July 31, 2013
At the Town & Gown meeting held Thursday, June 27, 2013 representatives of the University of Ottawa made two announcements regarding student residences.
The first was that the University is planning to build a new four-storey, 165-bed student residence on Henderson Avenue. They expect to break ground in spring 2014 with occupancy in September 2015. The University has indicated that it is their intention to respect the existing (R4) zoning. They also expressed interest in receiving input from ASH and the community on the design of the exterior of this building.
The second announcement is that the University plans to seek proposals from private developers for the construction of a roughly 750-bed student residence within a 10-minute walk of campus. This residence would be built by a developer on their own land and leased to the University. The University is planning to commence this process later this summer.
Following this announcement, ASH clearly expressed to the University our disappointment that the second proposal was not an on-campus residence. We also met in person with representatives of the University to discuss these proposals, our primary goal being to obtain their reasoning for not expanding on campus. We were also hoping to get more details about the University’s overall vision/plan for development of their campus and their overall strategy for housing their expanding student body, the lack of which has been related to many of Sandy Hill’s recent development issues.
The only response we have received thus far from the University is the attached letter from Marc Joyal, VP of Resources, which does not provide any significant additional information.
ASH will be responding to this letter to attempt to clarify a variety of questions we need the University to answer; however, given the apparent lack of vision from the University, ASH will be moving into action on this issue and will widely share our own vision for development in Sandy Hill. We will need members and residents to provide their time, skills and resources. If you would like to volunteer or otherwise contribute to this effort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.