Mayor Jim Watson says he doesn’t want to repeat the mistake other cities have made by leaving Ottawa’s NHL arena vacant when the team moves into a new downtown rink.
Watson, who’s preparing to take a seat at the negotiating table to hash out details of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment, said Tuesday the future of the Canadian Tire Centre (CTC) in Kanata must be considered before the Senators move to a new arena.
The worst case scenario, according to Watson?
“That it remains vacant and empty and no activity happens there for years and years.”
In September Senators president Tom Anselmi said the organization hadn’t settled on a plan for the CTC after the team moves out. Watson said Tuesday as far as he knows, there still isn’t one.
“My concern is that [the Senators] would move ahead with LeBreton and tie up that land, that very important piece of property for the west end, tie it up for years by doing nothing with it.” – Kanata North Councillor Allan Hubley
The article is about how a sidewalk project for Chimo Drive in Kanata South has been cancelled because some homeowners complained to their councillor Allan Hubley about it.
I am absolutely appalled that politics is getting in the way of pedestrian safety. There are residents on several streets in Stittsville that are clamouring for sidewalks, and I really can’t understand the mindset of these Kanata residents who complained. The councillor’s justifications for cancelling the project just don’t make sense.
Let’s break down the article and arguments: (Text in italics is from the original Kanata Kourier-Standard article.)
Of the 28 affected homes that would see a sidewalk take up a portion of the city’s right-of-way at the foot of their front yards, 18 homeowners contacted Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley’s office to oppose it. Only three said they were in favour.
“I’m not going to build something to satisfy three people,” said the councillor in a phone interview. “I was not pro or against the sidewalk. I was going to do what the majority of them wanted.”
I appreciate a councillor wanting to appear like he’s listening and reacting to residents. A better response might have been: “Politicians need to do the right thing, which may not always be the most popular thing. Let’s talk about why we need this sidewalk on your street.”
(Also: Opposition from 18 of 28 homes is a slim majority of just 64%. Not exactly a strong consensus.)
Moore’s eldest child Annaka, 12, walks to Katimavik Elementary School and delivers the Kourier-Standard to her neighbours. “
In summer it’s not really that bad because you can go onto the grass a few neighbours down. But in winter, the snow piles up and you can either walk in the snow … (or) walk beside it,” on the road, she said.
Moore said she’s seen plenty of fender-benders and near misses on Chimo, which has a bend on a hill and a stop sign that some drivers ignore. Flex stakes in the middle of the road, used to reduce speeds, cause drivers to crowd the side of the road.
“I think, at some point, a child is going to get hit and killed,” she said.
Pedestrian safety, she said, should trump losing a portion of driveway.
Jen Moore is absolutely right. I wonder how many of the dissenting homeowners have kids, or are seniors, or have mobility issues? The City should be prioritizing equitable options for everyone, whether they have a car or not.
Another thing: The portion of driveway that homeowners are losing is part of a municipal right-of-way. The City has every right to build a sidewalk, even if a few homeowners object.
Chimo Drive is classified by the city as a collector road, yet has no sidewalk on either side.
According to the city’s website, “Collector roads require a sidewalk on both sides of the roadway. The requirement becomes increasingly important when the corridor is a public transit route, leads directly to public transit, fronts onto schools, parks, community facilities and/or leads directly to these amenities.”
The Katimavik transit corridor, Katimavik elementary school, as well as at least five parks, are all accessed from Chimo. The road also leads directly to a number of other parks and the Kanata Leisure Centre.
Not every street needs a sidewalk, but clearly sidewalks on Chimo would benefit residents who live on the road and the surrounding streets. It should have had sidewalks when it was built in the 80’s. This project is a chance to fix that blunder.
Hubley acknowledged in his letter that pedestrian safety is an issue and people should instead be using the pathway system that runs near Cattail Creek Park.
“Safety concerns are still very real for pedestrians along Chimo Drive,” he wrote. “Please continue to encourage others to use the pathway network and we will work with you to try to address the speeding along Chimo with you.”
