Sussex Drive plan angers heritage conservationists

A proposal to widen Sussex Drive to six lanes — two of them dedicated for cyclists — will require the demolition of two heritage homes.

A proposal to widen Sussex Drive to six lanes — two of them dedicated for cyclists — will require the demolition of two heritage homes.

The redevelopment of Sussex between the National Gallery of Canada and King Edward Avenue will also upgrade sewers and utility lines.

The plan, one of six options, was approved by the National Capital Commission's board of directors Friday. It will have to be approved by the city's planning committee and again by the NCC.

Cyclist Chris Penny likes the idea of bike lanes along Sussex Drive for his ride into town.

NCC failing to protect Lowertown heritage district, Heritage Ottawa says

"I think it would be a lot safer," he said. "Usually on the weekends I go from Orleans to Parliament Hill and back."

The heritage homes at 273 and 275-279 Sussex Dr., purchased by the NCC in the 1980s, include former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson's childhood home.

Leslie Maitland, president of Heritage Ottawa, said the NCC is failing to protect the city's heritage.

"It's an unfortunate proposal because those buildings are part of the Lowertown Heritage Conservation District," Maitland said. "They represent the last vestiges of working-class Ottawa that are left on Confederation Boulevard. And it's so easy to take down this ordinary building and that ordinary building, but before you know it, there's nothing left of the Lowertown Heritage Conservation District."

Construction slated to begin next year

She said the city should consider a five-lane option — three for motor vehicles and two for cyclists — instead of six.

Project manager Richard Daigneault said no other option takes care of every need.

"It is a loss but it is not a detrimental loss to the community from a heritage standpoint," Daigneault said.

He said he hopes the proposal will be approved by the city and by the NCC in time to start construction next year.