NCC Watch

Working to consign the NCC to oblivion

Search string: "roadshow"

Matches found: 7

Monday, April 6, 2015

NCC reveals plans for THE FUTURE

Well, not reveal exactly. But the NCC has big ideas, apparently. 17, in fact. One of them is to refit the War Memorial by the year 2039. So that's something for us all to look forward to. But what will they actually be doing? Possibly finishing a plan with those 17 ideas - a plan they have been working on for more than four years - by fall. The Citizen has the "scoop":

The National War Memorial will celebrate its centennial in 2039. And Kristmanson, chief executive of the National Capital Commission, thinks that provides a splendid opportunity to "redo" Confederation Square to give it the amenities and sight lines to accommodate as many as 30,000 people during national ceremonies.

"That would seem to me to be a major idea that could happen on a major anniversary in the future," Kristmanson said in an interview.

The Confederation Square makeover is one of 17 "big ideas" the NCC expects to include in its long-term Plan for Canada's Capital - the document that will chart the future of the capital region between 2017 and Canada's 200th birthday in 2067.

The plan has been in the works for four years, but has "evolved" since the NCC's programming role migrated to the Department of Canadian Heritage in 2013, Kristmanson said.

It's now focused on the lands for which the NCC is responsible. Kristmanson hopes the 17 big ideas - the number is a reference to 2017, when Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday - will "complete the transformation of the capital into an international-level G7 capital."

The NCC already has a list of about 25 ideas, Kristmanson said, many from the public during nationwide consultations on the Plan for Canada's Capital.

He won't talk about the others yet, but said NCC staff will take the plan to the board of directors in June, looking for authorization to conduct public consultations. If all goes well, the plan could be finalized by the fall.

So, having failed to build to build an international-level G7 capital in the last 50 years, the NCC will finish the job by 2067.

The "nationwide consultations" refer to the NCC Roadshow, which crossed the nation back in 2011.

Citizen: Confederation Square makeover one of 17 'big ideas' in NCC's 50-year capital plan [6 April 2015]
NCC Watch Archive: NCC Roadshow

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Post summary of NCC Roadshow 2011

The National Post sums up the NCC's roadshow:

The National Capital Commission, the planning agency that overseas federal land and hosts national events in the capital region, is on a mission to make the capital more "vibrant" - although its timeline is admittedly long term. The commission's Horizon 2067 plan to re-imagine the capital is pegged to Canada's 200th birthday, a full half-century from today.

[…]The Horizon 2067 plan, which will be approved in the spring of 2013, is so far short on details and tangible proposals.

The commission this fall spent upward of $650,000 crisscrossing the country to hold what Ms. Lemay calls "capital conversations," where Canadians in Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax, Victoria, Edmonton and elsewhere voiced their desires for a future Ottawa. It began with a capital conversation with the aboriginal community, which the commission hopes to better represent in the capital whether through renaming streets after aboriginal leaders or by celebrating the traditions through events.

"The question is," Ms. Lemay said, "Where do we see ourselves in 50 years?"

At the capital conversation in Ottawa, Montreal-born singer-songwriter Florence K suggested dubbing the city "HOTtawa" to give it a sexier image, and former diplomat Stephen Lewis suggested the capital become "one of the great conference centres of the world ... a centrepiece of international gatherings." Canadians also apparently want more bike lanes, "personality," landscape architecture, "pizzazz" and gay bars, according to the commission's "We Asked, You Spoke" webpage, where citizens are asked to give a word or a short phrase to describe their hopes for the capital in 2067.

In its discussion draft, the commission admits the "younger generation thinks less highly of the National Capital" than its older or less-educated counterparts.

"The clear message we got from the younger generation is: 'We want to experience the culture of Canada. We don't necessarily want to see a wooden panel that talks about New Brunswick. We want to live it, we want to taste it, we want to really experience it,' " said Ms. Lemay, adding that suggestions included pop-up restaurants featuring food from a particular province, or adding benches and portable chairs along the canal so people can rest and gather as they wish.

So hold onto your hats - fewer plaques and more portable chairs coming your way by 2067.

Post: Roll out the sidewalks: Horizon 2067 aims to give Ottawa more pizzazz [17 December 2011]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lemay defends NCC roadshow while Museum paves over park

Having conducted a cross-Canada tour to promote their essential wonderfulness and solicit ideas on just what the next century's sharing caring capital will look like, NCC CEO Marie Lemay claims in an interview in the Citizen, against all evidence, that "it is not just about us":

Marie Lemay defended the NCC's decision to consult Canadians across the country on a new plan for the capital, saying reshaping Ottawa for the next 50 years is not a job for a select few. If Canadians are going to embrace the capital as their own, and be inspired by it, then they should have a say in its creation, Lemay said in an interview with the Citizen.

