Ottawans cautiously optimistic about LeBreton Flats reset

Residents shared some of their frustration and eagerness for something to get done after the first deal to redevelop LeBreton Flats disintegrated.

New process will have 22-hectare property divided into smaller parcels

The National Capital Commission unveiled yet another approach for redeveloping LeBreton Flats on March 7, 2019. It would see the property carved into a yet undetermined number of districts. The first parcel to be sold would be the "library district" adjacent to the Pimisi light rail station and future Ottawa central library. (National Capital Commission)

Ottawa residents passing through LeBreton Flats Thursday had some hope for the National Capital Commission's new plan to develop the land just west of downtown.

The NCC launched a new process on Thursday that will have the 22-hectare property split into districts and developed in stages, without the same emphasis on a single landmark or anchor tenant.

This followed a more than four-year process that would've included an NHL arena for the Ottawa Senators, one that officially ended last week

Apoline Kalongi

"I would've loved to have that big project come through. It would've been something that people look forward to coming to Ottawa [to visit]. I personally would've liked it because I live right there."

"It's a little disheartening because we're all waiting for something to happen and nothing is happening. It's just an open field."

Apoline Kalongi lives near the Flats. She said the failure of the previous deal made her skeptical about future development. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Kevin Pollock

"I think a library is a good thing. Anything that moves forward is progress. It was kind of a let down that there's not going to be a stadium, but, hey, them's the breaks.

It's a bit frustrating, but they're moving forward with at least part of the project.

Compartmentalizing it is maybe the best thing. You can't get the players at the table — what are you going to do?"

Kevin Pollock says he supports the new piecemeal development process, though he was disappointed the plan for an NHL arena fell through. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Sarah Bartal, Centretown resident

"It is a bit of frustration because I think having entertainment in the central hub, i.e. arenas for sports and all, that is important for Ottawa's economy and tourism.

My big thing is more opportunity for making Ottawa more attractive for tourism and having a lot of things that may be outside of the downtown core move more to the downtown core."

Sarah Bartal says she hopes the redevelopment will help bring tourism and services into the downtown core. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Siva Sunther, Barrhaven resident

"I thought a big land [area] would've been a good idea because it's close to downtown, to have an arena.

But if they don't have that option, go with the residential area and maybe some business complexes.

They have to take their time to plan and then they can build it slowly and steadily so everyone can benefit."

Siva Sunther's Barrhaven commute brings him past the empty field that will become the 'library district' of LeBreton Flats. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Kevin Smith, Cumberland resident

"[Another] waste of money. Hopefully, it works this time though — that would be nice.

I don't think we really need a big attraction in the downtown core like a lot of people think.

The thing is, it's big enough that you could have just about everything in there. I think you could have residential and commercial. I think it should be just like every other neighbourhood.

As far as I'm concerned it's just another piece of land in downtown Ottawa, so I don't have the sentimental attraction that some people seem to have for it.​"

Kevin Smith passes by LeBreton Flats as he commutes home to Cumberland. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)


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