon as possible to discuss the next step.

Downey said the expansion plan failed after OCC and Viking Rideau couldn't come to an agreement over parking for a new convention centre, and that's why the OCC and the ministry decided it was time to move on to another plan.

The Sun reported earlier this month that the deal hinged on a $10-million partnership between the OCC and Viking Rideau.

Downey said the province is still guaranteeing its $30-million commitment to the project and he believes the $25 million from the city and $30 million from the federal government is secure. It's estimated the new convention centre will cost about $125 million.

Viking Rideau general manager Bob Hasler suspects his company has no future role to play in the project, but said a facility is needed.

Downey suggested a convention centre could be built elsewhere in the city. He also said a link to the National Arts Centre and the conference centre or some variation could be a possibility.

"We want the very best," he said.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #57
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From: http://ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndR...68913-sun.html
________________________
Quote:
Thu, March 2, 2006
Staff rail at LRT critics

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, OTTAWA SUN


The city is fighting back against those who claim city staff is misleading the public about Ottawa's light rail project.

At yesterday's transportation committee meeting, David Jeanes, the president of Transport 2000 Canada, an advocacy group, and Ottawa's deputy city manager, Ned Lathrop, went head-to-head after Jeanes accused members from the LRT project office and senior management of misleading council, the media and the public about the $725-million project that is expected to start this summer.

COMPLAINTS

"I have met with almost every group that has concerns about the project and each has very legitimate complaints," Jeanes told the committee. Among other groups, he said, the Airport Authority, University of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission are concerned about the project.

Lathrop took exception with Jeanes' comments.


"I'm not holding back anymore," said a visibly angry Lathrop. "It's about time we woke up. We are a city of the future. This city deserves good quality light rail."

He also told Jeanes the city would no longer accept unfair criticism directed toward staff and council about its largest construction project.

"We will push back from now on," Lathrop told Jeanes.

Lathrop was vindicated late yesterday when Paul Benoit, president of the Ottawa Airport Authority, e-mailed city staff and River Coun. Maria McRae, who had been asking about concerns the authority had with LRT.

"The Airport Authority and the city are working well together on the airport portion of the project; we have no serious concerns ... and I do not foresee any," Benoit wrote.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office suggested they expect similar letters from the NCC and the U of O.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #58
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From: http://ottawasun.com/News/OttawaAndR...2/1468951.html
_____________________________
Quote:
Thu, March 2, 2006
Toll may make trips a fee ride

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, SUN

Travelling into downtown Ottawa could get costly if a city councillor has his way.

If rising gas prices aren’t enough to make you take the bus, maybe a congestion charge will.

Capital Coun. Clive Doucet wants the city to charge a user fee for every car heading into the downtown core to help pay for road and sewer repairs in older Ottawa neighbourhoods.

He wants the city to experiment with a two-year pilot project to test its effectiveness and gauge the public’s reaction to the charge. The idea is similar to one instituted by London, England, which began charging drivers a toll in an effort to discourage cars in the capital’s core.

Charge is ‘sensible’


“A congestion charge is a sensible way of raising taxes,” Doucet said. “People have to realize we have to do something.”

Under Doucet’s plan, drivers heading downtown and who cross the McIlraith, Billings, Dunbar and Hog’s Back bridges between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. would pay a fee when they register their vehicle licence.

Doucet says the charge could be anywhere from 25¢ a trip to 50¢. Drivers would only be charged from Monday to Friday, and only if travelling into downtown. It would also apply to drivers who travel to downtown via the Queen Elizabeth Driveway at Preston St.

Bay Coun. Alex Cullen says his colleague’s idea about a cure for vehicles cutting through Capital Ward to get to downtown might not be as farfetched as it first seems.

“He’s trying to generate some discussion because cars are destroying the quality of life for his residents,” said Cullen. “It’s the shape of things to come.”

Doucet argues cities don’t have enough money to maintain hundreds of kilometres of roads and alternatives must be considered.

In Doucet’s motion to be introduced at the next transportation committee meeting in two weeks, he suggests council will spend about $145 million on new roads over the next three years and taxes it currently collects are not enough to pay for it.

The city isn’t on board yet, but hasn’t dismissed the idea outright.

Deputy City Manager Ned Lathrop said vehicular congestion is beginning to inhibit the movement of people downtown.

“It’s one of those things that have to be considered,” he said, but added Ottawa’s traffic congestion is nowhere near London’s level.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #59
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From: http://www.ottawabusinessjournal.com...7092288746.php
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Quote:
Munter weighs in on Light Rail as working group convenes
By Jim Donnelly, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Wed, Mar 1, 2006 3:00 PM EST

The City of Ottawa's relentless quest for transparency regarding the north-south light rail transit project has caught the eye of more than just irate community members, it seems.

Former councillor and mayoral candidate Alex Munter says he's appalled with the city's actions over the project's short life span thus far, and says leadership within city council is to blame over a process that's spiraled dangerously into gratuitous mudslinging.

"I'm deeply dismayed by what's happened with light rail expansion," said Mr. Munter. "It's been dividing people, dividing communities, because of concerns over secrecy, bad process and potential cost overruns.

