LeBreton Flats bids draw hundreds for public consultations

Hundreds of people crowded into the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday for a chance to offer feedback on the two competing bids to redevelop LeBreton Flats as details about the projects were officially unveiled.

Consultations continue Wednesday at Canadian War Museum and online until Feb. 8

Hundreds of people came out to the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday to see and hear two pitches for redeveloping LeBreton Flats. (CBC News)

Hundreds of people crowded into the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday for a chance to offer feedback on the two competing bids to redevelop LeBreton Flats as details about the projects were officially unveiled.

While some politicians declared their favourite bid soon after the unveiling, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson remained undecided.

"At this stage, I'm obviously going to be a bit like Switzerland and remain neutral," he said. "This is an important public consultation process, and my best advice for all politicians is let the public have their say because at some point this process will end up at City Hall."

Lack of focus on future LeBreton Flats residents

Doug Martin said he's in favour of the Devcore Canderel DLS Group pitch because it includes a Farm Boy grocery store. But he said both pitches lacked enough infrastructure for the people expected to live there. (CBC News)
On Tuesday, after seeing both plans, resident Doug Martin said he was surprised to see a lack of focus on the thousands of people expected to live in the redevelopment.

"Both concepts are about bringing people in to consume services from major events — Bluesfest, hockey games — ... but there still needs to be some understanding that you're still putting a population base in that community that you're going to want to service," he said.

But asked which he would choose, Martin said he liked the Devcore Canderel DLS Group pitch because it includes a Farm Boy grocery store.

'Wasteland' needs redevelopment

Philip Schubert, a Kanata resident, bought a condo in the LeBreton Flats area and rents it out.

Philip Schubert, who owns a condo at LeBreton Flats, says he prefers the RendezVous LeBreton group's bid to redevelop the rest of the property. (CBC News)
He said both pitches include a park between their building and the rest of the development, which he likes, but he likes the RendezVous LeBreton idea better overall.

"We bought the condo about seven, eight years ago, assuming that some type of development like this would happen. But it's been a long time coming down and so it's just been sitting there like a wasteland, and so this looks really great," Schubert said.

"It will turn it into a centre of Ottawa, or at least another centre, so I'm very positive about it."

'I liked everything about it'

Judy Feldman, who lives in Centrepointe, came to see the proposals with her son.

"We've waited 40 or 50 years for something to happen with this plot of land and it's such a beautiful location. I'm very excited for the next 10 years here," she said, adding that she liked the Devcore Canderel DLS Group idea.

Judy Feldman says she prefers the Devcore Canderel DLS Group in part because of its emphasis on small, local retail. (CBC News)
"I liked everything about it. They had all kinds of usages that I would enjoy, that families enjoy, that seniors enjoy," she said, including small, local retail and a hopefully relocated farmers market.

Public consultations will also be held at the museum on Wednesday evening and online feedback can be submitted until Feb. 8.

The successful bid is not expected to be announced until early 2017.

An evaluation committee will review the bids in February and is expected to recommend a bid to the National Capital Commission board of directors in March.

Negotiations with the successful group are expected to take place in the summer and fall of 2016, followed by the federal approval process.

This shows the empty, desolate land of LeBreton Flats in January 2016. (Michel Aspirot/CBC)


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