Lowertown condo plan approved at committee

Ottawa's planning committee has approved an amended version of a controversial condo development in Lowertown that would require the demolition of several historical buildings.
The City of Ottawa's planning committee approved an amended plan to build a condo and demolish three old buildings. 2:13

Ottawa's planning committee has approved an amended version of a controversial Lowertown condo development that would require the demolition of several historical buildings.

The proposed 101-unit building known as "the wedge" across from Bordeleau Park at Bruyere and St. Andrew Streets was approved after hearing from both its proponents and detractors during a meeting Monday.

Developer Claridge Homes agreed to lower the height of the T-shaped complex to 14.5 metres fronting Bruyere and to 12.5 metres on St. Andrew — creating a deeper setback than first proposed.

But amendments agreed to Monday will not save any of the existing buildings on the property. Residents were particularly focused on the six-unit Gauvreau row house on Bruyere, a building that dates back to 1910.

City experts said despite its history as an original working-class tenement, the building doesn't merit heritage status.

Jodi Murray, who represents the Bruyere Street Task Force community group, spoke at the meeting with two sisters who lived at the row house for 50 years.

She said new alterations were the best deal for the community in an "untenable" situation.

"The community doesn't have a choice at this point," said Murray. "The buildings have had a lot of people circulate through them, but there are a lifetimes that are in those buildings and we can't get those back."

As part of the compromise, Claridge would redirect some of the money that normally goes to the city as compensation for loss of parkland. The funds will instead be used to help tenants who have lived in the buildings for 20 years or more find alternative accommodations.

The amended proposal goes to council next week for final approval.

With files from the CBC's Alistair Steele