Personal Notes on 17 Feb 98 Meeting
The following notes do not summarize the PAC meeting of 17 Feb; rather list a series of points I (Peter Vasdi) gleaned from the meeting (and personal ideas about these points - other opinions and discussion are welcome). After the 17 Feb meeting, Bob Spicer will summarize the minutes of that meeting and make them available. My notes are:
- City may acquire OBE lands on Uplands Dr. to keep them as open space. This is important to that area in that the forest on that land may be kept intact to provide cool moist air on hot summer days and a windbreak and beauty in winter.
- The Twyford area Board of Education lands originally being kept for a high school are considered "surplus" and could be sold for development. If we wish to retain the wooded areas on that land, we could cite the City's "Conservation of Urban Forest in the City" policy.
- Region could widen Hunt Club Rd. to 6 lanes.
- When building beside a river, it is up to the property owner to do a Municipal Environmental Report. The City would use this report to determine the width of the riverbank that should be protected from development (based on wildlife habitat, erosion, etc.). This is a bit like asking the mice to determine how the fridge should be locked. It may be wiser to ask the developer to fund the study, but have the study done by an independent body.
- Bill Royds of the HCCO has produced a list of principles for the Riverside Park neighborhood planning effort. These principles list the foundation requirements upon which the goals of the community can be built. He can do the same for the City to put onto a board and display at the open house on 11 Mar 98.
- The City has a policy to protect significant environment areas. An area is significant if it is the home for "significant" species of plants or wildlife. The point is that McCarthy Woods is significant, but in order for the woods to maintain the wild/plantlife it is significant for, it must be adjacent to enough open space. The wildlife may use the woods to meet certain requirements, but also requires the open space to survive. Without the open space beside the woods, the woods would cease to be "significant" rather quickly. The question then becomes "how much open space is required".
- Just like strips of fat marbled through meat make the meat tender, strips of green space through a city make the city livable. Green and open space maximize the value of a city. Although we could insist that a certain percentage of green space be created per area and type of development - based on an algorithm yet to be developed - if we apply this algorithm to existing open space (especially "significant" open space), then we risk losing the significance in the process.
- The Regional report predicts that the population of the Ottawa area will increase by 30% over the next 25 years. These people will need houses to live in, and the Region suggests that these houses could be built on the open spaces, such as the Southern Corridor. Rather than reacting to this report as a threat to our open spaces, which is the way the report comes across, our (and other community) area should be presented with the fact that our population will increase by 30% (from the existing 11,000 to some 15,000) and it would be up to our community to determine the best way (for us in all respects) that we can accommodate that population. We could build on open spaces; however, we could also increase the allowable density within existing developed spaces and thus retain the green areas and their value. There are many benefits to living closer to each other, if such closeness is gradual and organized cooperatively. City should promote and motivate a healthy approach to intensification rather than accept the developer-oriented norm (which is beneficial to the developer in the short term until the newly built houses are sold) which is to build more cheaply on open land.
- Provincial policy is "you can't expropriate without compensation"; in other words, if our community wants to control the fate of the open lands, we will need to pay for that land. Perhaps we can work together with the City to develop a exchange of money: one example is that if we are allowed to intensify within developed areas, local property owners could sell or rent portions of their property and part of that money could go to pay for retaining the open spaces.
- The NCC will dispose of the Southern Corridor one way or another. Is their intent to: minimize the cost of maintaining that land; or maximize their return on investment for that land? In the past the NCC has made no profit on such sales because those sales have never resulted in full development of the land sold. The NCC sees only 30-40% of the Southern Corridor being developed which limits the resale value of the land. Also, the NCC looks to the national interest (for all Canadians across the country) and therefore would use the money to purchase new lands in the existing Greenbelt, which would protect the Greenbelt.
The formula used by the City to develop (or not) green space in a community varies per community and situation. They do not have an algorithm that relates human requirements (living space vs. open space). If they do come up with an algorithm (which I think they should), then that algorithm should be applied not just to the open spaces about to be developed, but to the entire area including existing development.
- The official "greenbelt" just south of us houses the airport and its future is under the control of the new Airport Authority. That space, for us, is not green. If the Southern Corridor is also developed, then we lose whatever benefit having a greenbelt was intended to have for our part of the city. How many deer can run across a runway safely? We can no longer be that "island in the Greenbelt"; we lose part of our identity and a major asset.
- Airport Authority wants to rezone their border on Hunt Club Rd., including the stand of pines by Hunt Club Place, to commercial from its current industrial zoning. True that both zonings allow development; however the fact that those stand of trees can come down at any moment should concern us. Will they wait until our Neighborhood Plan is complete before proceeding?
- The Region and political organizations don't recognize the whole of the Southern Corridor as a significant biodiverse area. Hawks, bobolinks, and field animals are not significant.
Make the Corridor an asset to City as a whole, by making it easier to city residents elsewhere to access and enjoy the Corridor. City, however, is concerned about cost of facilities this may require. Also, giving too many people access may impact on the significance of the Corridor. The PAC favored keeping this as an option for the future when it can be implemented in a reasonable manner and when funding could become available (and not necessarily from the City).
- Difference of opinion regarding the required width of the buffer open space that should be alongside a forested area in order to maintain the biodiversity of the forest: provincial guidelines call for 300m; City calls for 50m. True width would depend on species and may be somewhere in between.