Some believe the NCC could have achieved its goal by staying in Ottawa, but Lemay said the critics are wrong. She says the consultations produced fascinating ideas and insights that will form the basis of a new blueprint including: Ottawa as Canada's face to the world; as a window on the country, representing the Canadian experience and values; as a place to celebrate aboriginal culture and history; and as a vibrant capital that inspires Canadians.

[...]The new plan aims to reshape Ottawa for the next 50 years - to Canada's 200th anniversary.

The NCC hopes to create a "more representative and vibrant" capital that could become "a place of pilgrimage" where Canadians come to experience and learn about the country, she says.

[...]"The next part of the plan - developing the vision, starting to talk about strategies and concepts is going to happen here. The real work starts in January with the folks in this region to really engage them and say, 'Here's everything that we've got, what do we want to do with it? How do you see yourself?' "

Lemay said the big challenge facing the NCC is translate people's ideas into something concrete. When people say they want to see different parts of the country represented in Ottawa or that they want Canadian values represented in the capital, what does it really mean? How best can something like that be done and what form would it take? Some of the ideas could be integrated into NCC programming and activities, but others might entail major physical projects that will need funding to implement.

Meanwhile, down the street, one of the capital's historic national museums will be building surface parking because that's what passes for planning in the sharing caring capital:

People living near Ottawa's newly renovated Museum of Nature are angry over a plan to turn former parkland into a parking lot.

The museum says it needs at least part of its "West Lawn" to accommodate the growing number of visitors.

The lawn was used as a staging area during construction and is now an automated, public parking lot.

While there is a plan to restore some greenspace, neighbours said it's not what they were promised.

"They were all promised a park," said Roshell Bisset, who lives in the neighbourhood.

"That promise should be honoured, and that this is something that would make it much more liveable, and would keep the people living here."

Area councillor Diane Holmes called the situation ironic.

"It's pretty sad that in the nation's capital, we have a museum that was in a parkland, that's a natural museum, and it's now going to be surrounded by asphalt parking lots."

Want to know why no one takes the NCC's plans seriously? Because in downtown Ottawa a federal institution is about to build a surface parking lot around the country's first national museum, the Victoria Memorial Museum, and the NCC is presumably too busy ensuring that Canada's Capital Region is a source of national pride and significance to notice.

Citizen: Lemay defends talks on capital [21 November 2011]
CBC: Museum neighbours angry over parking lot plans [16 November 2011]

Friday, November 11, 2011

82 per cent of Canadians approve of Ottawa's right to exist

The NCC has conducted a motherhood and apple pie survey to help backstop their Horizon 2067 plan and roadshow. From the Citizen:

The poll, commissioned by the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Association of Canadian Studies and carried out by Léger Marketing, found that Ottawa was the most positively perceived major city in Canada, earning an 82-per-cent approval rating.

"In this particular survey, I don't think they're thinking of it politically," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association of Canadian Studies.

"They're thinking of it more esthetically. A lot of people like Ottawa esthetically. They like the Parliament buildings. They think it's a fairly easy city to navigate. They like the museums. They like the historic heritage of the city. Those are the things that people seem to connect with about Ottawa."

Nine per cent of respondents had negative images of Ottawa.

"When people react negatively, it's a function of politics, or they don't think (Ottawa) has a lot of nightlife," Jedwab said. "There may be a tinge of people not thinking it's a great city in the scheme of things. This survey evoked a competitive current. Some may be saying, 'Compared to my city, it's not as great as my city.' "

[…]The survey is part of the review of the NCC's Plan for Canada's Capital. So far, public forums have taken place in Halifax, Quebec City, Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton with upcoming events set for Toronto and Montreal.

According to the survey, 75 per cent of respondents think that Canadians should have a say in the future plans of Canada's capital, and 65 per cent say representing Canada to the world is the most important role that Ottawa plays, followed by representing Canada to Canadians.

Citizen: No joke: Canadians actually like Ottawa, poll finds [11 November 2011]
OpenFile: Is Ottawa the most liked city in Canada? And is Toronto really the most hated? [10 November 2011]
NCC: How Canadians Rate their National Capital [10 November 2011]

Friday, November 4, 2011

NCC roadshow drags on

The Citizen's Joanne Chianello reports on another of the NCC's cross-Canada self-promotion exercises, this time from Edmonton:

The NCC has had five formal meetings in Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax, Victoria and Edmonton to consult with Canadians about what they want to see in their capital.

I've been to three and I can report that the speakers were interesting in a sweeping kind of way, some downright fascinating. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hearing Larry Beasely, the former head planner of Vancouver who headed up that city's intensification effort with spectacular results.

But as I listened to him talk about how Ottawa should become a model for urban planning and "blow up the template for suburbs," it was clear the NCC has virtually no authority over the subjects he touched on.

Beasely knows this because he sits on the NCC's planning advisory board.

