Developing the remaining parcels of land on Lebreton Flats will have a significant impact on our community. Whether the impact is positive or problematic depends upon decisions the National Capital Commission (NCC) will make over the next few years.
The HCA has joined a coalition of like-minded people (Lebreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition), working together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our communities.
The intention is to create a community benefits agreement (CBA) with the NCC and the development community. A CBA benefits is a legally binding agreement between project developers and/or public institutions and a legally constituted coalition of community groups. CBAs as a framework are becoming more common in Canada and globally, including the Eglinton transit project in Toronto and the Windsor-Detroit Gordie Howe bridge project. They create a mechanism by which communities can play an effective role in determining outcomes and assist developers by a clearly defined framework to achieve community benefits.
The Flats has a rich history dating back to Bytown’s very earliest days. An industrial base, fuelled by the timber industry, evolved though out the 1800’s. A major fire at the turn of the twentieth century wiped out most of the community only to have it rise again as a diverse and vibrant working-class community participating in railways, brewing, paint production and other industries. Indeed Wellington Street ran from downtown across the railway tracks joining the Flats with the emerging suburb of Hintonburg.
Alas, in 1962 the federal government expropriated and razed the land with the intention of developing an annex to Parliament Hill and the public service along Wellington Street. This and subsequent visions have never come to fruition. The land has been mostly empty for decades.
Some development has occurred with the War Museum opening in 2005, some condo buildings and the National Holocaust Monument being built and a new central library is planned for the eastern portion of the area. Ottawa’s new light rail now crosses the Flats with a station situated on Booth Street mid-flats and the main transit hub now situated at Bayview Avenue on the western fringe.
A large multi-faceted project entitled Rendezvous-Lebreton fell apart in 2019 resulting in the NCC resetting the clock and updating their master plan for the site. The NCC’s marching orders from their political masters is to “build community”.
This presents a renewed opportunity for all stakeholders to have a say in the development of the Flats. The Coalition presently, consists of 25 community, service and labour groups, including 4 community associations and the Federation of Community Associations and a formal alliance with ACORN Ottawa. We have a shared vision of a broad range of housing, health, social procurement, employment sustainability and other outcomes for the development. The Coalition has been very active in engaging the NCC and local politicians, developing draft targets for the development and articulating a “roadmap” by which we could work with the NCC to get a CBA for Lebreton.
Our neighbourhood abuts onto the Flats on our north-east corner. We have a significant stake in what happens there, thus the HCA has become an active member of the coalition. We welcome any comments you may have: our contact – Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out much, much more about the ongoing work of the coalition here on Lebreton Flats Coalition website.