City looks to add 11% of Old Ottawa East and South properties to heritage register

Designation would require property owners to give city 60 days notice of demolition intent

Old Ottawa East
Old Ottawa East

City staff are recommending that 358 buildings – or, roughly 11 per cent of Old Ottawa East and Ottawa South – be added to the heritage register.

Done as part of the Heritage Inventory Project, the 358 buildings in the two neighbourhoods, located on the land between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River, are made up largely of turn-of-the-century era homes in Old Ottawa South.

In Old Ottawa East, four schools (Lady Evelyn Elementary, Immaculata High School, St. Nicholas’ Adult High School, and Riverside Montessori) are also being proposed as additions to the heritage register.

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Property owners are free to make alterations or renovations to a building listed in the heritage register. However, they need to give the city 60 days notice if they want to demolish the building so municipal staff can negotiate with the owner to save the building or propose a more restrictive heritage designation if it’s warranted, the city says on its website.

City staff note that, beyond the addition of architecturally significant homes in the area, that there are commercial buildings that merit addition. In particular, the staff report highlights the fact that there are “few remaining mixed-use traditional brick buildings” along Bank Street south of the canal, and notes the 1950s-era commercial character of Main Street in Old Ottawa East, near The Green Door Restaurant.

The city’s planning committee will review the list of proposed additions to the register at its meeting Tuesday morning.

The project comes as part of an ongoing effort on the city’s part to breathe a bit more life into its heritage building administration.

The Heritage Inventory Project is a city initiative that seeks to consolidate, and take stock of, the vast number of heritage properties in the Ottawa region.

Since amalgamation in 2001, the heritage register had fallen by the wayside, to a certain extent; one of amalgamation’s by-products was a single, combined heritage register that now has about 13,000 properties. As city staff note, this is not an especially robust or useful list: it is not publicly available, is rarely updated, and many of the buildings on it no longer exists.

The city set out to tackle this issue in early 2016, by forming the Heritage Inventory Project, with the stated goal of reviewing the city’s heritage assets.

Earlier this spring, the first stages of the project began rolling out, with the approved addition of buildings in Lowertown and Sandy Hill.

– This story originally appeared in Metro News

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