Ask Pat: 404 Ash St.

noni asks—

hi Patrick, how many stories will 404 ash st have? projected completion date?

That’s an easy one! Four and I don’t know.

The Development Permit came to Council on August 31, 2015, and the details of the building are available starting on page 94 (!) of this 457 page (!) document, although there were slight modifications after to the landscaping because some Councillor whinged about the loss of trees. The building will have 4 stories above ground with a single level of underground parking.

I don’t know how long it will take to build the building, as there are many factors that control that, almost all out of the control of the City. There is heavy equipment on the site right now demolishing the old parking structure (and removing the trees I whinged about), so I suspect that are going to start building soon, but would assume it takes a year or so to build and fit out a building this size?

This does give me an opportunity to point out one of the reasons I wanted to do this Blog, and am so interested in the work we are doing to improve public engagement in the City. So much of how we traditionally share information about important decisions like this is by the way I just pointed out: Council reports buried in weekly .pdf packages counting in the hundreds of pages. Who wants to dig through those to answer a simple question?

In reality, we do many different types of engagement, from kinda-weekly Shaw TV and online-streamed Council meetings (and you all watch those, right? Hi Mom!) to the weekly City Page in the newspaper, and a slightly-dated but still functional website. The City’s “Projects on the Go” page is a little buried, but a great source of info about high-profile projects. We also engage in all kinds of interesting and meaningful consultation (the current OCP update process being a great example of this). But we still have a situation where people can’t easily put their eyes on detailed info they might want.

I don’t propose this Blog will fix that, and I frankly don’t know how to fix it, but the Mayor’s Public Engagement Taskforce is working through various ideas in this direction, and the City is exploring a new Open Data model to make things easier for you to access. So good news ahead, unless no news is good news to you.

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