Tunney’s: Microcosm of the Future?

While I was preparing 20+ peaches for freezing today, I was listening to the radio and was so ecstatic to hear that John Baird (Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada) announced the redevelopment of Tunney’s Pasture, a big expansive government complex in Ottawa that looks extremely bleak and dreary.

When I first moved to Ottawa, I had high hopes of this place called “Tunney’s Pasture”. After all, doesn’t it sound idyllic? Sadly when I first stepped foot on the Pasture, I looked around to see buildings that were so far apart from one another, wide wide roads, grayish brown buildings galore (of the 70’s/80’s style…bunker-style), and nothing at all spectacular. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Shouldn’t the federal government complex serve as an example of city planning for the rest of Canada? Why was it the exact opposite? The embodiment of sprawl.

…which is why I’m so excited that the federal government is going to create a plan for redeveloping the land (it’s a 25 year plan…but nonetheless it’s a plan). So much potential!! Will it be mixed use? Will it provide low income housing? Will it be the next hub of activity? Will it actually happen or will this end up a dud of a project? I sure hope the government steps up and sees this project through. It’ll be extensive and expensive but it’ll be well worth it if they do it correctly. That means that they’ll need to heavily consult Ottawans and in particular, the citizens in the surrounding neighbourhoods and the users of the land. They’ll need to think progressively and hopefully create a microcosm of what they hope the rest of urban Canada will strive to look like.

First public information session: Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jean-Talon building, 170 Tunney’s Pasture Drive.

Update on August 21: Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has some info related to this project on their Tunney’s Pasture Master Plan website.

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