Saturday, March 14, 2009
LeBreton Flats: landscaping in winter time
The much-criticized condo tower on LeBreton Flats near Wellington and the War Museum is the first new residential building on these brownfields in 25 years. The view of the building is not helped by its isolation and strip-mined surroundings. Until the condo apartment market heats up again, we won't see the second half of the first building (yes, second half: the first building is L shaped; the second joins onto it with another 7 storey yellow brick base and a 14 storey tower, making the whole building look like one, shaped in a U with the open end facing the valley).
The building is well set back from Wellington Street (replacing the old Ottawa River Parkway) to preserve the sight lines of Parliamentary precinct. Amongst other uses, the land is to eventually be the site of the Fallen Fire Fighters Monument. Until a few weeks ago, the site was a rubble-strewn depression about 3-5 metres deep. Freezing winter temperatures doesn't discourage the NCC however, and they have been busy landscaping the area. They filled the depression with packed-down fill and are topping it off with topsoil. I wonder where they get the so many truckloads of dry, unfrozen topsoil they are putting on the planting beds. I love the way they plant trees too: on Tuesday last, they dug a trench about 1 metre deep, 3 metres wide, all along the edge of the property facing Wellington, to make a deep planting bed. By today it too was filled will topsoil. They have also laid the gravel bed for the pedestrian and bike path that will (someday) extend between the new condos and the tailrace.
The photo is taken today from the sidewalk on Wellington looking South along the east side of the new condo building, it shows the new bike path curving as it goes toward Pooley's Bridge. The segments behind the condo are to be installed by Claridge, not the NCC, so we probably won't have a open path for several years when the second condo tower is finished. I am curious to see if the NCC will seed the grass or move in trees while the ground is still frozen.
Now, if only the NCC would address itself to the eyesore on the west side of the new condo. It's another open pit, about 3 metres deep, supposedly reserved for two office towers in the eleven storey height range. But with no construction in sight, they should fill it in and green it now.