George Street a step closer to $1M overhaul

Ottawa city councillors want to revamp the ByWard and Parkdale markets, starting with a $1-million overhaul of the George Street Plaza.

The finance and economic development committee signed off on the “revitalization” plan on Tuesday. If approved at council, the ByWard Market’s George Street hub would get new vendor stalls, a “mist feature,” horse fountain, public art and illuminated seating.

When former New York City transit commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan visited the city last week, she said William Street could become a completely pedestrian zone. Councillors debated whether to go a step further and ban cars from the entire market.

Jasna Jennings, executive director of the ByWard Market BIA, said this would not suit shoppers. No one will be lugging Christmas trees or potato sacks on the future light rail transit, she said.

Robert Hupe, a maple syrup producer with stalls at the ByWard Market and Lansdowne Park, agreed. When the market moved from Brewer Park to Lansdowne, which offers paid underground parking, his business dropped by about 40 per cent, he said.

He also urged councillors to encourage more local producers at markets, rather than allowing resellers who undercut vendors.

“You have to find a way to bring the farmers back to ByWard,” he said.

A city staffer said 64 per cent of ByWard Market vendors sell local produce and 36 per cent are resellers, although there was some debate on the definition of “local."

There will be an information session on the George Street Plaza on May 11.

This article originally appeared on on May 3.