Plan for former CFB Rockcliffe features 5,500 new places to live

A plan for the former CFB Rockcliffe base in Ottawa was unveiled to about 100 residents on Tuesday, with a plan for more than 5,000 new places to live and a series of new commercial buildings.

The redevelopment plan for CFB Rockcliffe features 5,500 new residential units and new businesses in mixed-use buildings as high as 20 storeys, it was unveiled in Ottawa Tuesday.

The Canada Lands Company purchased the 125 hectares of land after reaching a deal with the Algonquin who included the former military airbase, which shut down in 2009, in a land claim.

These homes were boarded up on the former Canadian Forces Base in Rockcliffe after it closed in 2009. ((Jason Boychuk/CBC))

The redevelopment plan protects 30 per cent of the land and aims to develop the other 70 per cent, according to Don Schultz, the Company’s director of real estate for CFBRockcliffe.

An earlier estimate suggested there would be 15,000 residential units on the former base when light rail was a possibility along Montreal Road. Still, the Company said new living spaces are the focus.

“We need to accommodate a fair amount of residential units because the City of Ottawa has a very strong policy that supports redevelopment of the existing urban area so that we can minimize the amount of urban sprawl that will happen in the future,” said Schultz.

“That tends to eat up agricultural lands at an alarming rate.”

More than 100 people gathered at a conference centre on Tuesday evening to listen and respond to the redevelopment plan before city councillors approve a community design plan for the area.

Residents are hoping the base brings new life to the neighbourhood, but with the environment in mind. Schultz said the company plans to build a park around a 200-year-old oak tree to honour the natural heritage.

As for the buildings, most will be six storeys or less with some townhomes, but there could be mixed-use buildings as high as 20 storeys near the edge of the land — one by the Aviation Parkway and another by Montreal Road.

The new residents could move in by 2017, Schultz said. They will bring more traffic and nearby residents labelled that as a main concern, but Mary Pratte gave the plan a nod of approval.

“Everybody sort of hopes that things will just stay natural for ever and ever but that just doesn't happen,” Pratte said. “So if it has to be built on, I think this looks like a pretty good way of going.”