Posted by: HamptonIona | April 18, 2010

City Council Approves Heritage Status for Full Convent Site

On Wednesday, April 14th Ottawa City Council approved heritage designation for the entire Convent site. The actual vote to approve entire designation of the site was 16 in favour. There were dissents.

Prior to the vote there was discussion regarding a possible deferrment. Councillor Bloess called for a deferral of the vote for one month so that an independent heritage consultant could be brought in to assess whether the entire property should be designated heritage. Councillor Qadri seconded the motion. Mr. O’Connor, a City Solictor, said that such a deferral would require several months postponement because there were a number of parties to be notified and involved in the process. City Staff said that whether most or all the property was designated heritage, it would amount to the same thing. Councilllr Leadman said this decision had already been delayed since September 2009; she stressed that the decisions concerning the Heritage Act were distinct from those involving the Planning Act.

Deferral was voted down by a 17 to 5 vote. Voting for deferrral were Councillors Bloess, Qadri, Harder, Desroches, Hunter. Little discussion followed.

City Council’s decision to grant heritage designation to the entire property does not preclude development. It does mean, amongst other things, that the Heritage Advisory Committee will also review applications for the site development.

Notwithstanding, in late March, solicitors for Ashcroft Homes brought an application in Ontario Superior Court to quash the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee’s recommendation (made on March 18th) to designate the entire grounds as heritage. Ashcroft asserts fault in how the Committee, and in part the City, made its decision. Ashcroft alleges bad faith, breach of understanding, and exceeded jurisdiction. Ontario Superior Court will hear that motion on April 30th.

Heritage designation is a matter independent of zoning. The designation falls under the provincial Heritage Act and thus is not appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board. Under the Heritage Act, Ashcroft could theoretically ask the Conservation Review Board, within 30 days of City Council’s decision, to review that decision. The CRB would then write a report to City Council which Council would then consider but does not have to alter its decision.

Here is a timeline of recent events concerning the heritage designation:

March 18th: Heritage Advisory Committee votes to designate the convent and entire grounds as heritage

March 22: Solicitors for Ashcroft brings motion in Ontario Superior Court to quash Advisory Committee’s decision

March 23: Planning and Environment Committee votes and recommends entire property be designated heritage

April 14: City Council accepts Planning Committee’s recommendation, votes to designate entire property as heritage

April 30: Motion by Ashcroft to be heard in Ontario Superior Court



  1. Well, this application by Ashcroft Homes to quash the decision is bad faith to me. This action has made the development significantly adversarial now. I thought that they were trying to avoid that. I thought that asked us to be “civil”, and behave like gentlemen?

    I don’t live very close to the site, but I’m sensitive to those that do, and I wish to retain more of the greenspace (while also increasing density!

    I would feel somewhat differently if this was adjacent to the transitway, and could be a real transit oriented development, but it isn’t. More people living there == more cars == more pollution == higher taxes for me.

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