Chapel Street and Beausoleil (when the intersection was temporarily open)
Update April 24th 2016
Plans for a new mixed-use development at the corner of Rideau and Chapel were announced by Trinity Group in July 2014. When the City failed to make a decision on the proposal within the provincially mandated timeframe Trinity filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In addition to the City and Trinity, Action Sandy Hill (ASH) and the Lowertown Community Association (LCA) were granted party status to that OMB appeal.
ASH had a number of concerns with Trinity’s initial plans including the height, mass and scale of the building (32-storeys, 785 residential units), the lack of green space, the inclusion of above ground parking, the potential impact of excavating several storeys of underground parking, and the proposal to open the intersection of Chapel and Beausoleil to vehicular traffic. Following the initial proposal, the City, Trinity, ASH and the LCA met on several occasions. In response to concerns raised by ASH and the LCA, as well as the adoption by City Council of a new Community Design Plan for Uptown Rideau Street (URCDP), Trinity made several amendments. The revised proposal was approved by City Council in February 2016.
As approved by Council the proposal will include two towers with 586 residential units atop a 2 to 3-storey podium containing lots of retail/commercial space. The maximum height will be 25-storeys. All parking has been moved underground, and a number of site plan conditions related to the excavations were added. Trinity will build a plaza (200 m2) at the corner of Rideau and Chapel and a small (400 m2) park at the corner of Chapel and Beausoleil. Both these spaces will be accessible to all and include greenery, seating, water features, etc. Trinity will also have to make a number of improvements to the streetscape along Rideau, Chapel and Beausoleil, and contribute approximately $1.8M to park improvements and other community benefits. The proposal is in conformity with all requirements of the new URCDP.
Subsequently the LCA announced that they were withdrawing from the OMB hearing, meaning that ASH was the only party in opposition to the proposal. Given all the changes to the proposal ASH’s only remaining concern was the opening of the intersection of Chapel and Beausoleil to vehicular traffic. ASH continued to discuss this issue with Trinity and the City right-up to the week before the OMB hearing and achieved some additional improvements.
While the intersection will be opened to vehicular traffic there will be a restriction at all times on north and south bound through traffic at the intersection of Rideau and Chapel, and Trinity will pay for an off-duty officer to help with enforcement of this new restriction. The block of Chapel between Rideau and Beausoleil will be narrowed and bike lanes added. Trinity will pay for a school crossing guard. There will be restrictions on the times at which tractor-trailers can access the site. A plan for monitoring of the newly opened intersection will be implemented and overseen by the City. And the Councillor’s office is working with ASH and the LCA on plans to possibly add bike lanes and/or speed humps on Chapel south of Rideau and on Beausoleil west of Chapel.
In preparation for the OMB hearing, ASH attempted unsuccessfully to engage a transportation consultant to support our argument that the intersection should remain closed. Given this, and the fact that experts from both Trinity and the City argued that the conditions detailed above are sufficient to mitigate cut-through traffic and safety concerns, ASH had little basis for continuing our opposition. Considering this and that we were now the only party opposing the proposal, ASH decided to withdraw from the OMB hearing.
The OMB hearing proceeded on March 29, 2016, and lasted about two hours. Trinity’s planning expert provided the OMB Chair with an overview of the revised proposal and the conditions agreed between Trinity and the City, as well as how the agreed conditions addressed the concerns raised by ASH and the LCA. The Chair has not yet issued his decision, this may take several months, but given that no one opposed the proposal, and the City and Trinity were in agreement, it is likely that the OMB will approve it. ASH is hopeful that this development will bring much needed life to the area, helping make Uptown Rideau a more vibrant main street, and perhaps even be the impetus for further positive redevelopment.
Update Feb 15 2016
Original Posting, Jan 2016
On Jan 26th, the City’s planning committee will hear the rezoning application to allow a height increase from 9 to 25 stories for 2 residential towers and ground floor commerical at this site.
The planning committee will not be ruling on the applicant’s application to open up the Chapel-Beausoleil intersection. Instead this issue will be heard and decided at an OMB hearing in March 2016. The stated purpose of opening this intersection is to allow for better circulation for cars and large tractor trailer trucks (3 to 5 per day) to this site. ASH, LCA, and the adjacent schools have made numerous submissions opposing the intersection opening on account of the potential increased cut-through traffic on Chapel and Beausoleil and the impact of large trucks operating in the vicinity of the schools and in Lowertown east.
ASH is a party to the OMB hearing and will restate this case at the hearing. It is not clear at this time what position the City will take on this intersection issue at the OMB hearing.
For background information on this issue see: