Heritage Ottawa launches crowdfunding campaign for Château Laurier legal challenge

Chateau
The proposed addition to the Château Laurier .

As Larco Investments looks to finalize its plans to expand the Château Laurier, the owner of the historic hotel is facing a fight on a new front as an upstart group of concerned citizens announced plans this week for a legal challenge against the much-maligned designs for an addition to the rear of the heritage structure.

Heritage Ottawa launched a GoFundMe page late Monday looking to raise $150,000 to help fund a legal challenge against the owners of the Château Laurier over the design of a planned seven-storey, 147-suite addition.

Larco has received a great deal of public backlash to its proposed design for the addition, which it says is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the hotel.

Heritage Ottawa says on its GoFundMe page that it has retained legal counsel but did not provide specifics as to the case it will mount against Larco, which has received a heritage permit and site plan approval to construct its addition. Ottawa city council voted down attempts to rescind the heritage permit earlier this month, allowing Larco to apply for a building permit.

Before the vote on the proposed motion to block the controversial addition, city solicitor Rick O’Connor cautioned city councillors that revoking Larco’s heritage permit would likely land the city in a costly legal battle – one that it had little chance of winning.

During the July 10 council meeting, in which councillors debated blocking the addition, the city’s senior legal counsel Tim Marc also considered the ramifications of a possible community appeal in Ontario Superior Court.

“It’s not clear to me that they would have standing to do so,” he told council in response to a question from Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury.

“It’s a decision within the jurisdiction of council, and therefore in my opinion it would be very unlikely they would succeed in challenging it.”

Marc added that in this circumstance, both Larco and the city would be opposed to any appeal to revoke the permit.

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Heritage Ottawa’s campaign had raised roughly $3,300 from some 45 donors.