This week City Council had the opportunity to debate a motion put forward by Councillor Mathieu Fleury to reconsider the proposed design to the Chateau Laurier addition.
This motion was a very emotional subject for many residents because they were upset that the proposed addition marred this treasured building. The Chateau Laurier is an icon along with the Parliament Buildings. It is part of the signature landscape of our National Capital. It is frustrating that the majority of City Councillors voted in favour of this uninspired addition. Many of these Councillors made comments that they thought the addition was ugly or inappropriate but they still voted for it. I voted to go back to the drawing board on this design. I was aware of the threats of lawsuits but felt that the City should not back down on a piece of property that is key to the City’s identity.
As someone who studied art and design, I understand full well that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Chateau Laurier addition was not a breakthrough in modern art but was more reminiscent of an IKEA style storage box placed behind a treasured piece of furniture. The design will now go ahead and the thousands of residents who voiced their concern on this uninspired addition are left feeling sad and powerless. We as a City need to continue to speak up on our views and ideas for a better Ottawa. If nothing else this is a warning sign to City Council that residents care about the look of their City and will fight back if we do not pay heed. Regardless of the failure of this motion I remain optimistic that we will have a better design for a better Ottawa, because residents do care.