99 Fifth Avenue (Fifth Avenue Court)

By Carol MacLeod

On the wintry evening of April 10, developer Minto Commercial and the City of Ottawa hosted an open house at St. Giles Church with display boards outlining construction details and the proposed schedule related to the redevelopment of Fifth Avenue Court. The meeting had been changed because the venue was  inaccessible. The crowd was not sizable.

The current plan is a seven-storey, 161- unit rental building, with a two-level 115-space underground parking. The property will be managed by Minto, which does not allow short term leases on its properties (i.e. no Airbnb). Thirteen of the parking spaces will be reserved for the commercial property on Bank Street, and an unknown number for visitors.

Preliminary survey work has begun. All current tenants are expected to be out of the building by August 2019. Fifth Avenue Court will be demolished in September. Over the next months into winter, the garage will be excavated and screw piles inserted which are apparently less damaging to surrounding properties. The crane will be erected on the eastern edge of the property. The superstructure is projected to be completed by September 2020, the building envelope by November, and tenants moved in between March and June 2021.

Building owners within a 30-metre radius will be notified with advice to obtain engineering reports so that they can be reimbursed for construction damage. Heavy trucks will take material from the site and make deliveries by driving east on Fourth, south on O’Connor and west on Fifth. One person pointed out that an anticipated 20 trucks a day will inevitably cause damage to houses on both sides of all three streets, so all properties should  be notified. There will be no pedestrian traffic on adjacent sidewalks on Fourth and Fifth. Construction hours are to be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, except for special circumstances like concrete pouring.

Residents raised several construction concerns: trucks blocking driveways, construction workers taking street parking, trucks idling in cold and hot weather, street cleaning and snow removal, particularly as Fifth is a fire route and Fourth is an alternative. These matters were not deemed to be the responsibility of the developers or the city planners. No one from the Councillor’s office was present, but the city planner promised to raise issues with the appropriate city office.

The developer plans to protect the tree at the southeast corner of the lot and to plant 11 trees on Fourth and Fifth at street level and at the east side of the property: two varieties of locust, Ginkgo, Liberty elm and paper birch. Minto is responsible for maintaining trees for two years. A resident recommended installing tree guards to protect the tree trunks from dog urine burn. It was also suggested that Minto investigate greening the roof and installing solar panels.

Carol MacLeod is a resident of Fourth Avenue and a member of the Glebe Community Association board of directors.

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