CBC: Proposed towers have too much parking, not enough affordable housing, councillor says

An Ottawa city councillor says two 27-storey towers proposed for a downtown lot have too much parking and not enough affordable housing.

The proposal by Claridge Homes will go before the city's planning committee on May 23. In it, Claridge is seeking a series of small zoning changes to allow the project, which would have a total of 566 units.

This amount of parking is unacceptable.- Councillor Catherine McKenney

The property on Queen and Lyon streets is currently home to a parking lot and the recently closed Glue Pot Pub, and wraps around the Lyon LRT station. City staff are recommending the project go forward.

The two towers would be connected with a nine-storey "podium" building and would be directly tied into the new LRT station. It would also have 335 parking spots underground.

In the city's report on the development, Coun. Catherine McKenney said she doesn't understand the need for so much parking.

"This amount of parking is unacceptable. This development is situated directly adjacent to the Lyon Street LRT station. It is counterintuitive to provide this amount of parking in an area that is currently highly walkable and serviced by frequent bus routes," she wrote in the report.

She said she is also disappointed that affordable housing isn't part of the massive project.

"The downtown area is in desperate need of affordable housing for all demographics. I cannot fully support a new development of this size without an affordable housing agreement attached to it."

The staff report notes that the city's current rules for transit-oriented development would actually allow another 520 parking spaces in the building.

If the proposal passes at planning committee, it will still need the approval of city council in early June.

Catherine McKenney