Letter from the CCA to Mayor Jim Watson - Widening of Highway 174

Dear Mayor Watson

This letter is submitted to your office and Council to seek clarification and assurances with respect to the planning and coordination of a number of projects in the east end of the city.

In the east end of the City of Ottawa there are three major development activities taking place at this time – the Taggart group is seeking approval for a multi-year development project on the lands that have recently been added to the Urban Area, the Environmental Assessment study for the Ottawa Road 174 (OR 174) has just commenced, and Trim Road is being widened to provide adequate access for southern traffic to OR 174.

The Cumberland Community Association (CCA) and the Cardinal Creek Village Community Association have been consulted and involved in the Taggart proposal, and over one hundred Cumberland residents attended the Open House in the village on February 5th for the first public discussions of the EA OR 174.

A significant concern expressed by the community at this meeting was that these major projects seem to be operating completely independently of each other, even though there is clearly a considerable overlap in their potential impacts.

1. The proposal by the Taggart group that the OR 174 be widened to six lanes from Trim Road to their proposed entrance to their development conflicts significantly with the EA’s presumption that no decision has yet been taken with respect to the traffic/road needs in this area pending the outcome of their studies.

2. The EA’s condition for considering any route other than the OR174 for the
traffic volume hinge on finding a ‘connector route’ to the OR 174 at or near Trim Road. Given the apparent lack of coordination between these projects we are concerned that it will be impossible to identify such an alternate route, so that by default the widening the OR 174 becomes the only viable position.

3. The current expansion of Trim Road to four lanes is clearly insufficient for the
traffic volumes from the southern areas of Ottawa and potential inflows from the east, and making it six lanes, for which there is adequate space, would also channel more traffic to the Park & Ride, potentially increasing the use of public transportation.

4. The Taggart proposal does not envisage or accommodate any major connector routes through its development to the potential southerly alternative to widening the OR 174, thus further pointing to widening the OR 174 as the solution to this traffic problem.

We are therefore seeking concrete assurances from you that these major activities in an area of acute concern for us are indeed working in concert to find the optimum solutions to their particular piece of the overall issue of traffic flows in this part of the city, rather than at cross-purposes, and negating the potential value of their work.

Additionally, we are hoping that you would be able to provide us with formal Minutes of Joint Meetings to allay our fears that the planning functions of the City of Ottawa are not as efficient and effective as they should be, and that there really is the opportunity to modify these plans so that an alternative to widening the OR 174, which would cause considerable disruption to the village of Cumberland, can be espoused.

Yours sincerely

Clive Horne
Cumberland Community Association