By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, November 2020)
Last month, the Booth Street complex entered a new phase – the land was put on the market by Canada Lands Company. It is looking for a buyer, or buyers, to commit to implementing its vision for the 6.5-acre property.
Once the offers are received, Canada Lands will decide who will be selected to develop the property. The decision will hinge on a number of factors, including a demonstration that the development proposal aligns with Canada Lands’ vision, design guidelines and approved zoning, that the proposal incorporates the retained heritage buildings and that it includes affordable housing.
What happens next?
While the sale and marketing program is underway now, it could be some time before the change of ownership occurs. Once that happens, the builders will begin the site-plan approval process with the city. The plans will be submitted to Canada Lands first to confirm that the municipal zoning established as part of the public engagement process as well as the architectural and urban design guidelines for the site are being respected. The site plan will then be submitted to the city. As part of that process, a number of studies will be done, including a transportation impact assessment, environmental assessment, wind study, landscape plan and parking plan. Although the public has had input at earlier stages, it will also have a say during the site-planning process. In addition, the plan will go before the Urban Design Review Panel before being approved
by the city. The builders may then obtain a building permit to enable construction to begin. Given all these steps, construction isn’t expected to start until 2022.
In the meantime, Canada Lands will continue to complete the demolition and remediation work in preparation for development. Three buildings have already been removed, and remediation work has been done on structures that will remain. Soil remediation is expected to be completed in the spring and new roofs will be added to the remaining buildings to cap off the process.
The park is still expected to be the first thing to be built on the site. This past spring, Canada Lands conducted a community consultation to finalize park design before initiating the park planning process with the city. The proposal so far includes a play structure, splash pad, covered/sheltered area, an area for sports such as basketball and a dry pond. The city will review the concept plan for the park and conduct its own consultation to verify the community’s priorities. Once approved, Canada Lands will build the park and turn it over to the city. If all goes well, the neighborhood could inherit the park by the end of 2022.
After years of discussing the development of the Booth Street complex without seeing any actual changes on the site, the ongoing remediation is a visible sign of progress that has been made behind the scenes.