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Stone Abbey Residence blends boutique luxury with social good, delivering intensification and improved community space to Old Ottawa South
November 4, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) – Inspired by the One Planet Living principles, Windmill Developments (Windmill) broke ground on a new pipeline of comprehensive, community-focused developments yesterday, marking the occasion with a small ceremony at Southminster United Church in Old Ottawa South.
Stoneabbey ground breaking

Pictured left to right: Jordan Cloutier (PCL Construction), Craig Piche (South Minister United Church), Andrew Brewin (South Minister United Church), Rheal Labelle (Hobin Architecture), Jonathan Westeinde (Windmill Developments), Justin George (Windmill Developments), Barry Hobin (Hobin Architecture).

Flanked by members of the Church, Windmill CEO Jonathan Westeinde was on site to celebrate this important collaboration and the start of construction of the Stone Abbey Residences. The development will introduce a six-storey, nineteen-unit, boutique building onto a severed piece of the church’s property. To ensure the Church’s longevity and continued operations, Windmill advanced a portion of the development proceeds ahead of the new Stone Abbey building being constructed to revitalize the 90-year-old church, which remains a vibrant, vital part of the community. Church improvements included relocating community meeting space into the full renovated basement of the original structure and improving overall building systems and performance.

“Seeing the initiative for redeveloping our space come to fruition is a truly rewarding milestone for our congregation.  This is the next milestone in a positive and rewarding collaboration with Windmill Developments,” says Andrew Brewin, Co-Treasurer and Chair of the Redevelopment Committee of Southminister Church. “We are excited to see this development raise the profile of this corner of Ottawa  between the canal, Bank Street and Aylmer, not only as an historic landmark but also as an important new component of our community.”

“We’re excited to be breaking ground on Stone Abbey and delivering a gentle mix of density into an in-demand neighbourhood in South Ottawa while also fortifying operations for a significant community hub,” says Westeinde. “This groundbreaking is particularly noteworthy for Windmill, because it represents the first project in our pipeline to receive funding from the One Planet Living Fund. As developers with deep roots in Ottawa, we recognize that our industry needs to shift how we build to better deal with the demands of both climate change and the housing crisis. The ten One Planet Living principles that inform this development embrace both social and ecological innovation, offering a viable path forward for all builders.”

Launched as a partnership between Epic Investment Services and Windmill, the One Planet Living Fund is a closed-end, mixed-use opportunistic real estate development impact fund designed to accelerate the implementation of impact investing principles in real estate while generating market returns. By launching The Fund, Windmill and Epic are hoping to popularize the adoption of the One Planet Living framework across Canada and North America with an initial focus in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area.

Stone Abbey is one of three projects to receive contributions from The Fund and the first to break ground. Other projects in the billion-dollar pipeline include Baker District in Guelph, Ontario and a site-intensification partnership with Parkway House in Ottawa.

Stone Abbey Rendering

Stone Abbey is a rare residence that will provide demonstrable impact via enhanced community services, as well as a low ecological footprint, while still delivering market-leading luxury with expertly curated suites.

Designed by Hobin Architecture and Michael London Design, Stone Abbey residences will range in size from 685 to 2,360 square feet. Blending the traditional architecture of the existing church with contemporary design, Stone Abbey embodies intimate sophistication centred upon wellness, beauty, and community connection. A rooftop terrace offers future residents expansive scenic views of the canal, as well as community gardening plots. Along with adopting the principles of the One Planet Living framework, Stone Abbey will be targeting a LEED Platinum Certification, with plans to include geothermal heating and cooling.

Stone Abbey is a rare residence that will provide demonstrable impact via enhanced community services, as well as a low ecological footprint, while still delivering market-leading luxury with expertly curated suites starting from $1.1 million.

