Temporary Park Still Waiting for Go Ahead

posted in: ASH in the News
[02-August-2012] Click here to view original article.

EMC News – A Sandy Hill site featuring several derelict buildings remains untouched months after the city approved a proposal to create a temporary park at the location.

The plans to demolish three Richcraft-owned buildings at the corner of Rideau Street and Charlotte Street and put a temporary park in its place has been on hold since the initial approval was made in May.

Richcraft submitted a proposal to demolish the buildings at 588 and 592 Rideau Street and 165 Charlotte St. to the city on April 12. After the demolition, the owner is proposing the site be grassed as a city-leased park.

The Sandy Hill community welcomed the temporary park plan, but some residents are worried nothing will come of the proposal as the site remains an empty parking lot with rundown buildings. The original goal was for the buildings to be demolished and the park built by October 2012.

Christopher Collmorgen, president of Action Sandy Hill, said he’s not so sure anymore if the project will go ahead.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that it will happen,” he said.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, however, remains confident the project will proceed as planned. Matt Genest, a spokesman for Fleury, said the plan stalled because Richcraft was not clear on what the city wanted done with the area.

The original proposal was merely a rough sketch, Genest said, and included a grassy area, a pathway, benches and trees for the property. To move forward, the city needed more accurate specifications of what type of trees were to be planted, the visibility from the street and the grading plans for the parkland.

Richcraft will be responsible for the construction and paying the annual park maintenance and operating costs, which are estimated at $10,000 per year.

The city will lease the park from the owner for a set cost of $1 per year.

The new site plan was brought to the councillor’s office in the middle of July and is now being circulated to parks and recreation staff members for approval.

“Once this new plan is approved by city staff, they will be permitted to demolish the buildings,” Genest said.

The goal, he added, is to have the demolition permit issued next week. According to the councillor’s office, the October timeline is still the target for the plan.

The park will be temporary and will be in place only until Richcraft is prepared to build on the site.

Currently, there are no approved site plans for new buildings in this area, but the property has been recently rezoned for an eight-storey mixed commercial/residential building, which could be developed within 10 years of the approval date of the proposal. The current lease for the park is for five years.