Storage facility fails to 'spark joy,' but still gets OK

An Ottawa city councillor invoked the wisdom of Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo on Thursday as he argued against a Dymon self-storage facility in his ward, but failed to sway the city's planning committee.   

Dymon's 12th Ottawa location just another 'place for people's stuff to live'

Storage company Dymon is looking to build a 12th facility in Ottawa, this time on Clyde Avenue. (Fotenn for Dymon)

An Ottawa city councillor invoked the wisdom of Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo on Thursday as he argued against a Dymon self-storage facility in his ward.

"You have 10 community associations representing many, many residents all saying exactly the same thing: This application does not spark joy," said Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli about residents' reaction to Dymon's bid to build a 12th Ottawa location, this time on Clyde Avenue.

Egli, who represents the ward but doesn't sit on the committee, tried to convince his council colleagues they didn't have to grant zoning approval for the six-storey building, but the application passed by a narrow 4-3 vote.


It comes exactly a week after another committee approved a sprawling e-commerce distribution centre near the rural village of North Gower.

But the consultant hired by Dymon disputes the characterization of the company as a "warehouse" chain.

"For all intents and purposes, we are not a warehouse. Self-storage is a use that is different. It also includes community rooms, at-grade retail," Fotenn's Miguel Tremblay told the committee. 

City planners agreed that the ground-floor retail and a drive-through restaurant gave the property the mix of uses needed to win approval.

Author and decluttering guru Marie Kondo advises people to keep only things that 'spark joy' in their lives. (KonMariMethod/Facebook)

'A place for people's stuff'

But Egli wasn't buying it.

"It's a gateway property into my ward. The first thing you're going to see is a warehouse. It's a pretty warehouse. It's a nice-looking warehouse. It's a warehouse. It's not allowed to be there," he argued.

"Instead of giving people a place to live along the [future Baseline Road] Transitway, what we're going to give is a place for people's stuff to live," Egli said. 

No joy: Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli dismissed the Clyde Avenue facility as just another 'place for people's stuff to live.' (CBC)

Residents who were hoping to see homes, shops or even a park spring up on the tract of land known as the "Merivale Triangle," where the CJOH broadcast centre once stood before it was destroyed by fire in 2010, say it's the latest disappointment.

"You can see why citizens and community groups get fed up with working on future plans and projects within the city. Their efforts go for naught," said Lyn McCaw, who's involved with the Fisher Heights and Area Community Association.

City lawyer Tim Marc advised the committee that Dymon would likely win an appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal if its application was voted down. It now moves on to city council for final approval on Jan. 29. 


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