To register and learn more about Stone Abbey Residences, please visit:

To schedule interviews, please contact publicists:

Media Contact

Kimberly Riddell
M: 647-969-6689

Alexandra DiCenzo
M: 289-242-8058 


Windmill Development Group (“Windmill”) is a visionary company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by using a triple bottom line approach to projects, ensuring strong ecological, social and financial returns. Everything Windmill does is conceived, designed and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and its ecosystems. They harness innovations in land use, water, air, energy, design, waste management and smart building technologies to create healthy, high-performance green buildings and communities.

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As Seen on

People check out some of the concept images of the Baker District during a public meeting on Thursday afternoon. - Graeme McNaughton/Metroland

People check out some of the concept images of the Baker District during a public meeting on Thursday afternoon. – Graeme McNaughton/Metroland

It was standing room only at the first of two public meetings Thursday on plans to revitalize part of the downtown core.

Once it is complete, the Baker District will be home to the new main branch of the library, along with hundreds of new residential units, a yet-to-be determined institutional partner and more.

But first, the City of Guelph — along with its partners in the project, Windmill Development Group and consultant Invizij Architects — wanted to lay out how far things have come, and how much further they have to go.

“This is 10 years in the making,” Martin Jewitt, the city’s portfolio development program manager, told the 100 or so people packed into the Co-operators Hall at the River Run Centre for the meeting.

“We’re happy that we’re finally moving this forward.”

Jewitt said next year will see more concrete plans for the proposal, including final budgets and designs. Part of those determinations will be borne out of a series of public consultations over the coming months.

On the city’s end of things, those consultations will include another open house in June 2019, shortly before final plans on Baker District go to council for approval.

There are also plans for community workshops in January and March, pop-up engagement sessions on Dec. 10 and a graffiti wall at the main library branch, where residents can share their ideas on what they think the new Baker District and library should be.

All of those components, in one form or another, will also be conducted online.

Another issue discussed Thursday afternoon was the final look of the project. While several concept images were shared with the public when Windmill was announced as the city’s partner in July, both the developer and the project’s architect said those will change.

“These are concepts that are by no means set in stone,” Jonathan Westeinde, Windmill’s CEO, told the crowd, adding that public feedback will go into the vision of the project going to council next summer.

Westeinde also touted the company’s plans for making the project environmentally friendly — many of his company’s past projects are LEED Platinum certified, the highest certification available from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — but added thing will be taken a step further in Guelph.

Created by the U.K.-based Bioregional, One Planet Living is a list of principles that developers can use, such as zero carbon energy and zero waste, and encouraging walking communities and using materials from sustainable sources.

Baker District would be the second project in the country to be built as a One Planet Living community. The Zibi development, a planned 2,500-home project in Ottawa also by Windmill, is currently the sole Canada One Planet Living community.

Steve Kraft, the CEO of Guelph Public Library, confirmed the size of the new library at three storeys, and that there will be an institutional partner on the project.

“I see it as bringing real activity to this part of the city,” he said.

While an institutional partner for Baker has not yet been announced — Jewitt said that will be determined before plans come back to council next year — YMCA-YWCA of Guelph has expressed an interest in moving into the downtown core, recently launching a phone survey on the issue.

Several years ago, the Y said it would like space in the Baker Street development. Speaking recently with the Mercury Tribune, Geoff Vogt, chief executive officer of the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph, said that while Baker District is still a consideration, the Y is not yet committed to the project.

More information on this project is posted online at

By Graeme NcNaughton
Graeme McNaughton is a reporter/photographer with the Guelph Mercury Tribune.

See the original article >

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As seen in: Daily Commercial News

Windmill Development Group has been selected to partner with the City of Guelph, Ont. to develop a One Planet Living community, a socially and environmentally sustainable mixed-use project in the city’s downtown.

The 400,000-square-foot development is located on Baker Street and will include two 10-storey residential buildings, one on the north side and one on the south side of a new public street, which will include 25,000 square feet of retail and office space, a municipal library, a public plaza and a public parking garage. It will provide about 275 residential units to support the city’s intensification goals. The overall cost is approximately $250 million.

