Byward Market business owners worry about lost parking as finance committee approves redevelopment plan

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OTTAWA – Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market is about to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation, creating an “inspiring public places network” for pedestrians.

But some market business owners say the plan, approved by the city’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCo) on Tuesday, could hurt their bottom line.

Brenda Blondin of Maison du Fromage in ByWard Market Square says she doesn’t like the plan, especially because of the loss of parking in the market.

“Many of our customers who do their shopping at the Byward Market come by car. A lot of them are in their old age so they have to come by car and then can’t walk or carry their bags three blocks, ”she said.

The $ 129 million Byward Market Public Realm Plan outlines new pedestrian spaces on George Street, York Street and Clarence Street, and the introduction of the “William Street Pedestrian Spine.”

It also includes long-term plans for a new “York Street Flex” plaza extending from Sussex Drive to York Street and the redevelopment of the Clarence Street parking garage into a new “destination building”, resulting in the loss of hundreds of parking spaces.

The plan would keep vehicles moving through the Byward Market except on William Street.

Pat Nicastro, at La Bottega on George Street, says the plan is beautiful, but he’s also worried about losing so much parking.

“The market isn’t just limited to beautiful sunny days and terraces,” Nicastro said. “We have to remember that retailers need parking. Retailers need parking lots and delivery areas in the short term. There are things the plan missed. ”

Area councilor Mathieu Fleury says he believes the plan still strikes the right balance between walking and parking.

“What we’re doing is similar to Lansdowne, as far as on-street parking is concerned,” he told CTV News Ottawa by phone on Wednesday. “The plan includes the possibility of closing the streets for events, which would mean that some spaces will not be available temporarily, but overall the number of on-street parking spaces is not decreasing as much.”

Fleury has acknowledged that the Clarence Street parking garage will be replaced, but the City is actively exploring options to replace the 300 spaces that would be lost during the construction of the new “destination building”.

“There are several sites being redeveloped where we could partner with the private sector to provide these 300 spaces. It won’t be in the heart of the market, but it would still be two or three blocks away. “

The plan has yet to be submitted to city council in full for final approval.

Blondin says she will continue to serve returning customers, who say specialty stores like hers should be protected.

“We all love the little stores here. You find things you can’t find in big box stores. We would miss you if anything happened,” said a customer who spoke to CTV News.

The City of Ottawa hopes to cover the $ 129 million plan with funding from senior levels of government, public-private partnerships, and leveraging assessment management funding where possible. Funding would also be subject to future city budgeting.

With files from Josh Pringle of CTVNewsOttawa.ca.


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