While picking up a coffee at my local Bridgehead, I also picked up a copy of the New Edinburgh News. Within its pages (April 2014, pages 4, 5 and 9) the NECA HDC revealed their opinion of my proposed renovation and addition to 205 Crichton Street.
I am disappointed that the NECA HDC did not choose to work with me to develop a concept for the redevelopment of my property that they could support. Instead, the committee chose to take a position that appears to be blinded by principle. BANANA is an acronym commonly used in the planning profession to describe individuals or groups that seek to: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”. Over the course of the last several years, the NECA HDC has demonstrated an uncanny resemblance to the fruit of plants in the genus Musa. In many cases, the NECA HDC has adopted positions that are in opposition to project proponents as well as the City of Ottawa’s planning process – and have not been successful in the prohibition of development in the New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District. I believe that the efforts of the NECA HDC would be of greater benefit to my neighbourhood if the committee took a more collaborative approach to planning for the inevitable renewal of the neighbourhood.
Although I could write a long rebuttal to the NECA HDC’s position on my project, suffice it to say that:
a) the NECA HDC does not share my understanding of the intent of a Heritage Conservation District (i.e., to protect the character of an area, not necessarily to preserve individual buildings);
b) the NECA HDC rejects commonly accepted urban design theory that suggests gateways buildings should define a point of entry using relatively strong architectural elements (i.e., an existing 3 story gateway building is best paired with a 2 or 3 story gateway building, as opposed to a 1 story building); and,
c) the NECA HDC misinterpreted the way in which vehicles will access the subject property and rejects the commonly accepted urban design theory that laneways exist to service the properties that abut them (facilitating functions such as vehicular access to parking and waste collection).
I have lived in New Edinburgh long enough to recognize that the NECA HDC is not necessarily representative of the neighbourhood’s opinion toward renewal. In time, I am confident that the NECA HDC will either adjust the way in which it works with agents of change, or, an alternative organization will take its place as the representative stakeholder group for New Edinburgh residents.