The property currently houses a city parking lot which will be replaced with a structured parking lot with density above it.

“It’s a city-owned parcel of land in downtown Guelph that will be an infill development,” explained Jonathan Westeinde, a managing partner with Windmill Developments. “It’s in the early planning stages. We don’t anticipate being in the ground on this project until the earliest Q4 2020 or Q1 2021.”

Westeinde said the development will use the One Planet Living framework, which resonated well with the city during the competitive RFP process. One Planet Living is a planning and sustainability framework by Bioregional, a company that works with partners to create better places for people to live, work and do business, it states. It’s predicated on building communities where people can live “happy and healthy lives within the limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness and using their fair share of the earth’s resources,” states the Bioregional website.

“One planet is the same framework we used on our Zibi development (Canada’s first One Planet community) in Ottawa. Basically it allows for a much broader, holistic approach beyond just the buildings, as far as creating a sustainability matrix,” said Westeinde.

“It has 10 core target areas and really goes beyond just targeting energy efficiency and waste but gets into equity and local economy, health and happiness. Fundamentally it is trying to demonstrate…how developments can happen using the resources of one planet.”

Its 10 principles, which work together to help make sustainable living a reality for anyone, anywhere, include health and happiness, equity and local economy, culture and community, land and nature, sustainable water, local sustainable food, materials and products, travel and transport, zero waste and zero carbon.

The project team for the Guelph development includes DTAH which will be responsible for landscape and urban design as well as architecture alongside Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Windmill’s sister strategic consulting company Urban Equation will design a sustainability framework that is based on the One Planet Living principles. The rest of the project team is being assembled, Westeinde reported.

The biggest challenge so far has been the infrastructure timing and requirements for the site.

“There is also going to be a central city urban park that is part of our development. It coincides with another park the city was looking to develop and planning the timing of getting the servicing to the site and all those elements…we’re just working with the city right now to line up the ducks and make sure that we can sequence things in proper order,” said Westeinde.

The developer is hoping its commercial and institutional occupants will attract locals and visitors to the site to create a strong community hub.

“The mix of tenants, which we can’t fully speak about yet, these groups are expressing interest and we are just getting them finalized,” said Westeinde. “It is meant to be a block that creates a real community hub, a real energy. It’s not just a standard commercial or retail space.”

The city’s downtown secondary plan, approved in 2012, opened the door for the Baker District to respond to the market with a major mixed-use development, said Westeinde, adding it still requires full public consultation, which will likely start in November.

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Windmill Developments Win Greenline Ideas Competition

The Green Line Ideas Competition is a global competition that called on architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, artists and community members to formulate design proposals to improve the functionality of a 5km long hydro corridor in midtown Toronto. The competition aimed to use this particular hydro corridor as a template for potential ways to improve the public uses of these derelict spaces in cities all across North America.

Alex Speigel, Managing Partner of Windmill Development Group’s Toronto office, partnered with Susan Speigel Architect Inc. to create a visionary design focused on green energy production as a way to fund other public realm improvements along the corridor. Windmill’s submission placed 2nd out of a total 77 competition entrants. We proposed a scheme based on retrofitting existing infrastructure to generate clean, renewable energy using vertical wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, and geothermal loops below grade.

See Windmills’ Green Line Ideas Competition Submission  >

Whereas most other competition entrants focused on single issues, Windmill Development’s approach was more holistic and comprehensive. The energy harnessed through these infrastructure improvements would serve as a source of revenue to fund a variety of the public realm enhancements put forth by other competition entrants. The proposal has received support from city councilors, the local community, and was featured in this week’s NRU. Whether or not any of the winning designs will actually be implemented remains to be seen but the ideas competition has certainly stimulated positive community discussion and helped to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

NRU May 10th Edition >


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Learn what makes Windmill unique in the development world, what values drive our team and why our partners and clients choose Canada’s Greenest Developer. Beyond our green initiatives, this video explores the company’s world-class reputation for being a rigorous and holistic driving force in sustainable real estate.

