Cumberland Village Perspective - CBC Report from Planning Committee

CCV Proposed Development Site

We continue to work to ensure that Cardinal Creek Village does not include a track of big box stores immediately along the edge of the Ottawa River. Here three residents including Clive Horne, President of the Cumberland Association speeking to CBC outside the Planning Committee meeting at City Hall on June 25, 2013.

Clive delivered a compelling speech to Planning Committee. 

Good Evening Councillors,

Thank you for the opportunity to address you on this issue.

When I came in this morning I indicated that I was both for and against this development proposal, because it has features that are really good, but also one aspect that is quite the opposite.

The residential area is well thought out, using the undulating topography to advantage, having a central ‘village-style’ commercial area, allowing generous access to open areas, and clearly planning for the future addition of public transport.

But in the area overlooking the Ottawa River adjacent to the OR 174 as it gets down to the river level it falls well short of this quality of development.  Perhaps I was naive, or just too trusting in the consultation process (which in general was very amicable) but I did not question deeply Tamarack’s ideas for this area, though they did mention a big Chapters store and multiple dwellings.  It was only when the Transportation Study and the Master Transportation Plan were presented in April of this year that the full scale of the proposal became apparent.  Over 425,000 square feet of ‘Large Format Retail’, otherwise known as ‘Big Box’ stores, and 260 apartments on thirteen hectares.  This was way over anything I had expected.  This retail space is half the size of all of Place d’Orléans and four times the size of the Target Big Box store at its eastern end, and would sit on twenty-two football fields.

This I find unacceptable, as do the xxx  people who have already signed our petition objecting to this, and there are still many sheets of signatures out there that have not yet been returned to me.  And most of these people are actually quite critical of me, for even contemplating having big box stores in this area, the most beautiful view of the Ottawa River in the city.  But what was also most evident was the strength of their opposition in that they needed little, if any, explanation of the issue before condemning it – just seeing the map and the notation of 425,000 square feet of big box stores, without any further explanation, was enough for them to understand that it was a bad design idea.  I saw this at our Market on Saturday – this map was there, and even when I was not at the table to explain it, even before I first sat at the table, people who were just walking by stopped, read, and signed the petition.

Also of interest was the fact that it was not just the local community that found this objectionable – no matter where people lived (even the woman from Heidelberg) regarded this proposal as being a ridiculous ruination of the view.

But there is another point to be made.  Such a development requires the passage of a lot of traffic, so the OR 174 has to be identified as the commuter route from Rockland and points east,  and this reliance on the commuter traffic is confirmed by the request for two ‘right-in, right-out’ access points to the OR 174.  This presumes that this would be the result of the Environmental Assessment currently under way that is studying precisely this problem – how should the traffic from Rockland and points east get to Ottawa, and two of the three options do not include the widening of OR 174, which would be necessary for it to remain the principal commuter route for this traffic.  So the acceptance of this proposal would undermine the validity and perceived independence of this EA.

And my final point is that, with respect to this area, you do not actually have to make the decision now.  Phase one of the overall project is the north west quadrant of the residential area, not including the area overlooking the OR 174.  This will take at least two or three years to build out, and the EA I noted will present its recommendation next year. 

I am speaking for the hundreds of people who have taken the time to sign this petition indicating their disgust at the possibility of such a failure of planning that this magnificent view of the river could succumb to big box stores topped by apartments.  We ask you to defer any decision on phase two of this development until more information is available, including a ‘Plan B’ from Tamarack, which to date they have refused to consider, and the EA recommendation.  Do not allow an overly-hasty decision compromise for eternity the beauty of this location, and the possibility of creating a truly great community.

Thank you, Councillors, for your time.

Clive Horne,

President, Cumberland Community Association