Caivan in Richmond, Strandherd/Armstrong Bridge opens

As many of you may already know, the development application by Caivan Developments for 1000 units at 6335 & 6350 Perth Street was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board last fall.  On May 26th, the OMB hearing was scheduled to take place with the City of Ottawa, Caivan and the Richmond Village Association all represented.  Prior to this meeting, however, an agreement was reached with regard to the development application and Draft Plan Approval was granted.  As promised a few weeks ago, I just wanted to detail some of the details of that approval.

One of the key issues from the community standpoint was stormwater and how the new development would handle surface water and not impact the existing community.  One of the conditions of draft plan approval is that Caivan must host a public meeting to explain their approach to handling stormwater on site.  Drainage was another issue and I can now confirm that the Arbuckle Drain has been approved and will provide adequate outlet for the development, between Perth Street and the Jock River.  The drainage works will see erosion controls put in place to prevent future erosion from occurring.  Similarly, the Van Gaal drain to the north of Perth Street will see the same benefits to the development and the surrounding properties.

On the density concerns, Caivan has agreed to a maximum of 750 units on their lands rather than the applied for 1000 units.  Also, the setback from the road to the home will be four metres rather than the three metres originally sought.  This will help keep the development closer in line with the existing community and less like a suburban development.  Some of the benefits of this will include larger lots, more space for trees, less parked cars on the roads and more space for stormwater recharge within individual lots.

I still don’t expect to see any new homes until at least 2016 and I imagine the growth rate will be consistent with what we have seen in Richmond over the last ten years.  The rate has dipped a little recently with only 26 new homes built in 2013.  An ideal comparison would be the Minto development in Manotick, which will see the addition of 1400 homes.  So far, around 30 new homes have been built and construction began in 2012.  While the new homes in Richmond will be a little more affordable, I don’t expect the growth rate to be anywhere similar to suburban development.

The next steps will see Caivan satisfy their conditions of approval whereas I, along with the City, will work with Mattamy Homes to seek similar adjustments to density and other issues with their 1100 unit application.  If you have any questions on this, feel free to contact me.

Strandherd/Armstrong Bridge is open!

As many of you are now aware, the Strandherd/Armstrong Bridge is now open.  With this long-awaited bridge now operational, the real work begins to determine the impacts it has on traffic, both local and regional.  In the coming weeks and months, City staff will be monitoring traffic flows as it will take some time before patterns become regular.  At first many people will try new routes and if they don’t save time, will revert to their old patters.  Obviously, the morning and evening commute is something to keep a close eye on but also the impact on Bridge Street.

Just recently, a traffic count in Manotick showed approximately 16,000 vehicles per day use Bridge Street.  This is largely consistent with all other studies in recent years.  Just less than 10% of the volume is truck traffic.  In the coming weeks, we will get updated numbers to understand the impact of the new bridge and what relief is being seen in Manotick.

Orgaworld & Green Bin Audit

On July 9th, the Auditor General’s report into the Orgaworld contract and the green bin program was released.  It revealed some serious deficiencies in how the program was launched and the agreement that was signed between the City of Ottawa and Orgaworld.  One of the major issues was the proposed tonnage, of which there was no scientific basis for setting the target of 80,000 tonnes of collected organics per year.  Ideally, the program should have had a ramp up period in order to progressively work toward 80,000 tonnes but that wasn’t even considered.  A simple comparison could have been made to the blue box program which didn’t see much uptake initially but now almost every single laneway has a blue box at the end of it.  These types of programs take time and the contract should have reflected that.

It is easy for anyone who wasn’t on Council when the contract was signed to throw up their hands and say “it wasn’t me.”  That is really not an acceptable approach and it is not what you expect from your elected official.  The job we have is to make this better, fix what is wrong with the contract.  The biggest challenge is making the green bin easier to use for all residents.  In my opinion, the key is allowing organic waste to be disposed of in plastic bags and thrown into the bins.  Obviously, this isn’t the current practice but in countless municipalities, they allow plastic bags.  In those same municipalities, the diversion rate is much higher than here in Ottawa.  It is important to note that the inclusion of plastic bags will not result in a reduced organic quality of the compost.  The Orgaworld plant in London, Ontario accepts plastic bags currently and cycles them out inside the plant.  After separation, the plastics are then diverted and used at a local cement plant in Southern Ontario.

For the most part, we all want to prolong the life on our City-owned landfill, which just happens to be in Rideau-Goulbourn.  We cannot, and should not, force people to divert waste; we need to make it easy.  In the coming months, I believe we will have an opportunity to renegotiate the Orgaworld contract and I, along with many of my colleagues, will be pushing for the inclusion of plastic bags in green bins.  This will reduce odours, result in less mess and more importantly, you won’t have to see the maggots that crawl around our bins from time to time.

In the end, the result will be less waste going to the Trail Road landfill, less money being wasted on our inability to reach the contracted targets and, ultimately, a reduced need to locate a future landfill.

Rural Association Partnership Program

If you are an Ottawa organization operating rural fairs, rural farmers’ markets or rural business organizations such as Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Areas, you may be eligible for funding of up to $7,500 through the City of Ottawa’s Rural Association Partnership Program (RAPP).

The second-round of RAPP funding is now available with applications being accepted until Friday, August 22 at 4 pm.

The objectives of the RAPP are:

  • To provide project based funding that supports the main priorities for rural organizations.
  • To contribute to the City’s rural economic health by supporting projects that will assist Ottawa’s rural business organizations, fairs and farmers markets achieve sustainability and capitalize on the proximity to Ottawa’s large urban market.
  • To assist in promoting Ottawa’s rural identity to both residents and tourists.
  • To provide economic benefits to small and medium sized enterprises in Ottawa’s rural communities.
  • Assist rural communities to overcome the business development challenges associated with smaller local population base.
  • To increase the capacity for rural communities to provide a quality visitor experience.

More information, including guidelines and an application form, can be found on the Rural Association Partnership Program webpage at http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/social-services/rural-connections/rural-association-partnership-program.

Prospective RAPP applicants are encouraged to contact the Rural Affairs Office at ruralaffairs@ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 ext. 28352 to discuss their proposal prior to submitting an application.

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If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.