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Weekly News Review: Nuit Blanche a success, urban design in Gatineau and Ottawa

By François Levesque on September 24, 2012

The inaugural Nuit Blanche Ottawa was held without a hitch to the delight of co-curators Megan Smith and Lainie Towell. Metro Ottawa reports that 6,500 went through the doors of the Ottawa School of Art and many thousand more partook in the different events and installations in the Byward Market and Hintonburg. Some Ottawans thought the two zones were too far apart – I suggest for next creating a link from the Market to Hintonburg via Centretown and Chinatown. For year 2, we need an app. Let us know your favourite part of Nuit Blanche!

Can something like the Byward Market be reproduced in Gatineau? That’s what the city of Gatineau is proposing to its residents. “Plus de 1500 logements, des condos de luxe, un hôtel, des commerces et une rue d’ambiance se bâtiront d’ici 10 ans dans l’ancien centre-ville de Gatineau, sur les vastes terrains situés au nord de la Maison de la culture et du centre sportif.” Is this a pipe dream? Is it something you think will happen?

Somerset House, on the corner of Bank and Somerset, has been a derelict space ever since I’ve lived in the city. I’ve always wondered why it was never demolished to revitalize this busy street corner. The reason for the delay is an ongoing legal battle between the building’s owner and the city. Several residents are fed up with the lack of movement and have started a petition “calling on the City and the building owners to resolve the legal disagreements now, and to either a) retain the heritage features of the existing facade and develop the remaining lot in an innovative manner that will benefit the community and eliminate the “eyesore” that is currently in place, or B) if the existing facade cannot be used for functional use, tear it down and use the space for the benefit of the community.”

Designs for the Tunney’s Pasture redevelopment are out. Two proposals were put forward by the feds and by the sounds of it, no one’s really excited about them. Both designs are very similar, offer little in the way of retail and puts all new residences on Parkdale. Finally, surrounding communities had not been consulted before the proposals were drafted.