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Costs of maintaining heritage buildings driving owners to search for alternative revenues

Elizabeth Howell, Ottawa Business Journal

As it secures the necessary permits to construct condo and office buildings on the Christ Church Cathedral property on Sparks Street, Windmill Developments says it is eyeing similar agreements with other local faith-based landowners.

“It’s going to become more of a common element: churches and non-profits are running out of money and there’s a lot of money to be gained in leasing the land,” said Jonathan Westeinde, Windmill’s owner.

Working with a church is a first, he added, but the firm – which specializes in eco-friendly developments and constructed the Great Canadian Theatre Co. building in Hintonburg – commonly pursues projects with municipalities and not-for-profits.

Recent examples include The Bridges, a new “urban village” intended to bring 2,000 to 2,500 residents into the centre of Calgary, and Dockside Green, a waterfront community in Victoria. Each of those developments included heavy participation from the respective cities.

The experience “is why we landed where we did in the church,” he added.

Christ Church representative David Caulfeild said he’s of heard at least one local Presbyterian church considering the same model.

“A lot of churches are looking at this approach because it’s the only avenue left to allow a church to continue without going into serious deficit,” said Mr. Caulfeild, chair of the church’s joint venture development committee, and an engineer whose past projects include the Ottawa International Airport’s redevelopment.

“Heritage properties are expensive to maintain, and with 80 per cent of your annual collection going into bricks and mortar, there is not much left to carry out the mission of the church.”

Windmill is planning to put up a 21-storey residential condominium tower and a 12-storey office building on the 35,000-square-foot complex on Sparks Street, west of Bay Street, that it is leasing from Christ Church.

The office tower was recently endorsed by the city’s planning committee and is slated to go before council later in August.

Precise details of the commercial lease are confidential, but Mr. Westeinde said his firm will make a fixed payment to the church from its lease revenues.

Windmill plans to pre-lease the building prior to starting construction, which Mr. Westeinde said he hopes will commence next year.

The condos, dubbed Cathedral Hill, will go on sale in September with prices ranging between $240,000 and just over $2 million. Construction should be finished next year.

Christ Church will make a prepayment on its 200-year residential lease, but the rest of the revenues will not kick in until the condominium reaches the end of its lifetime. Possible options then would include selling the building or starting a new redevelopment.

The development process began three years ago, when the Anglican diocese and the church – which own different parcels of land in the area – decided the lease approach was the best way to raise money for the 178-year-old building.

“With respect to the office building, there is a tripwire in the lease agreement that says that every 10 years, the rental agreement will be reviewed and compared with current market value for the office space,” Mr. Caulfeild added.

“(If there’s an) escalation in market value, we will receive our proportionate share of that revenue.”


Height: 21 storeys
Size: About 160,000 sq. ft.
Sales price: Between $240,000 and $2 million
Other details: 145 condo units, eight townhomes on Sparks Street, two townhomes on Queen Street


Height: 12 storeys
Size: About 125,000 sq. ft.
Lease value: Undetermined
Other details: Building will be pre-leased before starting construction

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Anita Murray, Ottawa Citizen

Buyers will soon be calling Sparks Street home with the release of the first street-level townhouses. Part of a development called Cathedral Hill, the eight town-homes will be integrated with a 21-storey condo tower on an escarpment overlooking the Garden of the Provinces at Sparks Street and Bronson Avenue.

The project is being built on Anglican Church land that is the home to Christ Church Cathedral. Although there was some opposition, developer Windmill Developments worked with the church and the city to make sure the project, which includes an office tower, defers to the cathedral.

Cathedral Hill launched last fall with brisk sales of the condo units. The final release, which includes 10 townhomes (there are two others that incorporate the facades of two semi-detached homes facing Queen Street), came last weekend. The townhomes range from 1,389 square feet for a Queen Street unit to 2,223 square feet with a 600-square-foot rooftop terrace and elevator for one of the Sparks Street homes. Prices range from $675,000 to $1.5 million. Units range from two bedrooms to three bedrooms plus den, and some plans allow for the ground floor to be easily used as a business space. The townhouses will also have access to the amenities available in the condo tower, which include rooftop garden plots, a fitness centre, a movie theatre, wine storage, a dog washing room, an electric car charging station and a concierge.