The pathway is a big reason many residents opposed the sidewalk.
“The feedback from the majority of residents was that they did not want that sidewalk there because they have a pathway,” said Hubley. “They saw this as a waste of tax dollars, duplicating the pathway. You can actually see the pathway from the street. It’s very close.”
The councillor’s argument really falls apart when he suggests that the recreation pathways are a good alternative to sidewalks. The walking distance is longer, the lighting is poor, and people still have to walk on the road to reach the paths!
The paths also offer safer walking conditions, particularly in inclement weather, said the councillor.
“When the roads are slippery, for example, cars can slide up on the sidewalks,” he said. “It’s not the safest place to have people walk, certainly not like the pathway. The pathway is as safe as it gets.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Sidewalks are not safe for pedestrians. I guess it’s best if we all stay inside, unless we’re safely enclosed by a car.
On Thursday September 15th my office in conjunction with Councillor Marianne Wilkinson and Councillor Allan Hubley are holding a Budget 2017 public information session. The session will begin at 7:00 p.m. upstairs in the Kanata Recreation Complex 100 Charlie Rogers Place (formerly Walter Baker Place). The purpose of the public session is a part of our ongoing efforts to increase public understanding and engagement around the municipal budget.
The budget is the blueprint that defines how the City resources are collected and allocated. The overall budget comprises two main components – the Operating Budget and the Capital Budget. During development of the operating and capital budgets, Council has some flexibility for reallocating or reprioritizing funds between programs and services to address emerging issues. Given these limits on discretion and the financial realities of limiting tax increases to residents, it is difficult to address all these issues or to implement significant changes from year to year. Therefore it is important that we hear from you so that we may engage as your city representatives in the 2017 budget process going forward.
I do hope that you can make the time to participate and provide your input. Should you be unable to attend the September 15th session and would like to learn more about the budget process you can visit the City website here .
This year there is new tax tool that has been developed for residents to use to figure how a dollar of taxes shifted will and does have implications on the budget. You can visit here for details.
I also welcome you to share your comments and suggestion by sending me an email (Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca).
West end business leaders say that Kanata’s poor transit service is hindering their ability to attract talented employees, and they’re asking the mayor to extend light rail to Kanata before 2031.
Earlier this month the Kanata North BIA sent a letter to Mayor Jim Watson, co-signed by other business associations, west end politicians, and a bevy of business executives including Sir Terence Matthews. (There are nearly four pages of signatures attached to the end of the letter, which you can read below.) Continue reading →
(from Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley’s weekly column)
Many residents have expressed concern for the Senators moving from Kanata as part of the Lebreton proposals. I have shared your concern and ideas with both parties involved in the revitalization of Lebreton and will continue to work with my fellow west end councillors to do whatever possible to protect the jobs and businesses that currently depend on the Senators.
If we cannot convince the Sens to stay as our first priority, then we must ensure there are plans for the area that will provide as much or even more of an economic boost to our community. We also need to help whoever will develop the area next to ensure that when the Sens leave and when the next attraction is in place, that the gap is a small as possible.
I encourage everyone to keep in mind that Kanata Stittsville is the number two employment area in the city and over the past six years either first or second as the fastest growing area of the city and that is not because of the Sens, it is because we have built the best place to live, work, play and that is why you and I are proud to make this community our home.
(Above: A heron and ducks swim along the Carp River between Hazeldean and Maple Grove. This photo looks north towards Maple Grove from the Hazeldean Road Bridge.)
After years of delay, restoration of the Carp River in Kanata and Stittsville will start this fall, but some observers say the planned recreational paths will be prone to excessive flooding.
Erwin Dreessen of Ottawa’s Greenspace Alliance is one of several people in the community who’ve been keeping a close eye on development around the river.
“The design would see those pathways flooded with a two-year storm,” he says. “It’s not in accordance with what one expect with responsible government to approve… I find this very disturbing.”
