Committee OK's twin towers at Bayshore mall

·2 min read

The owners of Bayshore Shopping Centre are a big step closer to building a pair of tall towers beside the west Ottawa mall, the latest major development to be proposed along the city's future light rail network.

On Tuesday, Ottawa's planning committee approved the request from Kingsett Capital and Ivanhoé Cambridge to allow towers of 27 and 30 storeys on land beside the mall.

Several nearby residents spoke out against the project during the virtual city meeting, arguing the development would be much higher than the 12 storeys currently allowed in the area, and will stand out as an "eyesore" in the community.

They were also frustrated the development's three-storey podium wouldn't be accessible to the public, and will instead house a parking garage for residents, potentially blocking access to the future Bayshore LRT station.

City of Ottawa
City of Ottawa

"[The design] should enhance the vision intended by LRT, not suffocate it or ignore it," Mark Hollett, an architect who lives in the Bayshore area, told the committee.

The garage would be designed so that it can be converted to other uses, either residential or commercial, the city planner on the file explained.

Commercial uses wouldn't survive

But the companies that own the mall know the retail market, however, and say they didn't propose shops or offices because they didn't think they'd be viable at that location.

"We cannot see right now, with the current state of retail and where the mall is at, for a commercial use to survive in that podium," said Graeme Silvera, Ivanhoé Cambridge's vice-president of retail development. "There just isn't enough traffic, there isn't enough visibility for that to work."

Kate Porter/CBC
Kate Porter/CBC

The companies' consultant added that 45 of the 500 apartments will meet the city's definition of affordable housing, while most others will adhere to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definition.

"All the units within the building will be considered affordable in one way or another," said Christine McCuaig of Q9 Planning and Design.

The 10 councillors present at committee voted unanimously for the project, in keeping with council's consistent support for dense development along transit routes.

The zoning and official plan changes for the Bayshore towers must still receive full council's approval on Nov. 25. Other matters, such as the design of public areas, will be dealt with during a future stage known as the site plan.