Also released last weekend were eight penthouses, six terraces and the last of the 139 condo units.

The development has aimed to transform a patchwork of parking lots and historic structures into a block that integrates contemporary buildings with the cathedral. Roper House, which serves as the bishop’s office and sales centre for the project, is preserved, along with Lauder Hall, a century-old building housing church offices and choir space. What makes the project work is the demolition of Cathedral Hall, a 1950s building on Sparks Street that will be replaced by the townhomes. Demolition could start as early as next week, and Windmill is building a new parish hall.

Cathedral Hill is the seventh multi-residential project for Windmill Developments, an Ottawa-based, eco-logically minded company founded in 2003. An industry leader in green building, all of Windmill’s residential projects, most of which are in Western Canada, have been built to at least LEED platinum standards, the highest level for green building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Windmill is aiming for a LEED platinum designation with Cathedral Hill as well.

The company is aiming for a February 2014 occupancy.

For details, visit the sales centre at Roper House (entrance off Queen, near Bronson) Monday to Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; weekends noon to 5 p.m.; or by appointment. Or call 613-566-7010 or visit

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By Paul Barker

Rising energy costs and concern for the environment are the catalysts behind a deluge of devices and breakthroughs designed to reduce electricity consumption in homes, schools, office buildings and factories across Canada.

Constantine Eliadis, vice president of business development with home energy audit organization GreenSaver, says that with the daytime cost of electricity virtually doubling overnight in Ontario, for example, it is “hitting a lot of folks hard.”

Adopting a more energy-conscious lifestyle, he says, requires more than new technology, however; he notes it’s important to change the way you think and act where energy use is concerned.

“There are great technologies out there, particularly on electricity displays in the home that tell you the real-time cost of electricity and consumption and train you to look out for waste,” says Eliadis. “That is a big opportunity. You can install all the compact fluorescent light bulbs you want, but if you leave them on you are wasting electricity.

“If you are sitting in your living room reading the paper and the tap in the kitchen is gushing water, you don’t ignore it and keep reading. It is kind of obvious, but electricity is invisible and you can easily sit in your same living room chair, while the lights are on in the basement and the television is on in the bedroom.”

Businesses face the same need to save energy and reduce costs as individual consumers, but finding solutions can be complicated. Speaking at the Construct Canada conference in Toronto, Dan Wendl, a vice president with the Trane, Hussmann business sectors of Ingersoll Rand, summed up the situation on the commercial side by noting while energy conservation is about turning the lights off, it’s hard to work in a dark room.

Wendl says even many of the world’s best companies do not have effective business processes to align facility infrastructure needs with their business plan.

“As a result, facilities engineers who are responsible for the comfort, health effects, operating specifications and utilities management often get trapped in a deferred maintenance/catch-up loop,” he says.

But linking building performance to business objectives, he says, benefits owners, facility engineers and occupants; successful strategic energy plans combine the latest climate control technology with consistent monitoring and personal decision.

“The proxy for behaviour control in the commercial and industrial sectors is automation,” says Eliadis. “There are products that have sensors that can detect when people are there or not, and bring up lights. One of the wonderful things about electricity display is that you can see real-time costs. They can reduce electricity consumption by 20 per cent.”

Rodney Wilts, a partner with BuildGreen Solutions, highlighted at the conference products, systems and technologies he says are becoming more accessible and affordable.

