Committee approves $129M revitalization plan for ByWard Market
Ottawa’s finance and economic development committee approved a revitalization strategy for the ByWard Market on Tuesday — a plan that would see wider sidewalks, a new “destination building,” and fewer cars in the downtown neighbourhood.
City staff expect the plan to cost $129 million but there’s no clear plan yet of who would pay for it. Tuesday’s report said funding would come from a combination of sources, including: government, public-private partnership as well as borrowing against assets where it makes sense to do so.
The ByWard Market public realm plan has been in development for two years and includes input from local businesses, the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area, public consultations, online surveys as well as comments from local residents, the city’s report said.
The neighbourhood is currently “struggling,” the report said, and the public realm plan intends to physically transform the area “to ensure it remains a place befitting to define Ottawa’s image.”
Among the changes, the plan would see York Street closed to traffic for special events, the expansion of sidewalks and other pedestrian spaces, an incremental reduction to car traffic, more greenery and trees, better lighting, additional meeting spaces and benches, as well as the construction of a “destination building” at 70 Clarence Street.
The new facility would provide accessible washrooms, indoor bike parking and, potentially, underground parking, according to the plan. The current ByWard Market Building would however remain the “anchor” for the district.
“A key goal of the public realm plan is to shift the perception of the market from a vehicular-oriented space to one where pedestrians come first,” said the city’s report.
City council considers the plan at its next meeting on Dec. 9.