A contract to carry out the work — a project known as the Carp River Restoration Plan (CRRP) — will be awarded on September 11 and construction is expected to start shortly after that. It covers 5.2km of river from Hazeldean Road to north of Richardson Side Road.
The City of Ottawa, along with the Kanata West Owners Group (KWOG)has been developing the plan since 2000. It’s the blueprint for an engineering project that would alter the existing Carp River to reduce flooding during spring runoff and heavy rainfalls and allow for more nearby development in what for years was considered a floodplain.
The first phase of the work (from the 417 to Richardson Side Road) is expected to be complete in fall 2016 and future phases (from the Queensway south to Hazeldean) will be done by the end of 2017.
In 2006 the total price tag was estimated at $5-million. The most recent estimate, based on a preliminary design, is $14.8-million, according to the City. The final price tag won’t be known until the tender process is complete.
THE START OF THE WORK THIS FALL WILL FOLLOW YEARS OF STUDIES, CONSULTATION AND CONTROVERSY. The final design that was tendered by KWOG earlier this summer went through the scrutiny of a variety of governments departments and agencies from the municipal to the federal level.
“We’ve actually been through many years of very rigorous approvals. The approvals that we have, we have them from the City, from Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and even the Ministry of Transportation just to go under the freeway bridge… This has taken many many years to get the point we’re at now.” said Kathleen Willis, the project manager for KWOG.
What Dreesen and others are concerned about are the flood elevation levels. Early plans called for recreational pathways at a 1:100 year flood elevation. As the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authorityexplains: “A 1:100 year flood is a major flood that risks causing serious damage to people and property. These major floods have a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. To compare, a 50 year flood has a 2% chance of occurring in any given year. Simply because a major flood occurs does not mean that it cannot re-occur the next year.”
Just a few centimetres change to the elevation, up or down, can have a large effect on the possibility of flooding.
Now, some sections of the remaining pathway are planned at a 1:2 to 1:10 elevation, meaning that there’s a 10-50% chance of flooding in any year. That could mean the Carp River would overflow its banks and cover the pathways with anywhere from 30-100 centimeters of fast-moving water. (One report suggested that signs warning of the possibility of flooding could be put up along the path to mitigate the safety risk.)
Besides the safety factor, there’s also the clean-up. Every time the Carp floods the pathway — a 1-in-2 chance of happening each year — there will likely be clean-up required to get rid of the mud and debris that the river leaves behind.
There have been other tweaks since the last time the public was consulted on the plan during an environmental assessment in 2010, including skinnier pathways (from 4 meters down to 3), changes to fish habitat ponds, and the elimination of two pedestrian bridges over the mighty Carp.
“The current design approach is to build the pathways at grade to the river between the 1:2 and 1:10 year elevations. The final elevation of the pathway system will be in accordance with Provincial standards and City requirements,” the City said in an email attributed to Don Herweyer, Manager of Development Review.
“Each project is unique in the context of the Carp River and other situations across the City – recreational pathways are set at different elevations. In the case of the Carp River the proposed elevation of the pathway is the most appropriate design solution,” he wrote.
Just last year, the City spent about $400,000 in nearby Glen Cairn to elevate the pathways in Ravine Park to 1:25 year flood levels. That ravine feeds into the Carp River close to Terry Fox Road.
The Hazeldean Road bridge over the river was completed in 2011 with pathways underneath built to at least a 1:10 year flood level.
Besides concerned citizens, at least one Ministry of Environment engineer has asked questions about the plan.
“Will the proposed pathway meet the City’s risk management policy with respect to parks and recreational facilities? Will the pedestrian pathway conform to the City’s risk management policy for stormwater conveyance infrastructure?” wrote Charles Goulet in a March 2014 email obtained via a freedom of information request. “…The mix of flooding waters and children is a dangerous one.”
WE CONTACTED THREE COUNCILLORS with wards that include parts of the Carp River, and asked them if they had concerns about flooding on the pathways.
“I do not have significant concerns with the pathway elevations,” wrote Stittsville councillor Shad Qadri. “Yes, there will be times when there is significant rainfall that the pathway may flood, however that is often the case with parks and pathways in other areas of the city. In those cases residents exercise caution or avoid the area until it has dried.”
