The Planning Committee met on August 27 to discuss re-zoning 319 McRae Avenue (Item 4) to allow for greater intensification. The site would see the development of two mid-rise buildings. One building would be eight storeys high, with the first two storeys occupied by commercial units and the top six storeys with 130 residential units. The second mid-rise building would similarly have the first two storeys used for commercial purposes, but the upper five floors would be used for commercial offices (approximately 12,800 square metres).
This proposal is in tune with the Building a Liveable Ottawa initiative as it supports intensification (page 25) and transit-oriented development (page 22). The location on McRae Avenue is located on a bus route and is a short 200 metres from the soon-to-be-built Westboro Light Rail Transit station. Intensifying an area near a transit station is likely to promote transit use and reduce automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The item was carried by all Councillors on the Planning Committee, so every Councillor receives a Thumbs Up for passing this progressive motion that will bring intensification in a transit-oriented neighbourhood. Councillor Rainer Bloess of the Innes ward receives a special mention for suggesting that the area be further developed to promote greater intensification so close to public transit and a major LRT station. This is a great suggestion in line with promoting a sustainable city less reliant on car use but unfortunately did not lead to a recommendation to staff. All in all, the decision was a positive development for Ottawa’s sustainable future.