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Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Denley: Ottawa is, in fact, not as terrible as you think
Cohen’s column appeared on the same day that we learned that Ottawa’s long-anticipated new central library just took a huge step forward. The fact the city may work with Library and Archives Canada on a shared building is great news that’s likely to result in a bigger, better library. It’s the kind of synergy with the federal government that this city needs.
Later this month, we will find out the details of the proposals to redevelop LeBreton Flats. While it’s disappointing that both ideas feature an NHL hockey rink, the real news will be in what else is involved and how the project will connect to its neighborhood. Cleaning up the empty mess of contaminated soil so close to the centre of the city would be a real gain, even if the project itself isn’t all that we would hope.
The nearby Zibi development, which would reopen the Chaudière Falls area to the public and be a model of green sustainability, is what the city has long needed, although Cohen suggests it be re-examined because some aboriginal people oppose it. On the other hand, other aboriginal people welcome it. Let’s not stop every good idea because someone is against it.
Those are the improvements coming, but let’s not forget what has already been accomplished. Lansdowne Park, which Cohen describes as mediocre, has transformed actual mediocrity into a people magnet full of activity, restaurants and shops. Yes, it’s too bad that a pet food store is front and centre, but the urban park at last makes something of Lansdowne’s great site. The city’s convention centre is an infinite improvement over the dump that it replaced. The view of the Hill that it captures is priceless.