Review of the Final 2016 Council Meeting

I want to begin this week by acknowledging the unfortunate incident that took place on Bridge Street late last week. Without knowing all of the details, I’ll refrain from speculation but assure you that I will be working with the City and Ottawa Police to determine what happened and how such an incident could have been avoided. My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this incident.

5721-5741 Manotick Main Street

During the review of the Manotick Secondary Plan, I hosted a meeting to speak specifically about vacant lands throughout the village and how those lands could be developed. It was an opportunity for the community to determine the future of these lands rather than waiting for a developer to come in and do it for us. One such property that was discussed was the vacant parcels at the south end of the village, directly across from Century Road East, sandwiched in between Kelly Marie Drive and Island View Drive. These lands are 5721, 5731 and 5741 Manotick Main Street.

Following our meeting on January 22nd, 2015, Regional Group begun acquiring these parcels and put together a development proposal akin to their eQuinelle project in Kemptville and similar in nature to their Village Walk development in Manotick. While I briefly highlighted this proposal at my November 15th Town Hall meeting, there will also be a public meeting held on Thursday, January 19th, between 7:00pm and 9:00pm at the Manotick Arena to discuss this proposal. I hope to see you there. For more information about this proposal, please visit www.ottawa.ca/devapps.

December 14th Council Meeting

The final City Council meeting of 2016 was a busy one. In addition to the 2017 Budget, we had 46 items on the agenda. Eighteen of those items rose directly from the November 24th meeting of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. While the main items were the Budget and the Land Evaluation & Area Review (LEAR), Council also approved a new Medical Centre project in Richmond and a bid to host the 2021 Canada Games.

I would like to focus on the approval of the LEAR, though, in follow up to some recent columns on the matter. As part of 17 motions that were approved on the LEAR at Council, some minor changes, additions and deletions were made. We approved further studies into some lands around the village of Munster. We approved an expansion of the employment area south of Fallowfield Road along Moodie Drive. We also approved something else, though, that I voted against. It was a redesignation of 5504 Spratt Road from Agricultural Resource to General Rural.

5504 Spratt Road is the property directly behind the Tim Horton’s at the corner of Mitch Owens and River Road. It is a 66 acre parcel currently used primarily as pasture lands. However, it was subject to an Official Plan Amendment application several years ago which sought to bring the property inside the Manotick village boundary. Following that, a large commercial development would have been applied for. At the time, the City was opposed and the application was eventually withdrawn. A big-box retail development on the outskirts of a village is not consistent with any City policy. Another key factor at the time was the Agricultural zoning of the property.

Through the LEAR, however, the property owner brought forward a soils evaluation that suggests the property falls below the threshold for agricultural designation. Working in favour of that position is the fact that the property is surrounded primarily by residential development and is also used as pasture lands rather than for crops. Ironically, the residential lands north of this property were actually better farmland. Since the study supported a lower LEAR score, staff brought forward a change is designation for this property, which was approved.

Any development, aside from a couple of severances, on this property in the short term is unlikely. Policies are still in place that would not support retail or large scale residential on this property. My vote in opposition to this change was primarily for historical reasons. I do not approve of how the Official Plan Amendment was sought previously and I feel this is merely another avenue to achieve that goal. A retail development in this location would negatively impact surrounding communities, especially the village core of Manotick.

The LEAR will now go to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval with any changes requested coming back to Council. The Minister has 180 days to respond. An appeal period will then open following Provincial approval with an Ontario Municipal Board hearing process to follow. The LEAR, and the entire Official Plan, will not be completely approved until the OMB hearings take place. The projected timeline for this brings us into 2018.

Messenger Changes

As reported in last week’s Messenger, there will be changes to the frequency. With only two editions monthly, I will do my best to keep residents informed and up to date. I’ll also have to be cognizant of timelines for meetings and ensure that we are giving ample notification. This will place more emphasis on the value of our monthly e-Newsletter as well, which you can sign up for at rideaugoulbourn.ca. We send out our e-Newsletter each month one week before the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting allowing us to highlight the agenda.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca.