Canada: Council ends Battle Château, motion to pull heritage permit defeated - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaCouncil ends Battle Château, motion to pull heritage permit defeated

12:11  12 july  2019
12:11  12 july  2019 Source:   ottawacitizen.com

Architecture battle grips Canada's capital amid fears the Chateau Laurier is about to be ruined

Architecture battle grips Canada's capital amid fears the Chateau Laurier is about to be ruined OTTAWA — Under normal circumstances, a three-year planning dispute in Ottawa wouldn’t make the national news. But when it involves the landmark Chateau Laurier hotel, the turreted jewel of the postcard landscape alongside the Parliament buildings and the Rideau Canal, the stakes get higher. 

Council ends Battle Château , motion to pull heritage permit defeated . Cyclist charged with careless driving after collision with OC Transpo bus. Share this story.

Council has decided to allow the owners of the Château Laurier to build their widely-criticized The initial motion put forth by Coun. Mathieu Fleury was to rescind the heritage permit given to Larco While this does mark the end of this saga in terms of bureaucracy at city hall, the fight is not quite over.

Council ends Battle Château, motion to pull heritage permit defeated© Wayne Cuddington File photo. Cries of “shame” howled from the public gallery Thursday after the majority of city council refused to reconsider a decision that allows the owner of the Château Laurier to build a controversial addition to the historic hotel.

“That’s democracy. People have the right to express their views about politicians. I’ve developed over the years a thick skin. Not as thick as I suppose it should be,” Mayor Jim Watson said after the meeting.

“This has been an emotional debate. People love the Château Laurier and if I own that building I wouldn’t put that addition on, but unfortunately I don’t own the building. The city doesn’t own the building. It’s owned by private property owners, and at the end of the day they do have right to choose the design and style that they want for their building.”

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The two-year saga of the esthetically controversial Château Laurier addition will come to another climax at Wednesday's city council meeting. Mathieu Fleury, whose ward includes the Château , has put forward a motion to be voted on by council that would revoke the heritage permit originally granted

There was one question on the agenda of the special council meeting: should council reconsider its 14-9 decision on Wednesday to refuse revoking Larco Investment’s heritage permit for the project.

With a vote of 13-10, council refused to reopen the debate and Larco had council-approved design for its modern addition.

There was a circus-like atmosphere at city hall. Frequent city hall rabble-rouser Guy Annable dressed up in a clown wig and tie and watched in the gallery.

A hometown celebrity even showed up, but the design is no joke to comedian Tom Green, who was in Ottawa visiting family and headed to city hall to watch council vote.

Green likened the design to “Donald Trump’s wall being built to hide the Château Laurier” from Major’s Hill Park, where he used to skateboard as a youth.

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While council will vote on the heritage permit , the design controversy will likely be far from over. Pull the permit , and the hotel owner will likely appeal. Ottawa architect Barry Padolsky says an addition to the Chateau Laurier will radically affect the view of the hotel from Major's Hill Park. /jpg.

The architectural battle over Ottawa's Chateau Laurier addition comes to a head in a city council vote Wednesday. Councillors will debate whether to pull the heritage permit they approved last year for a seven-storey addition to the century-old hotel, which would essentially hit the reset button on a

“To put a blemish on that is a travesty and people should get angry and ask our leaders to have more courage and stand up and ask for the developer to come up with a redesign,” Green said in the hallway.

People in the gallery booed council as Watson adjourned the meeting. They yelled “shame” and “no democracy.”

Coun. Shawn Menard was scheduled to read a run-of-the-mill motion to confirm the proceedings and he refused, leaving the council table saying, “I’m not going to read that.”

Larco is building a seven-storey, 147-room contemporary addition to the north side of the Château Laurier.

Council ends Battle Château, motion to pull heritage permit defeated© Errol McGihon Comedian Tom Green attended the Ottawa city council meeting where the decision to allow renovations to the Château Laurier was granted. Green was strongly opposed to the look of the proposed renovations. July 11, 2019. Errol McGihon/Postmedia

With council’s decision on the heritage permit confirmed, Larco should be on easy street to getting shovels in the ground on the $100-million project.

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City council narrowly defeated a last-ditch attempt to block a controversial addition to the Château Laurier hotel on Wednesday afternoon, but a flurry of procedural Mathieu Fleury's motion to revoke the heritage certificate that allows alterations to the historic building in downtown Ottawa.

Owners of heritage buildings designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act must apply to the city for permission to alter their buildings. Fleury is referring to last year's ill-fated motion to approve the Château Laurier addition with three caveats, giving the authority to city staff to decide whether

Larco’s development team is eyeing Sept. 4 to have its minor variance application in front of the committee of adjustment and a National Capital Commission board meeting in November for federal land use approvals unrelated to the design.

The company can’t get a building permit until it receives approval from the committee of adjustment and clears the appeal period.

Excavation and utility servicing work could begin later this year, with the entire construction project taking between three and a half and four years.

