Cumberland Residents Voice Opposition to Widening Ottawa Road 174 from Trim Road to Rockland

Cumberland residents were out in full force on Tuesday evening, February 5, at the first of three Public Open Houses (Round #1) concerning the Environmental Assessment (EA) Study of Ottawa Road 174 / Prescott-Russell County Road 17. The meeting took place at Maple Hall with over 100 residents in attendance.


The study team presented information on the Environmental Assessment (EA) progress to date and the resulting three options that are being considered for the section of the 174 from Trim to Rockland.

1. Widen the existing 174/17 to 4 lanes
2. Widen Innes Road to Baseline Road
3. New route south of Wilhaven Road to Baseline Road.

All of the many residents who spoke were unanimously supported by attendees in favour of the two options that run to the south of Cumberland Village and avoid widening the 174 as it passes through the historical Village of Cumberland and along the river to Petrie Island. Both of these options require a “connector”, to the 174, which has yet to be determined.

The Cumberland Community Association encourages residents to follow the progress of the EA on the web site http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/ottawa-road-174-presc... and provide written feedback to the EA team.

Marc R. Clermont, P. Eng.
Director of Public Works
United Counties of Prescott and Russell
Phone: 613-675-4661 ext. 3100
E-mail: MClermont@prescott-russell.on.ca

Angela Taylor, P. Eng.
Senior Project Engineer
City of Ottawa
Phone: 613-580-2424 ext. 15210
E-mail: Angela.Taylor@ottawa.ca

Valerie McGirr, P. Eng.
Consultant Project Manager
AECOM
Phone: 613-820-8282 ext. 243
E-mail: Valerie.mcgirr@aecom.com

The final EA Report is expected to be complet at the end of 2014.

Vice President Cumberland Community Association
Chair, 174 Working Group
Euan Swan

Comments and Questions from Jeannie Smith Resident of Cumberland

A new four-lane highway needs to be constructed south of Rockland and Cumberland Village. This “ring road”, which really should become the responsibility of the province, could extend east from Innes Road, or more in the line with future growth east of Wall Road, as this will become an area of dense population and industry over the next fifty years.

No one wants to live adjacent to a super highway that has feeding lanes and overpasses. Many of us have been involved in highway widening discussions since the 1980s assuming that “we’ll believe it when we see it”! Now, a decision has to be made.

My husband and I live on Regional Road 174 on land that has been in my family since 1862. My husband grew up on a farm by the river bordering Canaan Road on land that had been in his family from 1850 to 1957. Both of our families had land expropriated around 1908 for the construction of the Canadian Northern Railway line, then again in 1948 for the construction of the Trans Canada Highway. Property owners were then given entrances across the highway so that we could access the river, or cross our cattle from pastureland to the barn.

During the 1950s and the 1960s, few dwellings other than summer cabins, existed along the river. We were one of the first residents to build a permanent home on cottage property in 1974 and were lucky to have highway access, as the Department of Highways did not grant new laneways onto the “killer strip” from 1952 to 2000. Suddenly, with amalgamation, the City of Ottawa began to issue permits for private laneways onto the highway and were glad to have more tax revenue from large residences that were built to replace ramshackle cottages on riverfront property. Was the City not aware that studies and plans had been conducted to widen the highway?

Questions:
Financial
• Will it not be more cost effective to expropriate vacant land south of Innes Road rather than pay the current real estate value to property owners along the river?
• How much land will need to be expropriated for overpasses at Quigley Hill Road (entrance to Barnett Park), at Cameron Street (access to the ferry) and at Village Boise, Kinsella, McTeer and at Canaan Road (access to McTerr)?
• What are the costs involved in moving the hydro-telephone-cable poles and lines along the highway? Will they be buried underground?
• How do the riverside residents access their properties? Two feeding lanes will have to be built to allow people to access their property on either side of the widened 174.
• Will existing houses be able to sustain added shaking with the increase of more traffic, as well as the imposition of construction noise etc. over a fair period of time?

Environmental:
• What will happen to our wells and septic tank systems that will then be too close to the road?
• How stable is the land, especially at narrow stretches along the shoreline where landslides have previously occurred in 1922 and 1930 west of Cumberland Village and in 1973 just east? How stable is the rock cut near Petrie Island?
• How will the storm drains that draw from south of Cumberland Village into the river be rebuilt? How will you bridge large ravines that exist along the highway?
• Can you justify pouring more rock into the sandy, clay shoreline to provide space for more lanes of traffic?

Social:
• Why further decimate the viable community of Cumberland Village with additional traffic lanes? Will overpasses walkways be built for pedestrian and bicycle traffic?
• What of Heritage? Champlain opened this river highway corridor in 1613. Why not encourage tourism and scenic drives along a river parkway?
• Will an archaeological study ensue? In 1957, my mother and I found a perfectly shaped Indian arrowhead at our shore and in 1962 my father and I discovered fish fossils near our shore and these artefacts now belong to the Victoria Museum in Ottawa.

Progress comes at a price. Your decisions must be made wisely in order to keep costs realistic and cause the least amount of disruption to existing homeowners along the proposed road widening area.

Jeannie Smith