a peek inside the fishbowl

10 Apr, 2008

Municipal politics makes my head spin

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Ottawa

[please note, this post represents my own views and not those of the Westboro Community Association, of which I am a member.] 

So.

Ottawa has something called a Community Design Plan (CDP). Here it is. It is (in the words of the City of Ottawa) a “Council approved guide to the long-term growth and development of the Richmond-Road/Westboro area. The Community Design Plan provides guidelines for the day-to-day decision-making on land use planning and sets out the community’s priorities for the future.”

Simple enough? Right?

There’s some development slated for 300 Richmond Road at Eden. Right now it’s a car lot. The developer applied to the Committee of Adjustment to build a dense 5-storey mixed use building with two levels of underground parking… basically filling the entire lot.

The developer’s plan was not in accordance what is laid out in the CDP, which is, if you recall, an official guide to development in our area, one that has been approved by Council.

The application was turned down by the CoA. The CoA was of the opinion that the developer’s proposal represented an “overdevelopment of the site in terms of building mass” and failed “to provide adequate buffering to minimize negative impacts on the abutting residential properties.” (You can read the PDF here.)

The developer filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board. That hearing is this morning.

And I am interrupting my life to attend it. Why? It seems ridiculous, but the City is not sending anyone to uphold its own Community Design Plan.

The City of Ottawa needs to stick to their original design plan – one that was developed after more than two years of work by the City, ten different community groups, local property owners, architects and developers. They need to send a message to developers. They need to abide by the Community Design Plan.  

Here’s what the Westboro Community Association has posted about the issue.


3 Responses to "Municipal politics makes my head spin"

1 | Chantal

April 10th, 2008 at 8:22 am

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Good for you for attending!

2 | Peter Miller

April 10th, 2008 at 8:34 am

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You go girl. Whenever I see that it gets to the OMB, I get leery (sp?). The mall down the street used to be an indoor thing and the owner wanted to remove the outer wall and make it more like a plaza I guess. Apparently, some of the store owners wanted more visible and direct access from the parking lot. Anyway, I attended a meeting where the architects wanted to show off their plan. But most of us were angry at this, especially those of us with young kids and the seniors who make up a significant part of the demographic. Our councillor was there as well. So after this, the city rejected their proposal, the developers made an appeal to the OMB (who sit in Toronto I understand) and were successful. My thoughts were that the winters in Toronto are not as severe as Ottawa. So the people on the OMB probably thought, “why not?”

So this was frustrating. However, I must say that they did a great job on the mall, and it gave them a chance to clean it up and make it look a lot nicer.

3 | smothermother

April 12th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

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I could go on and on about the city’s “official development plan.” A huge and hideous development was been approved in Vanier which includes 3 condo towers (25 stories high) and a hundred or so town homes. This will put an influx of almost 800 units in a 10 acre lot. The community tried so hard to battle the developer and the city, but unfortunately this community just didn’t have the money to do it. Our councilor basically rolled over for the developer. Our part of his riding campaigned very hard against him in the election, but unfortunately he was voted back in (not thanks to our part of the riding which he lost terribly in). We went to the CoA meeting (there were about 15 of us), many of us quoting the city plan and how the development went against it. We really feel that the city decided “It’s only Vanier” and passed it with no changes. So much for the voice of the citizen.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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