Making new plans for Old Aylmer – Aylmer residents take part in participatory urban planning walk
Aylmer residents contributed to planning the future of Old Aylmer during an exploratory walk organized by the Ville de Gatineau on Saturday, June 11. The walk was the first event in an ongoing series of community consultations that are part of the Ville de Gatineau’s newly-launched Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU). During the walk, Aylmer residents, representatives of the City, and urban planning consultants discussed diverse topics pertinent to the future of Old Aylmer such as the preservation of the neighbourhood’s numerous heritage sites and the integration of contemporary architectural styles alongside older ones. The walk began in Parc des Cèdres and continued on to rue Principale, then down some of the sector’s side streets, such as Parker and Thomas. The group paused at various sites identified by the Urban Planning team to reflect on their history and significance as well as architectural possibilities for the conservation of heritage buildings and the integration of newer projects. Aylmer residents also proposed additional sites of interest throughout the day to be included in the ongoing community consultation and urban planning process.
Saturday’s walk involved representatives from residents’ associations and involved organizations such as the Aylmer Heritage Association (AHA), The Friends of Wychwood, The Friends of the Marina, Jubilee Area Residents Association, and the Association des professionnels, industriels et commerçants du secteur Aylmer (APICA). There were also numerous interested individuals that participated from various occupations and stages of life ranging from energetic elders to university students. There were no representatives from property development businesses present during the walk, although the City’s invitation to those involved in that sector to contribute to the consultations is still open.
In addition to discussing the challenges faced by the neighbourhood alongside potential paths for future development, several participants also remarked on the importance of conserving natural heritage along with heritage buildings, and noted how sustainable development and accessible transportation should be a central element of any future development plan. Discussions were not limited to the larger buildings on rue Principale, but highlighted the importance and historical value of the numerous heritage homes throughout Old Aylmer’s side streets as well.
The walk ended in the Parc Commémoratif with a final reflection and discussion about next steps. While reading the urban reality of Old Aylmer is far from over, the exploratory walk was a first step in a long-term process that will hopefully lead to a plan well-grounded in both the perspectives of a diverse range of Aylmer residents as well as those of the City and its urban planning team (several of whom are themselves residents of Aylmer). Jérémie Maillé-Côté, Project Coordinator and Urban Planner for the Ville de Gatineau, thanked everyone for their participation on behalf of the City, affirming that they had taken this new initiative to better connect with the reality of residents. “One of the most important things for the City is to know what is happening on the ground, to know how everyone really feels about this neighborhood,” he said.
The walk is the first in a series of in-person community consultation events organized by the Ville de Gatineau and it is hoped that all Aylmer residents will take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to planning Old Aylmer’s future. If you missed this consultation, the next event will be a round-table discussion at the Ernest-Lattion community centre (30 Court Street) on Thursday, June 16 at 6 pm. There is also an online platform where any resident can vote and comment on proposals from the City as well as submit their own proposals for discussion. To access the online platform, visit the website at: https://comprendrelevieuxaylmer.cocoriko.org/. To register for the round-table discussion on June 16, visit the Ville de Gatineau website and click “Information and Services” then “Civic Activities”, open the “Public Consultations” page and click “Programme particulier d’urbanisme : réalisons ensemble le portrait du Vieux-Aylmer”, where you can find the link to register under Activity 3.
Caption: Some participants in the exploratory walk in Old Aylmer organized by the Ville de Gatineau discuss the significance of the neighbourhood’s many heritage homes. Photo Credit: Greg Newing