OPL starts evaluation process for 12 possible new central library sites

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STAFF WRITER – The Ottawa Construction News

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has released the list of candidate sites to be evaluated in the search for the best possible location for the new flagship central library.

Twelve sites, both publicly and privately owned, have been identified by the City of Ottawa’s Real Estate Partnerships and Development Office (REPDO). Eight sites were brought forward through the Request for Expressions of Interest process undertaken in the fall of 2015. A technical review identified three additional non-city owned sites plus one city owned site for consideration. A public call-out for properties, conducted in May 2016, did not produce any sites.

The OPL said in its July announcement that “groundbreaking for the Ottawa Central Library is expected in the spring of 2018 with official opening of a new iconic library in 2020.”

The sites to be evaluated are:

• Site bounded by George, Rideau, and Cumberland;

• Site bounded by Daly, Mackenzie King, and Nicholas;

• Site bounded by Slater, Laurier, and Bank;

• Site bounded by Queen, Albert, and Kent;

• Site bounded by Queen, Albert, and Lyon;

• Site bounded by Albert, Slater, and Lyon;

• Mid-block between Slater, Laurier, Bronson, and Bay;

• Site bounded by Confederation Line, Albert, and Commissioner;

• Site bounded by Confederation Line, Albert, and Booth;

• Site bounded by Phase 1 Lebreton Flats Development and Booth;

• Site bounded by Confederation Line, Albert, and Booth; and

• Site bounded by Scott, Trillium Line, and City Centre

OPL says the site evaluation committee, comprised of internal and external resources, will evaluate the candidate sites in August.

Sites will be evaluated against two sets of criteria: one for the OPL stand-alone facility, and the other for the possible OPL-Library and Archives Canada (LAC) joint facility, according to the OPL announcement. An independent fairness commissioner will monitor the process to ensure openness.

There are two criteria lists, an initial screening assessment criteria, followed by “detailed assessment criteria” for sites that meet the minimum results. In the initial assessment, there is a mandatory requirement that the “site allows for the design and development of a facility that is accessible for people with disabilities.”

Site physical attributes and accessibility rank for 80 per cent overall (40 per cent each) for the initial screening, with a 20 per cent ranking for “proximity to the cultural and administrative centre of the city.”

The detailed assessment gives highest rankings to “Opportunities to Contribute to Civic Planning Initiatives and City Building” (and for the joint OPL-LAC option) “Opportunities to Contribute to Civic and National Planning Initiatives and City/Nation Building.”

These overall objectives are broken down to several additional criteria, with a list of encumbrances rounding out the total for the final evaluation. See the detailed criteria at www.ottawaconstructionnews.com/sites.

OPL says a ranked list of sites will be shared with the OPL Board in August as an in-camera agenda item. Due diligence on the short list of sites will be undertaken.

“Recommendations on preferred site(s) will be presented to the board for consideration and approval as part of a larger decision package by the end of the year,” the OPL announcement said. “Council is the final decision making authority on the location of the central library.”

The site evaluation committee

Here are the committee members who will review the 12 sites under consideration:

Site evaluation committee for the OPL stand-alone facility

• Elaine Condos, division manager, central library project, OPL

• Richard Stark, program manager, facilities development, OPL

• John Smit, manager policy development and urban design, City of Ottawa

• Robin Souchen, manager, strategic realty initiatives, City of Ottawa

• David Leinster, partner, The Planning Partnership (external expert)

• James Parakh, manager, urban design, Toronto City Planning (external expert)

• David Gordon, director, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Queen’s University (external expert) Site evaluation committee for the OPL-LAC joint facility

• Serge Corbeil, director general, real property, LAC

• Mario Gasperetti, manager, strategic accommodation, LAC • Elaine Condos, division manager, Central Library Project, OPL

• Richard Stark, program manager, Facilities Development, OPL

• John Smit, manager policy development and urban design, City of Ottawa

• Robin Souchen, manager, strategic realty initiatives, City of Ottawa

• David Leinster, partner, The Planning Partnership (external expert)

• James Parakh, manager, urban design, Toronto City Planning (external expert)

• David Gordon, director, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Queen’s University (external expert) Site Evaluation Facilitator: Deloitte Fairness Commissioner: Peter Woods, Public Sector Company Ltd.

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