What a week it’s been for the Château Laurier.
Architects have spent three years coming up with plans for an expansion to the iconic hotel in downtown Ottawa, and over the past 48 hours, the criticism has reached its absolute peak.
It all started back in the fall of 2016, however, when hotel owners Larco investments introduced their first plan from Toronto architect Peter Clewes.
The reaction was swift and harsh, which led to four more tries to appease the public. None of them were widely embraced.
This pretty much sums up the sentiment on social media this week.
Some have likened the expansion to an air conditioning unit, while others have called it “jail-like”.
With criticism and ire quite potent, Ottawa city council took two days to review the fifth and final plan.
Ultimately, suburban councillors outnumbered the urban ones who wanted to halt it, giving the plan a thumbs-up in fear of overstepping on the ability for a private property owner to alter their own building.
The city only has the right to prevent heritage buildings from being torn down. No law allows them to restrict additions to existing structures.
The decision, which has now become national news, was met with its fair share of skeptics. Many targeted Mayor Jim Watson.
It is outrageous that this decision was made by a handful of city councillors and a mayor who chose to completely ignore their constituents. Nobody cares what they think – they are there to represent us.
Even comedian Tom Green, an Ottawa native who attended council’s final session on the hotel Thursday, shared his not-so-subtle opinion.
#Ottawa have a look at this design for #ChateauLaurier and call city council and tell them to STOP it! WHY would you design a modern addition that blocks the entire view of the Chateau from the park? This is a beautiful jewel in our city don’t ruin it! https://t.co/OpxHeLOqmk
Now that city council has decided to let the expansion proceed, critics have shifted their focus to federal and provincial officials.
@ec_minister the petition to oppose the current Chateau Laurier extension has been re-directed to the federal and provincial governments and NCC decision makers. 8569 signatures were previously collected, directed at Ottawa City Council. Hope this helps. https://t.co/fR4ce2TsFw
The Château Laurier was declared a national historic site in 1980, so Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna will now be in the spotlight when it comes to the hotel expansion’s next steps.
It is not too late to stop this horrendous addition to the #ChateauLaurier please use all avenues available to intervene. This is a national historic site, surely the Federal government holds some power here. Thank you
This story is far from over, so the CBC’s Kate Porter mapped out what we should expect in the days and months to come.