These include:

  • Control4, an IP-based software interface from a Salt Lake City company of the same name. The device is described as a “control freak” that works with energy monitoring devices that allow home and commercial building owners to manage energy consumption. In the Dashboard setting, for example, the price per kilowatt hour can be tracked. The Electricity Use setting allows an individual to identify spikes in usage and adjust his settings.
  • The Modlet, a web-enabled device that Wilts says “automatically kills vampire power, informs users what power is actually being consumed and suggests strategies to reduce consumption.” Developed by ThinkEco Inc. of New York, N.Y. , the company says the modlet, short for modern outlet, rethinks how to prevent plug load waste – the power consumed by plugged-in equipment when not in use. ThinkEco claims an overall utility bill can be reduced with no change in office routine.
  • The Freewatt, a micro-sized combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) cogeneration system for homes that provides the necessary heat and can also operate as a backup power supply should a power outage occur. The system, powered by a Honda engine, has been popular in Japan, says Wilts, and is now starting to impact the North American market.
  • The Twinfire (distributed in North America by Wittus Inc.), which Wilts described as the most efficient wood stove in the world, with an efficiency rate of 93 per cent through something called down-draft dual-burning technology.
  • So-called Smart Windows, touted as a technology that could revolutionize the industry. Switch Materials Inc. of Burnaby, B.C. and its team of scientists are currently developing smart windows and lenses that the company says will darken when exposed to the sun and “rapidly bleach on command when stimulated by electricity.” Last year, the B.C. provincial government announced it would invest $2.1 million into the company as part of its Innovative Clean Energy Fund.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News


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Cottage Chores… We have staff for those! Family Fun… You have time for that! Fractional Ownership… Everyone can afford this!

WHITEWATER VILLAGE Luxury Cottage Club, ON – Windmill Developments GroupLtd., one of Canadaʼs leading green developers is proud to announce their WhitewaterVillage Luxury Cottage Club development as a finalist in Ottawaʼs Tourism PartnershipAwards. Windmill Developments partnered with Wilderness Tours Rafting to develop a34 acre peninsula of land to host 34 eco-friendly, luxury cottages with unbelievablewaterfront.

“We are changing the way people think of cottage life in Ontario, fractional ownership of a vacation property makes so much sense.” Stated, Jonathon Westeinde – Managing Partner of Windmill Developments. ”Maintenance free contemporary cottages, with a goal to be greenhouse gas neutral is turning heads with its savvy appeal and luxurious living.”

Interested families can enjoy the opportunity of investment in a recreational 4-season cottage on the beautiful Rocher-Fendu Lake with a gorgeous south facing sandy beach and a long list of amenities.

“Fractional business is new to Ottawans, although already a popular trend in the Muskokas”, stated Susan Finlay, Director of Marketing for WHITEWATER VILLAGE. “We offer so much to our fractional owners including: fully furnished luxury log homes, a Club House, new docks, sauna, golf carts, kayaks, canoes and a childrenʼs play structure to make each vacation a spectacular experience!”

Toronto has enjoyed the benefits of fractional vacation properties for years and it is finally a lifestyle available just one hour west of Ottawa. With waterfront property prices sky-rocketting and travel oppurtunities diversifying, fractional ownership is the smart solution. Whitewater Village is affiliated with RCI (Resort Condominiums International), making every owner a member of the worlds largest vacation exchange organization. Weʼve made all vacationersʼ dreams come true – cottaging and travel.

The strong sense of community and great locality makes Whitewater Village a smart investment for all vacation seekers. Owners enjoy every minute of their cottage time without ever having to maintain, replace or even clean their cottage! Stroll along the graceful boardwalk promenade, taking in wide-open views of water and sky. Discreetly out of sight, youʼll find the cottages that make up this vacation community. The ease of a fabulous family cottage and the social horizons of a resort community are woven into the design of Whitewater Village so seamlessly that everyone, no matter how social or
private, will enjoy themselves.

Meet friends at the beachside village clubhouse, or cocoon with a book on your private deck. Take the kids for a swim at the expansive beach, or get active canoeing, biking the trails, putting your kayak skills to the test. If you happen to visit during the winter months, pull out your skates or skis and explore the wilderness.

