NOTEBOOK: Potter’s Key, city budget, pipeline, CRRP

Notebook

TRAFFIC’S KEY FOR MINTO PLAN
City planner Patricia McCann-MacMillan sent out an atypically frank email to residents who submitted comments on Minto’s proposed Potter’s Key development.  The email summarized what’s next for Minto and the City.

Of particular interest was this paragraph:

“Minto will look at my summary of your comments and those from the internal and external agencies, consider them, and where appropriate revise their reports studies and plans. After that they will meet back with City staff to discuss. Staff will only draft a Delegated Approval Authority Report when we are in a position to support the proposal. This report is normally signed by my Manager. Councillor Qadri is advising that he is considering pulling this approval authority away from my Manager. If so, the report and all the draft plan of subdivision conditions will go before the City’s Planning Committee for a recommendation to Council. The recommendation will either be to approve or refuse the application.”

Councillor Shad Qadri’s biggest concern is traffic, and he’s asked Minto to commission a new study.   Qadri and residents would like a road connection between the new community to Hazeldean Road, but staff don’t think it’s needed.

It’s rare for a councillor to take delegated authority away from planning staff on a draft plan of subdivision.  If Qadri goes through with it, he’ll have to convince his council colleagues to vote against the advice of planning staff.

“In the case of Potter’s Key, the development is in conformance with the Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan, and can be serviced by the available road network. No additional link to Hazeldean is required,” said the city in an email attributed to David Wise in the city’s planning and growth management department.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming weeks.

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CITY BUDGET
We’re still poring over more than 20 lengthy documents that make up the draft budget tabled today at City Hall.  It’s incredibly detailed in some parts and frustratingly vague in others. The most significant item we’ve found for Stittsville is the inclusion of $400,000 for a skateboard/BMX park, but not until 2018.

Also, the early, early 92 from Terry Fox to Stittsville at 6:47am is to be cut, affecting five riders. It’s part of an effort to eliminate early-morning and late-night trips to save half a million dollars next year.

We’ve asked Councillor Qadri for his take on the budget and will report back soon.

It was nice to see Councillor Marianne Wilkinson (Kanata North) call out pedestrian safety as a budget priority in an interview with the Citizen this week, in particular the lack of a pedestrian link from Stittsville to Tanger Outlets:

“There are safety issues that need to be addressed, e.g. the Huntmar bridge over the 417 is closed to pedestrians, so there is no way to cross to jobs at the Tanger Outlet Mall or to go to Canadian Tire Centre either by foot or to do so safely on bicycles. People still cross as they have no other choice. Major safety issues like that need to be addressed. We also need to look after lands we own – the hydro corridor through Morgan’s Grant is city-owned land, but staff say they don’t have a budget to even cut the weeds (including loads of poison parsnip) except for a three-foot strip along the pathway there. Maintenance of parks, roads, sidewalks and pathways needs to be improved. Issues along Campeau Drive where pedestrians and cyclists interconnect needs addressing as soon as possible (it is one of the council priorities).”

Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be much in the draft budget to address any of these.

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ENERGY EAST PIPELINE
Nathalie Guay and Jon Pitcher from TransCanada provided an update to the Stittsville Village Association on Thursday evening. Guay said that the City has a working group on the file that’s expected to provide a report to the City’s Environment Committee early next year.

The City doesn’t have any legal role in approving the pipeline project, but Councillor Qadri has said that he believes the community should be compensated for having a potentially dangerous piece of infrastructure nearby.  The pipeline would run just west of West Ridge.

TransCanada is hosting a “Safety and Emergency Response Information Day” on December 9 in Carp at the Carp Fairgrounds from 4:00pm-8:00pm.  They’ll be showing off some of their emergency preparedness tools.

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CARP RIVER WHISTLEBLOWER WINS ARBITRATION
Recommended reading from David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizen: City ordered to rehire whistle-blowing engineer, with two years of back pay, after wrongful firing (paywall).  The engineer is Ted Cooper, who pointed out some rather serious mistakes in flood studies done on the Carp River in our area.

By the way, we’re still waiting to hear when council will get an update on the Carp River Restoration Plan.  Preliminary work has already started, but neither the City nor the Kanata West Owners Group, who are splitting the cost, have publicly announced the name of the contractor.

One thing councillors might want to hear about, given that it’s budget time, is that the cost of the project has ballooned to $17.9-million from an original estimate of $5-million in 2006. The city pays for about a third of that cost.

UPDATE (Friday, Nov 13): We heard back from the City today.  Council will get a formal update sometime this month.  The name of the company that won the contract for the CRRP work can’t be announced until council gets the update.


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