Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX:
I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister of Finance, to a decision arrived at by the City Council of Ottawa. My right hon. friend, by referring to that excellent report of the Federal Plan Commission on a general plan for the cities of Ottawa and Hull, which has been laid on the table of the House, may read, at page 118:
In the matter of height regulation, a request was presented early in the work of the Federal Plan Commission to the Municipal Board of Control of Ottawa, recommending that buildings erected in the future within the business district shall not be more than 110 feet from the sidewalk level to the highest point of the building. The Board of Control urged the enactment of this regulation, which was passed and adopted by the City Council under by-law No. 3754, dated June 1, 1914. Certain modifications of this regulation, as shown on the plans and as outlined herein, are now recommended. -
The report adds:
If Ottawa and Hull are to acquire and retain the appearance of the capital city, full precaution must be taken lest commercial buildings reach such a height as to detract from the beauty and importance of its Government buildings. This is true both of the near views and of impressions formed from the first glimpses as one approached the city, either by railway or highway. Already several buildings have been erected on Sparks street which threaten the dominating height of the Parliament Buildings. The dominance may soon be entirely taken by high office buildings on the adjoining blocks, unless steps are taken to limit their height. No need is apparent in Ottawa for buildings higher than nine stories.
My right hon. friend may have noticed in the press a few days ago that an Ottawa resident had applied for the construction of a building on the southeast corner of Rideau and Little Sussex streets. The plans filed for that building showed a building less than the regulation height of 110 feet, but within the last few weeks Mr. Booth-because that is the gentleman who intends to build-for some reason conceived the idea that this building would be more remunerative if it went up two or three stories higher. Accordingly, he made application to the Board of Control of the city of Ottawa to permit this to be done. A remarkable thing
happened. The Board of Control, which had .yielded to the view of the commissioners appointed to draft this report, retraced its steps and amended the by-law which had been passed as a result of the conference between the commission and the Board of Control. It has decided to make a report to the City Council changing the by-law passed at the request of the Federal Plan Commission, and raising the limit of the height of buildings from 110 to 130 feet. It is true that no action has been taken so far on the report of the commission, but I believe that this report has been published under the authority and supervision of the Government, and it .seems to me that the city of Ottawa should be notified that it must not set such a bad example, but that it must carry out the recommendations of the commission and not retrace its steps in such manner as is proposed in the present instance. I wish to draw the attention of the Prime Minister especially to the fact, that Mr. Booth intends to lease a part of that building for Government offices. I am not sure that this is the case, but that is my information. If that is so, there is double reason why the Government should insist that the city of Ottawa should carry out the provisions of the by-law which was based upon the regulations .suggested by the Federal Planning Commission. We are about to reconstruct our Parliament Buildings, and it would be a great pity indeed to do anything which would impair their architectural beauty. The Government is spending enormous sums of money in Ottawa, the capital of the Dominion; the country does not begrudge the spending of that money, but we expect that the city of Ottawa will recognize what is being done for the capital and respect what regulations have been adopted or even suggested by the Federal Plan Commission.