Dome casings

Planning committee approves Orléans sports dome despite local opposition

OTTAWA – The city’s planning committee has approved a controversial sports dome at an Orleans high school despite opposition from neighboring residents and the local councilor.

The plan to build an 18-meter-high dome on the existing soccer field at Garneau High School was passed by the 7-2 planning committee on Thursday evening.

The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Center-Est says the dome will be a new sports hub for Orléans. Planning staff recommended that the proposal go ahead because it complies with zoning and building regulations.

But the local council. Laura Dudas joined residents in expressing their opposition to the plan, calling it “not a normal building” and saying it is too close to homes in the area.

“You walk out into your back yard, you walk out into your front yard, and all you see is a six story canvas,” said Pat Teolis, president of the Chateauneuf Community Association.

The planning committee heard from about two dozen members of the public on Thursday as they reviewed the proposal.

CECCE school counselor Robert Rainboth acknowledged the opposition, but said the dome also enjoys great local support.

“We hear loud and clear that there are people who don’t want a dome,” he said. But he added that more than 1,200 people have expressed support for the proposal.

“We have a lot of support from our side in terms of students, parents, community groups and sports associations.”

The all-season dome would become a hub for sports in the east year-round, which members of the sports community say is essential.

“You are going to have over 300 families and their children will benefit from this year after year,” said Qasim Khan, president of the Orleans Minor Football Association.

In a statement, Theolis said he was disappointed with the decision, but welcomed the “thoughtful” comments from advisers. The proposal was also adopted with some amendments, including a plan for planting additional trees.

“I appreciated that the advisers looked for all the information and many admitted that they struggled with their decision,” he said. “They recognized the negative impact on the community, but concluded that the current City building regulations do not take into account how inflatable domes affect neighboring residences, in our case just 22 meters away.

“I am grateful that in the future the City plans to create appropriate bylaws for domed construction applications.”

In a statement, the school board said it was “delighted” with the committee’s decision.

“The community sports center will be a high-quality, state-of-the-art sports facility that will benefit our students and the entire Orléans community with a year-round facility where they can practice various sports such as football, volleyball -ball, soccer, pickleball, tennis, badminton, walking, running, yoga, etc. Said the board of directors.

City council has yet to approve the plan.

The CECCE says it has an open request for proposals for the dome, and a timeline for the project will be revealed once this process is complete.

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