"I think that goes to leadership, and some of the people who have been the greatest champions of light rail are getting off the train," he continued. "And that's because there's been poor communication, poor leadership, and too much secrecy."

The city's LRT project rolled on last week with the convening of a public working group designed to solve one of its more contentious issues.

At issue within the group is the placement of maintenance and storage facilities within one of three proposed sites around town – one just off Airport Parkway (known as the Lester site), one at the old Walkley railyard and one at Bowesville Road. Local residents are already furious at the city's apparent preference of the Lester site, located within a swath of green space.

Last December, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment recommended the creation of a working group to determine the best location for the maintenance yard after evaluating the city's environmental assessment.

But seats were still warm after the working group's first meeting last week when OBJ began receiving fresh complaints about the consultation process and its supposed lack of sincerity.

"This is moving forward very much like a 'we have to do it, so let's get it out of the way' kind of thing," said a group delegate. "Had not a bunch of residents started complaining to the ministry (of the Environment), this never would have happened."

In the spirit of public transparency, the city also unveiled last week a new section on its website devoted to light rail. The site promises to provide project schedules and construction updates as the initiative rolls along.

City officials, however, insist the working group be given peace and quiet so it can achieve its mandate. The working group is made up of community and business leaders and reports to Barry Townsend, manager of city's light rail implementation division. It is being coordinated by Marshall, Macklin & Monaghan, the engineering consulting firm that is providing services to the city during the project's procurement phase.

"They're going to have several meetings," said Mr. Townsend, who expressed irritation when asked what effect the working group's potential recommendations might have on the project.

The group is scheduled to meet four times, for a total of twelve hours, over the next four weeks.

"I think it would be more appropriate... because the working group puts together their recommendation, and then it goes out to a public meeting," he continued. "And that would be the time you'd report on it, not now.

"I think they deserve their time to work through, without having anyone following them around."

Not so, say some working group members, who argue the city has already entered the latest round of negotiations in bad faith. Group members complained to the OBJ they don't have access to the project's financial information, and said the group's life span of just 12 total hours wasn't nearly enough to solve such a complex and difficult issue.

A fifth meeting is being considered by the city, sources say, although no decision has been made as of yet.

"If we don't have the financial data, there's nothing preventing them from taking our recommendation and undermining it," said the working group delegate. "Everybody feels it's being rushed, and that we haven't been given some very important components of the evaluation.

"Really what's at stake here is the mayor's timeline, and not much else."
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Old March 4th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #60
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From: http://www.canada.com:80/ottawacitiz...3-94756cf5bf30
________________________________
Quote:
Saturday » March 4 » 2006

Telus HQ salutes Ottawa's past
Old-style roof, windows to be maintained on side of modern Bank Street structure

Andrew Mayeda
The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Telus Corp. is moving into a new downtown Ottawa headquarters in a project that seeks to retain the flavour of old Bank Street.

Ottawa developer Toth Equity Ltd. plans to break ground this summer on an eight-storey building at the northeast corner of Bank and Slater streets that will accommodate about 300 Telus employees scattered around the national capital.

The building will be called the Telus Building, after its anchor tenant, although Toth Equity plans to retain ownership of the land and building.

Janet Yale, executive vice-president of Telus corporate affairs, said the company chose a downtown location over the cheaper rental rates in west-end Ottawa partly to be closer to key government customers.

"We wanted to make it clear to the community that we're putting down our roots and we're here to stay," she said.

The site presently encompasses four buildings, including a house that has been converted into a Second Cup coffee shop and the former store building of Burkholder Furs, which closed shop in 2002 after 92 years in business. The four buildings will be demolished to make way for the Telus Building.

But to preserve the character of the storefronts along Bank Street, architectural firm Richard Chmiel, Architects, has drafted plans to remove, restore and reinstall the mansard roof with dormer windows that has been a feature of the Burkholder building for decades.

Ottawa city council designated much of downtown Bank Street a "heritage conservation district" in 2000.

"It will be a honey of a building," said John Toth, president of Toth Equity. "It has nice, soft curves and it meets all the requirements that the City of Ottawa wants to see. We've worked very hard to try to encompass everything for the benefit of the future of Bank Street."

The main entrance of the office building will be on Slater Street. The street level will continue to be leased as retail space.

Telus is expected to move into the building in the summer of 2007. The company will occupy six of the eight office floors, leaving room for expansion if the company adds staff.

Although the artist's rendering of the building shows Telus' trademark lizard on the side, the lizard likely won't appear on the actual building, said Ms. Yale.

Gerry LePage, executive director of the Bank Street business-improvement area, praised the project.

"Aesthetically, it's very pleasing and functionally it's exactly what we're looking for. This is precisely the kind of project we want to bring to Centretown," said Mr. LePage.

He said the Telus Building, coupled with a condominium development going up at Bank Street and Laurier Avenue to be called the Mondrian, should drive more retail traffic to Bank Street, encouraging higher-end retailers to locate there.

City council is expected to vote on the Telus Building site plan next week.
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