Committee waives rules to create two new parks on the Ottawa River

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Downtown Ottawa is set to see two new public parks on Chaudière Island after the Planning Committee today waived a City requirement for parkland dedication for Zibi Ontario – the ongoing redevelopment of lands formerly occupied by the Domtar paper mill.

Pangishimo Park, named after the Algonquin word for sunset, is to be completed by year end on the west end of the island. Mokahan Park, named after the Algonquin word for sunrise, will be built on the island’s east end by next fall.

A waiver to the Parkland Dedication By-law is needed as the National Capital Commission will ultimately own and maintain these parks and facilities. The approved agreement stipulates that, barring any future increase in density, the City would not require any parkland dedication or cash-in-lieu of parkland for the development.

The City plans to adopt a New Official Plan next year. To implement the policies and objectives of that plan, the City will need a corresponding new Comprehensive Zoning By-law. The Committee approved a work plan to prepare that new by-law, which would see Council consider a final draft by the end of 2024.

Following adoption of the New Official Plan, staff would recommend the form and structure of the new by-law and lay out the work and budget for its development. Staff would also recommend quick changes to the current Zoning By-law to implement directions from the New Official Plan while they develop the new by-law.

The Committee approved amendments to the by-law that regulates permanent signs on private property. The changes aim to ensure signs are compatible with their surroundings and pose no public safety risk. The amendments would give restaurants more flexibility to add digital menu signs at drive-throughs. Previous generations of these signs caused too much light spillage and glare, but newer technology has significantly reduced that concern. Home-based businesses, including those in rural areas, would also benefit from the changes, which permit bigger and more visible signs to encourage economic growth. The same is true for ground and wall signs in local commercial zones, although a smaller increase is proposed to minimize the potential impact on nearby homes.

Recommendations from today’s Planning Committee meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, January 27.

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