“I discussed the elevation of the pathways with staff last year and found out that they could not be higher as they need to have clearance under the Campeau Road bridge that will cross the Carp and it would be both difficult and expensive to raise the bridge higher due to soft soils in the area,” wrote Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson. “Temporary flooding of pathways is common – for example the paths along the Beaver Pond in Kanata North sometimes flood but they soon drain off and paths along the Ottawa River in West Ottawa do the same during the spring runoff.”
“Ravine (Park) is more than recreational as it links over 2,000 people to their only bus stop on Eagleson,” wrote Kanata South councillor Allan Hubley. “We also had significant erosion of private property issues that had to be dealt with thanks to a bad design in 2003. Unless there is special circumstances such as just provided, there is no reason for taxpayers to pay for the higher design level. The new pathway from Cope to Eagleson for example would be at same lower level.”
THE PATHWAY PLANS ARE JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG when it comes to issues with the CRRP, according to Dreesen. He’s concerned with many aspects that he’s seen over the years, often uncovered through freedom of information requests.
“There’s so many things that have been done the wrong way throughout this whole saga,” says Dreesen. “We see flooding problems, we see a river that’s been badly abused, and we see it all seemingly motivated by a desire on the part of the development community to gain more land.”
“Eventually nature will give its answer. Let’s hope there’s no loss of life,” he says.
Councillor Shad Qadri says he fully supports a motion put forward by fellow councillor Allan Hubley to look at extending light rail transit past Bayshore before 2031.
Under the city’s current transportation master plan (TMP), light rail transit (LRT) for areas west of Bayshore like Kanata and Stittsville isn’t under consideration until after 2031.
Hubley’s motion, presented at Monday’s FEDCO (Finance and Economic Development Committee) meeting at City Hall, asks staff to at least study the cost and feasibility of extending LRT to the west end prior to 2031.
“We are in the fastest growing part of the City and it only makes sense to be included in the discussion,” wrote Qadri in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca. “Especially when you consider that we house one of the largest tenants in the City, the Canadian Tire Center. Having LRT sooner may encourage the CTC to stay where it is.”
“I think there could be significant savings found from what we’ve done to date that will help move this forward. As we heard today from the airport there’s partners out there that want to work with us on this,” said Hubley in an interview on CFRA.
(Ottawa airport officials indicated this week they may be able to help fund an LRT extension that would serve the facility.)
“Many of this around this council table have a vision of mass transit across the city, Orleans to Kanata, all the way south,” said Hubley.
“In his remarks of thanks and closing to committee yesterday Councillor Hubley recognized and confirmed our focus and partnership as west end councillors in our joint efforts on both the Transit and Transportation committee to improve transportation for our communities going forward,” wrote Qadri.
Hubley’s motion was approved unanimously by FEDCO members, and will be considered by city council next week.
Why can’t snow be cleared from the sidewalk on the Eagleson Road overpass?
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the City of Ottawa are both blaming each other for what’s become a very dangerous situation for pedestrians who use the bridge that connects Kanata North and Kanata South.
We asked city councillor Marianne Wilkinson and the MTO about a few of the issues. Their responses are collected below.
The sidewalk on the Eagleson Queensway overpass in Kanata is closed for the rest of winter because it’s too narrow for sidewalks to plow the snow.
That’s right, the same bridge that just re-opened after months of repairs, the same bridge that is right next to the Eagleson OC Transpo Transitway stop, is now closed to pedestrians until the snow melts. Continue reading →
Here’s an idea that we hope sticks: Kanata South councillor Allan Hubley is working to launch a community sugar bush near Bridlewood, according to the OttawaCommunityNews.
There’s a protected parkland area in Monahan Landing (off Hope Side Road) with 150 sugar maples that could be tapped for fresh maple syrup. The project would be funded through a combination of residential development charges and fundraising. It could open in 2016 or sooner, depending on how much money is raised.