Whitewater Village is at the heart of one of North Americaʼs most celebrated natural playgrounds and Canadaʼs best whitewater rafting and kayaking. Yet some days you may want to relax and let the world go by. “Its like that here, a world of comfort and choice for people of all ages, breathe clean air, swim in fresh water, and be with those you love, creating fond memories for generations to come” states Jonathan Westeinde.

Whitewater Village was created as one of the only sustainable cottage clubs in the world and the many details that warrant this make the devlopment 40-50% more energy and water efficient.

Open for tours every weekend from 10am – 4pm – directions available at

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By Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen

After decades of trying to develop its lands on Cathedral Hill, the Anglican diocese finally received approval to go ahead with a project that will see, among other things, a condominium tower on the southwest portion of the site that will be 21-storeys high -or more than three times the height that’s currently allowed.

Council’s planning committee Tuesday unanimously approved the proposal to construct a 21-storey condominium tower, a row of four townhouses and a 12-storey office building around Christ Church Cathedral at the west end of Sparks Street. The plan was also approved last week by the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee.

However, the plan did not sit well with the half-dozen or so residents who came to argue that the development was too dense and that heights will block important views.

For the spot where the condo building will be built, the existing zoning allows for heights of 20 metres. Tuesday’s decision, which will go to council today, allows a maximum height of 73.6 metres.

The new towers will be slightly higher than the cathedral spires and “considerably higher than the other existing heritage buildings” nearby, according to a city report. “Do not foist this development on us,” said James McGraw, whose wife owns a condo on Bronson Avenue. “This is going to overwhelm the cathedral and its attendant buildings.”

Hugh Finsten, who lives on Bay Street on the eastern edge of the site, told councillors he was worried the views of the Ottawa River from his condo will be blocked, and could affect the value of his home. But more importantly, he said later, the development “is a real detriment to downtown Ottawa.”

“I thought that this proposal doesn’t fit at all in the neighbourhood,” said Finsten. “The cathedral is going to be walled in. Yes, it’s true, you’re going to be able to see it from the parkway, but the rest of the view is all blocked up.”

The site is bounded by Bronson Avenue to the west, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to the east, Sparks Street to the north and Queen Street to the south. Christ Church owns all the property except St. Peter’s and three Queen Anne revival houses on Queen Street.

The Anglican diocese wants to develop the land surrounding the 138-year-old building to generate income for its ministries and to pay for the ongoing restoration of the heritage building, which costs at least $100,000 a year, Rev. Shane Parker, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and rector of Christ Church, told the committee Tuesday.

“It’s a Victorian Gothic building in the middle of one of the coldest climates on earth and the wear and tear is significant,” he later said.

Although the financial details of the diocese’s deal with Windmill Development Group of Ottawa to undertake the project were not made public, Parker said the complex leasing deal will provide the church with revenue “in perpetuity,” and that will free up money for the church to invest “in things related to people, as opposed to the structure itself.”

The church is also in discussions with Habitat for Humanity to provide some affordable housing units in the 136-unit residential development.

Cathedral Hill is a designated heritage district, and new buildings are supposed to be sensitive and complementary. The design has morphed from a boxy, 15-storey residential building into a skinnier 21-storey residential tower, which the city’s design review panel prefers because the more slender tower will be less dominating. The tower has also been moved farther from the cathedral, to provide a better view of the church from the north side.

Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes represents the ward where Cathedral Hill is located. She supports most of the project, as well as the church’s requirement for revenue, but said “the height is a real problem.” “It’s either fat and squat or tall and thin,” said Holmes, who in not on the planning committee and hence could not vote on the issue. “We don’t ever seem to be able to have a less-tall-and-thin discussion, it’s always an extremely-talland-thin discussion.”

The plan calls for demolishing the 1950s Cathedral Hall facing Sparks Street and constructing a new hall in the centre of the site. That allows the designers to build a narrow tower behind Roper House -a heritage-designated site -and put lower-scaled townhouses where the church hall was on Sparks.


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