Originally posted February 21, 2006
Westboro is an established community with a long record of stewardship and involvement in community, recreation, and facility development.
Due to recent building development demands and the wish to ensure livable and sustainable environments, Westboro is the subject of, or included in, significant planning exercises by the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission (NCC). The Westboro Beach Land’s concept proposal is a response for public input to the Community Design Plan of the City of Ottawa and centers on the Westboro Beach area specifically the Ottawa River, and Atlantis/Selby lands.
The concept plan addresses the fact that the NCC has indicated that it may eventually seek to allow residential housing on the existing greenspace at Atlantis and Selby Avenues.
Westboro Beach Community Association (WBCA) Vision
The WBCA concept plan proposes an alternate option – the formation of the Westboro Beach Lands, encompassing Westboro Beach on the Ottawa River, a former NCC maintenance yard building and the Atlantis/Selby greenspace. This area is in close proximity to Westboro Village’s main street, is part of the Trans-Canada Trail and is served by the NCC Recreational pathway system and the City’s Transitway system.
It is proposed that the Westboro Beach Lands reflect back to serve today. Acting as a “river museum” it is a prime opportunity to celebrate historical voyageurs on the Ottawa River and the economic contributions of the lumber trade to communities along the River. Westboro Beach originated in the 1880′s as a result of the Skead’s Mill lumber company. The development of this historical riverside community will be highlighted by a series of historical plaques placed strategically throughout the Lands. Visitors will learn about and reflect on, the lives of preceding voyageurs. A revitalized urban forest and naturalized wetlands on Selby Plains will provide pathways for active traveling and points for quiet reflection.
Adding to the theme, the NCC Maintenance Yard will become a “Post” – serving modern voyageurs. The building will support trekkers, cyclists and paddlers by offering shelter, repairs, camaraderie and traveling support. Recreational courses in River based travel and outdoor activities like water safety, kayaking, canoeing, and skiing will support the theme.
The concept proposal is built on a set of principles and presents options for thematically unifying the site, optimizing the natural and existing infrastructure, and creating value for residents of Ottawa and visitors to the Capital. The Westboro Beach Lands option creates a Gateway to the Ottawa River for residents and a Gateway to the National Capital for long-distance trekkers, paddlers and cyclists. It will become an accessible natural site in the centre of the City for active living and appreciation.