Ward councillor and mayor meet with Salvation Army reps regarding Montreal Road project

By Anil Jhalli

The councillor for the Rideau-Vanier ward and Ottawa's mayor recently met with Salvation Army representatives regarding the future shelter and community hub on Montreal Road. 

The facility is proposed east of Ste. Anne Avenue in Vanier, and aims to help some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable people.

The proposed design calls for an H-shaped facility with a four-storey wing to the west and a three-storey wing to the east, connected by a two-storey communal area. The design has been revised since an initial concept in 2017, and the west wing has been shortened from six to four storeys to ensure the building is compatible with existing homes nearby.

The current design also includes 32 supportive housing units, and the emergency shelter component will be 25 per cent smaller than originally conceived, offering 99 beds instead of 140.

Ottawa city council approved the plans for the facility in 2017. Some residents were upset by the decision and vowed to fight it. Ontario's Local Planning Appeals Tribunal dismissed an appeal to try to stop the Salvation Army's plans in June 2020.

The City of Ottawa's planning committee endorsed the project last summer.

“I do not support the imposition of another emergency shelter on Montreal Road or in Rideau-Vanier ward, and will continue to work for more supportive housing in Ottawa,” said Plante in an update posted on her website on Jan. 19. 

Plante noted there is willingness in the community of Vanier to work on finding solutions.

“I encouraged the Salvation Army to share their plans and be transparent with the public,” she said. “We also discussed the need for a real and meaningful consultation with Vanier residents and their community organizations to address the security concerns raised by the community, businesses and social services that neighbour the project.”

Plante said the most vulnerable residents in Ottawa deserve the best of what a G7 capital can offer, and what the COVID-19 pandemic showed was what housing models worked and which didn't work. 

“There are projects that do work in Ottawa, that follow the Housing First model like Options Bytown and the John Howard Society – both of which the city supports through Ottawa Community Housing at locations in my ward,” she said. 

Mayor Sutcliffe told Wake Up With Rob Snow the decision on the project has already been made, and it will go ahead. 

He said it's important to have continuing discussions with residents of Vanier who have long had concerns and issues about the project in their ward. 

“I understand and sympathize with residents in the area,” said Mayor Sutcliffe. “We need to listen to those concerns and if there's a way to improve the project, we should be open to that.”

Mayor Sutcliffe said the project is an important for the city of Ottawa. 

“There's a need for emergency shelter beds, supportive housing and other projects,” he added. “If this project doesn't happen, we are going to have shortages in those resources. We need to provide help to our most vulnerable people and this project is a way to do that.”

Listen to the interview with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe below: 






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