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Expansion design could effect canal world heritage designation: Friends of Chateau Laurier

City Councillor Mathieu Fleury wants to stop the proposed work, while Mayor Jim Watson hopes to see the project move forward.
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chateau laurier re-do
Day view of the Chateau Laurier from the statue of John By in Major's Hill Park.

The Chateau Laurier expansion project is about to take centre stage once again at Ottawa City Hall, as a motion is coming forward, looking to stop it.

Rideau-Vanier City Councillor Mathieu Fleury wants to put a stop to the proposed project by pulling a heritage permit, which was put in place to allow for the addition. But Mayor Jim Watson is pushing to move the latest design forward, and allow the renovations to take place. 

A local group, Friends of the Chateau Laurier, is backing Fleury's motion, and have even hired to lawyer to help voice their concern at Wednesday's council meeting. 

Co-founder of the group Penny Collenette says more than just the look of the hotel is at stake in the debate. 

"The loss of the views, which is very important for us in terms of that [world heritage] designation from UNESCO of the [Rideau] canal," she explains. "Because if we lose the views around, in the panorama, there is a possibility we could lose that UNESCO world heritage designation."

Collenette adds that when the heritage permit was issued last year, there was a trust placed in the city. 

"'The changes will actually be made -- proper changes,' [said the City of Ottawa] and yet here we are, at the end of three years, five iterations [of the expansion design], and even when you talk to the councillors who probably won't support councillor Fluery's motion, they all say, 'We hate the design,'" says Collenette.

No matter which way the debate goes Wednesday, it's believed that there could be a legal battle over the proposed project.




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