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Committee approves plan to revitalize Sparks Street

November 5, 2019
Council Updates

The City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee today approved a plan to revitalize the historic Sparks Street pedestrian mall. Based on extensive public engagement, the mall would be enhanced with greenery, cultural events, art installations and pedestrian amenities to create a more vibrant public gathering space for residents and visitors all year round.

Developed in partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the National Capital Commission, the Sparks Street Mall Authority and the Sparks Street Business Improvement Area, the revitalization is estimated to cost between $57 million and $83 million between 2022 and 2028. The City plans to negotiate cost-sharing agreements with federal partners in 2020.

To help deter demolition by neglect, the Committee approved piloting a new heritage financial incentive program that would encourage restoration and preservation of mid- to large-scale heritage buildings. Eligible property owners could receive an annual grant valued at 75 per cent of the municipal property tax increase that is directly attributable to the restoration project. The grant would be awarded each year for up to 10 years, to a maximum of $500,000, but not to exceed 100 per cent of restoration costs. Staff would report on the pilot in 2022.

The Committee approved the not-for-profit Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards to mortgage its leasehold interest in the Innovation Centre building to a maximum of $4 million in private financing. This funding would be used for building upgrades and to add a two-storey addition to the property to meet the growing demand for incubation and acceleration services. This project would help attract more businesses and start-ups to the innovation and technology hub, creating economic and job opportunities in Ottawa.

The Committee approved the framework for consulting the public, stakeholders and facility users and for entering into exploratory discussions with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group regarding the management of operations of Lansdowne Park. This would include operations, programming and facility bookings for the Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticulture Building, the Great Lawn and the outdoor plaza. A set of key principles will guide both the public consultations and the discussions with Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group. The results of the consultations and exploratory discussion would be brought to the Committee and Council for consideration by June 2020.

An affordable housing project for low-income seniors could come to Kanata. The Committee approved declaring the property at 251 Penfield Drive as surplus and transferring the land to Ottawa Community Housing for $1 to build at least eight affordable housing units.

Items requiring Council approval will be considered on Wednesday, November 27.

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