‘Milestone’ meeting on LeBreton Flats expected January; Nepean Point design winner announced
The National Capital Commission board met for the last time in 2017 with no real sense of when the agency and the Ottawa Senators will reach a deal to develop LeBreton Flats.
But the head of the NCC says the public can expect more news at the next board meeting in January.
The project milestones have included a public consultation at the Canadian War Museum and the NCC board decisions that chose the Senators’ RendezVous LeBreton Group and made it the preferred proponent for the project.
“I would say that January will be another one of those milestone meetings and that’s what we’re aiming for,” NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson told reporters after a board meeting on Thursday.
Kristmanson underscored the intricacy of the negotiations, which have also included Algonquin leaders and the City of Ottawa.
“We shouldn’t underestimate the complexity of this very large project that has many, many stakeholders, but in general I think we’ll be positioned to come with something that will make the January meeting a milestone meeting on this project,” Kristmanson said.
In April 2016, RendezVous beat out another consortium in a design competition for the prime land west of downtown. RendezVous officially became the preferred proponent in November 2016 and formal talks have been happening since then.
The cornerstone of RendezVous’ development scheme is an 18,000-seat NHL arena, surrounded by a mixed-use community, all located between the Bayview and Pimisi LRT stations.
Even when RendezVous and the NCC strike a development deal, the project will need to go through the planning approval process at city hall.
City council on Wednesday approved a mandate for the city to enter the confidential negotiations as an “interested party.”
The city wants to make sure the project aligns with transportation, infrastructure and affordable housing plans, while insulating municipal taxpayers from major cost commitments. The city doesn’t want to make its brownfield remediation funding program available for the project.
Kristmanson said the NCC is satisfied with the negotiation points approved by city council.
“There’s a high degree of knowledge of the proposal and the city will play a great, great role in the realization of LeBreton Flats because it will become a new quartier of the city, so we’ll be working closely with them in the coming years,” he said.
Big River Landscape is the winning design for Nepean Point
A design called Big River Landscape has won a juried design competition for Nepean Point.
The National Capital Commission board on Thursday approved the concept — created by Janet Rosenberg and Studio Inc., Patkau Architects, Blackwell Structural Engineers and ERA Architects Inc. — with the hopes it can be built by fall 2020.
The NCC needs to “refine” the cost estimate and fold in recommendations from the jury before coming back to the board with a detailed development plan next year, Kristmanson said. The agency is also considering how to best use an amphitheatre on the grounds.
The first phase of the project, which involves the green space around the Samuel de Champlain statue behind the National Art Gallery, has a budget of $6.7 million.
Future phases include a pedestrian bridge connecting Nepean Point with Major’s Hill Park, but there hasn’t been money set aside for work beyond Phase 1.
There were four design teams on the shortlist, developed from the original 26 submissions.
NCC sets “guiding interests” for Centre Block renovation
The NCC board approved “guiding capital interests” for the renovation of the Parliament Buildings’ Centre Block.
The Centre Block rehabilitation is part of a 25-year development plan for multiple buildings in the Parliamentary and judicial precincts.
The Centre Block project is expected to take 10 years. When West Block and the Government Conference Centre are done, Centre Block will be emptied to begin renovations.
Jennifer Garrett, the Public Services and Procurement Canada director-general in charge of the Centre Block project, told the NCC board the department is still very early in the planning process. Pre-construction planning is scheduled between 2017 and 2019.
The NCC is highly concerned about maintaining visitor access to Parliament Hill.
Garrett said her team’s goal is to make it “business as usual” on the grounds.
Mayor Jim Watson continues to call for an attractive temporary facade hiding the construction work, since the building is one of the most photographed in the country and a major tourism generator for Ottawa.