The NCC's five key meetings were really high-level urban-planning idea-swapping sessions, attracting urban-planning types. At the Edmonton meeting, the emcee was architect Vivian Manasc (also a member of an NCC advisory committee). During the question-and-answer period, she was able to identify by name most of the individuals who raised their hands.

[...]When the NCC project was launched in September, I predicted that "the citizens of this country will want their capital to be inclusive, sustainable, environmentally sensitive, rich in arts and culture, and vibrant."

I must be brilliant, because that's what I've been hearing at the meetings I've attended. (They also want good public transit, but are satisfied when they discover that light rail is on the way.) Perhaps I could have saved taxpayers $650,000, the two-year price tag for this project.

Sadly, I'm not that prescient. I'm just like everybody else, and pretty much everybody likes inclusivity and sustainability and vibrancy. What they're not so sure about is how to achieve them.

Michael Matthys was also at the Edmonton meeting. The university-age student admitted that most ideas were "more abstract concerns.

"So we want an inclusive capital because that reflects Canadian values, but how that translates into actual planning, I have no idea."

A man after my own heart.

Citizen: Turns out the NCC could have stayed home [4 November 2011]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NCC roadshow: "Honey, I'll be dead in 50 years."

The Citizen goes to Halifax to see how that NCC roadshow is playing in the provinces:

The NCC was in Halifax on Tuesday, the third in its five city tour for Horizon 2067, a visioning exercise to come up with a blueprint for the capital's future. The entire project will cost about $650,000 - including the cross-country trips and the online surveys and all the reports that those entail - and will result in a vision statement in winter 2012.

[…]Sure, the experts who were on the panel spoke eloquently (and some not so eloquently) about wide-ranging urban issues. They suggested that Ottawa - and every city, really - needs to be more vibrant, move to an open-24-hour-a-day schedule, make people feel welcome, be more inclusive, move forward on a sustainable basis, even conserve water.

Other than that last one, I'm starting to lose all sense of what these concepts mean. And I'm not sure the panellists aren't, too.

[…]On one level, I applaud the NCC for trying to engage the rest of Canada in shaping the capital. It's a lovely concept. And probably more Canadians should care about how their capital develops.

But they don't.

Yes, they want it to look good and have nice buildings to visit and for it not to be an embarrassment.

But they don't have specific ideas on how to plan the city because, for one thing, they're not planners. More important, they know, instinctively, that Ottawa is our city. We live here, we shape what daily life is like - and it's not all good - and we pick up most of the tab.

[…]If Ottawa is important to people outside the city, it's because it's the centre of government, and all that that entails. It's not anyone's second home, as the NCC is trying to market it. As one Dalhousie urban planning student said, "I already have a home and it's in northern British Columbia."

Perhaps these sentiments are best described by the gentleman who left his survey on my table after he left during the break. He wrote that "a people place is made by the people who live there, who care for those spaces day in and out."

Citizen: Halifax blasé about NCC [19 October 2011]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NCC roadshow

Roll up, the NCC is taking its mad visioning skillz on the road. Ever eager to promote themselves, the NCC will hold "engagement activities" in several cities across the country in the coming months. From the Citizen:

In coming up with its 50-year plan for the capital - called "Horizon 2067" - the NCC is taking it to the streets (okay, it's taking it to the museums and universities and concert halls) to hear directly from the people about how the national capital can be more inspiring, more inclusive and more vibrant.

Stop rolling those eyes, at least until you've heard the details.

In collaboration with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the NCC is launching "Capital Conversations," a series of discussions led by expert panellists to include the public in the debate about what they want for the nation's capital.

This national chat starts right here on Sept. 27, before heading out to Quebec City, Halifax, Victoria and finishing up in Edmonton in early November.

[…]Panellists will include urban-affairs guru Richard Florida; former politician and diplomat Stephen Lewis; George Hazel, who, among other things, is a British expert on how towns and cities work; and jazz singer-songwriter Florence K.

[…]These "engagement activities" - which include all the events, online activities, logistics, and followup from the consultation - will cost $650,000 over two years.

Now you can start rolling your eyes.

[…]practically speaking, it will likely result in nothing but looseygoosey feel-good ideals that will mean little to the real planning of this city. I can tell you right now that the citizens of this country will want their capital to be inclusive, sustainable, environmentally sensitive, rich in arts and culture, and vibrant.

What else can come from some of the questions the NCC is posing, such as, "How can the national capital be made even more inspiring for all Canadians?" One of the challenges the NCC identifies is "building a capital that is representative of Canada and Canadians." It's a challenge because it's impossible to know what this means.

Of course, nothing useful can possibly come from this exercise - it merely serves to give the appearance of doing something and, more importantly, gets the NCC into the press.

Citizen: NCC to search Canada for a vision for Ottawa [10 September 2011]
NCC: Horizon 2067