2013 Year in Review

At the end of each and every year as your Councillor, I like to look back on the year and provide a review of which issues were in the news and what occurred locally as well.  2013 was a busy year where major projects moved forward and some issues came to the forefront that weren’t on the radar in the previous year.

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The two biggest issues in recent memory took major steps forward this past year.  The LRT plan that was originally conceived in 2007 finally broke ground this year with the tunnelling commencing under Queen Street.  Major property acquisitions were completed for the future Blair Road to Tunney’s Pasture rail line that was awarded to an internationally experienced consortium headed by ACS Infrastructure, EllisDon & SNC Lavalin.  The other major project that is now moving closer to completion is the Lansdowne Park redevelopment.  The stadium and commercial projects are well under way and the urban park has begun its development as well, with the contract being awarded to a local company: D&G Landscaping.  2014 will see the completion of the stadium and the introduction of two new sports franchises: the Ottawa RedBlacks of the CFL and the Ottawa Fury of the NASL.  It was also recently announced that the new Lansdowne Stadium will play host to an outdoor NHL game in 2017.

In other City-wide issues, City Council approved updates to the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, Cycling Plan & Pedestrian Plan.  These updates included a widening of Old Richmond Road between West Hunt Club and Hope Side Road.  That project will include roundabouts at West Hunt Club, Stonehaven & Hope Side Road, eliminating the temporary Tomlinson access that was built this fall.  The Official Plan update ensured that there would be no expansions to any village boundary and that we have an adequate supply of land within our village boundaries for the next ten years.  One change was made in Richmond, however, where the industrial lands at Ottawa Street and Eagleson Road were re-designated to accommodate a mix of residential, commercial and industrial uses rather than 100% industrial.

Some contentious issues in 2013 included the Casino plan, Energy East and Plasco.  City Council made a decision to stick with Rideau-Carleton rather than allowing for an open bid for a casino anywhere in the City.  Many residents were quite vocal about either no new casino or leaving the slots at the racetrack alone.  Only a handful of residents actually wanted a new casino in Ottawa.  TransCanada came forward with plans to convert one of the already existing gas pipelines that run through Rideau-Goulbourn into an oil pipeline.  They held a couple of open houses on their Energy East project and I expect more consultation to occur in the future as this project likely won’t occur until 2017 at the earliest.  As for Plasco, we’re still waiting for that project to get up and running and I remain cautiously optimistic that it will all work out.  If it does, we’ll have a strong solution for our waste long-term and if it doesn’t, we only lose time and it will be back to the drawing board.  We’ll have a better idea of what will happen by the end of 2014.

On a more local note, 2013 saw the resurfacing of Ormrod Road and parts of Rothbourne Road, Flewellyn Road, Ashton Station Road, King Street and Ottawa Street.  We had strong community engagement on two development proposals in Richmond and Stittsville.  These two major development applications will continue forward in 2014 and I’ll continue to work to ensure that they fit in with their surrounding and don’t detract from the existing community.  We also held consultations on the Carp Road Widening, the Carp Road Snow Disposal Facility and the Taggart quarry application for the property at Jinkinson & Fernbank.

After receiving approval from the Ministry of the Environment for the Highway 7 Service Road late in 2012, staff continued to work on design for the long awaited project to reconnect Country Club Village to Jinkinson Road.  2014 will see the City work to address the conditions of approval with the intent of constructing the new road in 2015.  The Fernbank Road/Shea Road roundabout saw preliminary construction begin at the end of this year and that project should be completed within 2014 providing safer conditions for vehicles at that highly used intersection.

I was also pleased to see some smaller projects completed in 2013.  Fallowfield Village saw the installation of new community signage as well as a new gateway feature at the corner of Fallowfield Road and Steeple Hill Crescent, across from Fallowfield United Church.  The Munster Community Association raised funds to replace their community board near the Mac’s Convenience Store.  The new sign was installed this fall and looks fantastic.  Also, in response to community concerns regarding pedestrian safety along Fowler Street, the City of Ottawa provided a paved shoulder between Strachan Street and St. Philip’s Catholic Church.

We also saw some repairs made to McCordick Road, Pollock Road & Pierce Road, extending the need for full reconstruction.  Three intersections were improved in Manotick with the long-awaited Van Vliet extension, the new set of lights at Dickinson Street & Bridge Street as well as the new lane configuration at Manotick Main Street & Bridge Street.  All of these improvements were focused on making it easier for our residents to get around the village in addition to improving pedestrian safety.  With the construction of Orchard View on the Rideau occurring as well, I want to thank all residents for their patience in 2013 as all of these projects caused some delays along Bridge Street.

2013 also saw much progress with regard to the properties within Dickinson Square.  After much public consultation throughout the year, I presented the results of the Request for Offers in December which highlighted plans for a new seniors residence at 1125 Clapp Lane, a Christmas store at 1131 Mill Street and a new Remembrance Park at 1118 Bridge Street.  Dickinson House and the Carriage Shed remain in City ownership and will continue that way through 2014.

This past year also saw much progress in the Mahogany development in Manotick, including the grand opening of Minto’s design centre, the latest CHEO Dream Home and the opening of Major W. Ross Chamberlain Park.  All of these things bring more traffic through the village, of course, and adds pressure to our arterial roads.  That is why I was very happy to see progress on the Greenbank Re-Alignment Environmental Assessment which is looking at how we can improve the intersections of Prince of Wales Drive/Bankfield Road, Greenbank Road/Prince of Wales Drive as well as First Line Road/Bankfield Road.  We should have the results of this study in 2014.

In terms of local issues affecting the southern communities of Rideau-Goulbourn, 2013 finally saw improvements to the old Rideau Correctional Facility, near Burritt’s Rapids, in the form of demolition. The intention for the property is to return it to active farm land.  Across the street from that site sits Crown land that has been the subject of an Algonquin land claim.  Although it has nothing to do with any municipality, be it the City of Ottawa or North Grenville, the Federal and Provincial Governments have been negotiating a settlement with the Algonquins of Ontario on a land claim that essentially covers all of Eastern Ontario.  The claim involves the transfer of 117,500 acres of Crown lands to Algonquin ownership.  Properties in Ottawa are limited to a few small parcels but do include a large piece of land between Donnelly Drive and the Rideau River directly across from the old Correctional Facility.  The likely settlement will not occur for a few more years.  More information on the Algonquin land claim is available at www.ontario.ca/aboriginal/algonquin-land-claim.

In Burritt’s Rapids, you may have also noticed plenty of traffic coming in and out of a long laneway at 4639 Donnelly Drive.  This was due to the construction of the Burritt’s Rapids Solar Energy Project.  The project is a joint venture between 3G Energy and Canadian Solar Solutions.  This 7MW ground-mount solar project sits on 51 acres situated behind the tree line.  This project was acquired by TransCanada in October 2013.

Thank you for taking the time to read my year in review report for Rideau-Goulbourn.  It is has been a great honour to represent you for the last three years and I look forward to completing my term in office in 2014.  Happy New Year!

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.