The NCC said in a statement that it is “committed to ensuring that the elements of the project within the NCC’s authority are executed in accordance with the highest standards of excellence.” Those elements don’t include the design; they largely focus on the impact to surrounding federal lands, such as Major’s Hill Park.

The Ontario government ministry that oversees heritage issues is tourism, culture and sport and the minister is Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod. While alteration of heritage-protected properties is a municipal government matter, there’s a provision in the Ontario Heritage Act that allows the minister to begin a process to determine if a building has provincial significance and ultimately control alterations.

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A motion introduced by Diane Deans would have delayed the debate until the end of August, but the Mayor had other plans. Ottawa city council voted down a motion to revoke the heritage permit to allow the Chateau Laurier to build their addition only for a motion to reconsider that vote to be held

A box-like expansion to the capital’s iconic Château Laurier hotel could still go ahead as planned, after Ottawa’s city council voted against a motion to overturn approval of the design. Larco presented five different proposals for the expansion before it was granted a conditional heritage permit last year.

A spokesman for MacLeod said she’s not actively involved in the Château file.

“We recognize that the Château Laurier is an important landmark in our country’s history and a significant property contributing to the landscape in the national capital region,” Derek Rowland said in an email. “Our government respects the authorities provisioned to local councils through the Ontario Heritage Act. Minister MacLeod will continue to work with Ottawa city council and other stakeholders to come to a positive resolution that protects the integrity of heritage properties in Ottawa and across the province.”

Council ends Battle Château, motion to pull heritage permit defeated© Errol McGihon Ottawa resident Guy Annable dresssed like a clown to show his displeasure with city council’s decision to allow renovations to the Château Laurier to go ahead. July 11, 2019. Errol McGihon/Postmedia

Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna released a written statement on social media saying she has heard residents’ concerns about the design and that “there is still time for common sense to prevail,” offering to participate in discussions “to achieve a better outcome.”

A court challenge could be a long-shot option for residents willing to put money behind a legal fight.

The Friends of the Château Laurier, which has been rallying opposition to the design alongside Heritage Ottawa, is considering legal avenues to blocking the design.

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City council on Wednesday was poised to let Larco Investments forge ahead with a controversial, boxy design for a seven-storey addition to the Château Laurier. It was clear that the majority of council wasn’t willing to revoke Larco’s heritage permit as requested by Coun.

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Council has heard from its legal department that anyone trying to challenge council’s decision in court is likely facing an uphill battle.

“It’s not over yet,” Heritage Ottawa member David Flemming said. “There are options open to challenge this. We’re going to be looking at what those options are and make our decision accordingly.”

Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who with Coun. Diane Deans orchestrated the attempt to have council reconsider Wednesday’s vote, said he was disappointed more councillors didn’t want to continue the debate.

“I think there are enough people around the table who wanted to vote the other way and didn’t,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t know why. They just stated they don’t support the addition and they didn’t vote that way.”

In her remarks during Thursday’s meeting, Deans took aim at four of her colleagues who released an open letter to Larco after Wednesday’s council meeting asking the company to withdraw the development application. Councillors Laura Dudas, Glen Gower, Matthew Luloff and Jenna Sudds said Larco shouldn’t assume they endorse the design, even though they voted against revoking the heritage permit.

“The disconnect between actions and words was monumental,” Deans said.

The council decision that set the course for Larco winning a heritage permit was taken in June 2018, when politicians left the final design tweaks up to city planners, rather than rejecting the concept or calling for political scrutiny on the next iteration. Seeing overwhelming opposition to the final design, Coun. Mathieu Fleury this week asked council to revoke the heritage permit.

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Watson said he doesn’t think council’s unanimous decision in June 2018 was a mistake. At the same time, Watson acknowledged that he could have been involved with Larco earlier in the process to see if the company could steer the design to something more widely accepted.

Here’s how the voting broke down over two days of council meetings.

Council meeting on Wednesday:

Voting in favour of rescinding Larco’s heritage permit: Theresa Kavanagh, Diane Deans, Mathieu Fleury, Rawlson King, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Riley Brockington, Shawn Menard, Carol Anne Meehan

Voting against rescinding Larco’s heritage permit: Mayor Jim Watson, Matthew Luloff, Laura Dudas, Jan Harder, Jenna Sudds, Eli El-Chantiry, Glen Gower, Rick Chiarelli, Keith Egli, Tim Tierney, Jean Cloutier, George Darouze, Scott Moffatt, Allan Hubley

Absent: Stephen Blais

Special council meeting on Thursday:

Voting in favour of reconsidering council’s Wednesday decision: Theresa Kavanagh, Rick Chiarelli, Diane Deans, Mathieu Fleury, Rawlson King, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Riley Brockington, Shawn Menard, Carol Anne Meehan

Voting against reconsidering council’s Wednesday decision: Mayor Jim Watson, Matthew Luloff, Laura Dudas, Jan Harder, Jenna Sudds, Eli El-Chantiry, Glen Gower, Keith Egli, Tim Tierney, Jean Cloutier, George Darouze, Scott Moffatt, Allan Hubley

Absent: Stephen Blais

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