There’s a lot of hoopla in the mainstream media these days with everybody and their brother popping up with new plans for Lansdowne Park.
The alternative plans tend to share some elements in common:
The Glebe will get a big grassy and treed park. Someone else’s money will restore some older, architecturally significant buildings into marvellous wonders for the local neighborhood. Locals will wander in on bicycles and by foot to buy directly from the friendly farmer locally-grown no-downside produce. After that they can linger by Venetian canals sipping coffee from organically grown (in the shade) responsibility harvested 100 mile coffee beans, while the breeze waffles in the gentle strains of the NAC orchestra playing in the park. Tourists come (by transit, of course, or maybe electric vaporettos or bixi bikes) to wander, mouths agape, at the wonder that is the heart of The Glebe. The vital canal side sidewalks are enlived by the thousands of residents who live in the park … except for the plans that insist no one may live in the park, unless maybe they are renters.
Gone will be the football stadium, soccer stadium, and outdoor concert venue. Where did they go? Over to Bayview, of course. Nothing attracts amateur planners like a big “empty” lot.
What happens to the plans already in place for that neighborhood? What happened to their plans for lively cafes along an historic aquaduct? Fun riverside walks? Vital mixed income condo developments? Ethnic shopping nirvana?
Gone. Replaced by a giant stadium or stadii, deafened by outdoor concerts, swarmed by hodes or car parkers (not everyone will arrive and depart by magically silent bullfrog-powered transit). For most days and evenings, the stadium areas will be vacant wideswept voids, interrupted by tractor trailer bays and large parking structures (pressed into cost-recovery use as park and ride facilities to encourage car commuters to drive to the edge of the downtown core and take free transit…).
Oh, think maybe the locals might prefer the “other plans” already developed and approved by Council and subject to subdivision agreements and into which millions of tax dollars in infrastructure development and land remediation have already been poured? Well, here, toss them a library building, now that’s an intellectual+jock=happy formula. Nevermind that the City already has a new library on track, approved land purchase, and has a library board and ward councillor opposed to moving to Bayview, well they can be changed, just a triffling issue.
Too much of the Lansdowne Park dreaming seems hinged on dreams of the Glebe getting a urban area high-culture park to foster their Florida-inspired nirvana while fobbing off the noisy and troublesome stuff to another neighborhood, without bothering to ask if the recipients of all this largesse want it.
Just for the record, I am not totally opposed to the idea of a utopian-dream stadium at Bayview, but I am sure concerned about what sort of stadium the neighborhood would actually end up with.
While cycling home from the Parkdale Market the other day I tried to avoid both West Wellington and Scott due to the construction. This took me through the centre of Hintonburg, past a fireplace store.
I came accross one guy on a bike, the other on roller blades. Cyclist had a pager.
Roller blader: puff puff, “He wasn’t there.”
Cyclist: “he must be, he just called five minutes ago” (holds up pager).
Roller blader: “want me to go back?”
Cyclist: “naw, gotta another call” (cites address).
Blader skates off madly down another street.
Cyclist: checks pager, heads west at a fast clip.
Now what these two gents were doing could be totally innocent. I am sure many 30-40year old scruffy males enjoy cycling and roller blading. Or maybe they were mixing “business” with exercise or economical transportation. Whatever, it was low carbon footprint and will positively reflect on Stats Can surveys about mode of transport to employment in inner city neighborhoods.
While creating the following post on double-tracked pathways in Toronto (punnily entitled: InAction), there came a knock at the front door of my house. Two Ottawa police persons were there, giving competition to the UPS men in short pants category. One officer was hanging off the end of my verandah to peer over my driveway gate, which is 7’6″ high.
The cause: my elderly Cdn tire 6speed commuter bike was parked in my driveway, the front door of the house was open (although the glass aluminum door was locked). It seems there is a burglar active in our area, age 35-45, druggy-skinny, scruffy, riding an old bike. They advised I call 9-1-1 if seen, regardless of what he is doing, and the police will check it out. It looked to the police officers that they may have stumbled onto a b&e in action. No such luck for them, however, and after a social chat, they wandered off. On foot. No police car in sight.
I then realized that it must be fairly serious for the dept to have two constables on foot wandering around the neighborhood hoping to catch a burglar in action. Of course there are other benefits to having them foot patrol residential streets, but the rarity of this impressed me that the b&e’s must be awfully frequent and blatant to warrant this response.
In 25 years, we have had only one b&e, which my (then) seven year old son interrupted in progress. Since then, the front window has been nailed shut and a driveway gate constructed. I maintain I live on a very safe street, and in a safe spot on said safe street. Nonetheless, resident vigilance is required (and this is not blaming the victim).