Notebook

NOTEBOOK: New restaurant on Stittsville Main, OC Transpo suburb service, more

Stittsville Main Street is getting a new restaurant this spring. Kevin Conway and his partner Allison Pearce plan to open a 30-seat restaurant called Jack Ketch at 1536 Stittsville Main Street. Most recently, the building was home to Brown Bear Daycare.

I talked to Conway a couple weeks ago about what they have planned. “A contemporary rustic cosy nook kind of place where people can come and relax,” he said. “Something different for Stittsville – a little bit higher-end.”

The menu will include some French Canadian-inspired dishes and a lot of locally-sourced ingredients. Conway grew up in Stittsville and has worked at a number of restaurants in Toronto and Ottawa.

“I’ve been working for a lot of great chefs, and this opportunity came up to come back home. I’ve been trying to open something in Stittsville for years and years now. ”

The restaurant should open later this spring, and we’ll have a full profile of Conway and the restaurant in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…

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OC TRANSPO’S INTRA-SUBURB SERVICE (OR LACK THEREOF)
My daily commute takes me from Stittsville to Kanata North, near the Brookstreet Hotel.  By car, it’s 15 minutes. By bike, 25 minutes. By bus, at least an hour.

For anyone who’s ever wished for better OC Transpo service between neighbourhoods, don’t hold your breath.  John Manconi, general manager of transportation services for the City of Ottawa, told residents at a public meeting in Kanata last week that the priority is to move passengers from the suburbs to the centre of the city.

“Manconi said commuting within a community is a challenge in many wards and OC Transpo doesn’t have the resources to fix it, saying there’s only so much money in the budget,” reported the Kanata Kourier Standard.

“I’m not going to give you a false impression to say there’s a plan around the corner to make significant investment and improvements in that because it’s simply not on the books…  if you want more local service you need to inform your councillors during the budget process,” he said.

Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson says OC Transpo is pairing up supervisors to ride with a number of Kanata residents over the next few weeks, to monitor bus service.

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Recommended reading from David Reevely in the Ottawa Citizen: “Ottawa’s suburbs are getting a lot denser — but a lot less varied”.

“Ottawa’s suburbs are getting downtown density but without the mix of housing and shopping that usually makes for lively neighbourhoods, according to numbers in a new city report.”

“The suburbs are getting more duplexes and townhouses, smaller detached houses, and even apartments. But there are fewer places to buy milk or headache pills or a birthday card — and still hardly anywhere it’s easy to walk or bike to, which is worrying if we’re at all serious about building a city where you don’t have to drive to do everything… What we aren’t doing is including a lot of things that aren’t houses… Some of the newer neighbourhoods have no retail or commerce, no schools or institutions (like libraries, churches or mosques), nothing in them at all except housing, parks and utilities.”

He quotes Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder:

““The generation that’s moving into the suburbs now is, I mean, it’s the online-shopping generation,” she said. There are still Costcos, heaven knows, but no Future Shops and fewer Best Buys because Amazon has sucked up a lot of the big-box business. The broad trend is toward smaller, Harder believes. “You have to look at the kind of retail you need….  Suburbs like hers have almost no office or industrial jobs, so residents drive in and out. Regardless of what might be nice to have, what customers actually use is driveable stores, not walkable or bikeable ones, Harder said.”

If that trend continues — fewer big box stores — you have to wonder about the future sustainability of the developments along Hazeldean Road.  The trend could also be a boon for Stittsville, where unlike Barrhaven or Kanata we have a traditional main street.

As for walkability, that’s a chicken-and-egg argument. I suspect suburban residents would be just as happy to walk to the store as downtown dwellers. If only we had safe sidewalks, more reliable transit (see above), and didn’t have to traverse acres and acres of parking to get from sidewalk to storefront.

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