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Business leaders call on governments to make downtown Ottawa a 'top priority'

The Ottawa Board of Trade has unveiled a 'roadmap to transformation' for downtown Ottawa, and is calling on all three levels of government to declare the core "their top priority."

Business leaders held a media conference in downtown Ottawa Friday morning to announce a 5-pillar action plan, with the objective of mobilizing all stakeholders to join in building a "roadmap to transformation for our downtown core."

"Downtown Ottawa serves as the heartbeat of our region and has a direct impact on businesses, citizens, and visitors alike," the Ottawa Board of Trade said on Twitter.

"The absence of a focused plan could result in a negative ripple effect on the property tax base and the ability to provide essential services."

The Ottawa Board of Trade wants the city of Ottawa and the Ontario and federal governments to work together on a plan to ensure downtown Ottawa remains a "key driver of economic development and community prosperity."

The 5-pillar action plan for a 'Vibrant and Resilient Downtown' includes:

  • Create affordable, walkable amenity rich communities
  • Flexible and efficient government regulation and approvals
  • Public and private investment in infrastructure
  • Support growth of private and public sector employment
  • Ensure safety and security for employers, residents, tourists

"The time has come for unparalleled collaboration and support from all levels of government and stakeholders. Urgent action is necessary to prevent further deterioration of the downtown core and avoid irreversible consequences," The Ottawa Board of Trade said on Twitter.

Traffic has been slow to return to downtown Ottawa following the COVID-19 pandemic, as the federal government and several businesses move to hybrid work models to allow employees to work from home part time.

"Ottawa is Canada’s capital, and a preferred destination for tourists. It makes sense to involve all levels of government to collaborate on our downtown core," Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said on Twitter. "It’s win-win-win."

Last month, the federal government unveiled plans to dispose of 10 buildings in Ottawa and Gatineau as it looks to reduce its office footprint and shifts to a hybrid work model.

The buildings include the L'Esplanade Laurier east and west towers in downtown Ottawa, the Brooke Claxton Building near Tunney's Pasture and the 1500 Bronson Building and Annex, the former CBC building. Top Stories

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