Letters to Ottawa Planning Committee regarding Cardinal Creek VIllage

The Cumberland Community Association and individual residents are working very hard on your behalf to ensure that Cardinal Creek Village does not become a blemish on the landscape of the Ottawa River. Here are a few letters written to Planning Committee. We hope they are listening.

Dear Members of Planning Committee

You are staged to make a decision on Tuesday which will forever change the landscape in rural east end Ottawa. The size of the proposed development is unprecedented and will occupy an astoundingly beautiful piece of land terraced down to the Ottawa River. I urge you if you have never driven east of Trim Road to Cumberland Village to make the drive on the weekend so that you fully comprehend the magnitude and implications of the proposal and the potential of a slightly altered vision which I submit below. I am confident that you will feel the urge to drive slower than the posted speed limit.

I ask you to consider two things as you look at the proposal and come to your decision. While your staff have done their work, it is you who hold the responsibility for creating the vision for the whole city that will truly drive Ottawa forward on the world stage. This is a one time opportunity.

  • The natural features of this site gives it the potential to be remarkable and unique in Ottawa by fully integrating the new community with the water; both along the Ottawa River from the far north east edge of the site (storm water pond park) and along Cardinal Creek to its junction and, in a more comprehensive vision, on to Petrie Island. Innovative planning with unique and interesting multi-level architecture for this space bordering the river (e.g. including cafes, shops, terraces, boardwalks,  recreation, parks, playing fields, pathways,  pedestrian overpass, bird watching platforms in the wet lands etc.) all focused on the Ottawa River would surely draw people to live, work and play here as a choice destination. 
    • The designation of massive (13 hectares) commercial box store space along the entire northern edge of the site bordering the Ottawa River is remarkably uninspired and sadly lacking in design creativity. 
    • Cities around the world dream of this type of proximity to water and make every effort to enhance its use for residents and visitors alike. 
    • This unique opportunity being afforded to Ottawa is at risk of being lost to mediocrity. It is as if the planners of this community can not see the Ottawa River in front of them or at a minimum have lost touch with an ability to envision an integration of the community with it.
  • Holding the vision of a vibrant uniquely integrated pedestrian and bicycle friendly waterfront compels you to look for an alternative route for the traffic entering the city from Clarence-Rockland and supports the early leanings of the OR174 EA towards identifying a link to a southern arterial highway to serve the continuing growth in population of east Ottawa as well as Clarence-Rockland and beyond. 
    • Nowhere is there a 4 lane highway along the edge of a river. Highway 17 to Montreal is entirely 2 lanes where is borders the river (I've ridden it on my bike), and on the Quebec side the 148 has been relieved with the completion of the Highway 50. 416 was determined to be the solution instead of widening 16 along the Rideau River and even the entire length of the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Toronto does not have a 4 lane highway anywhere bordering the water. 
    • Widening 174 will serve only residents east of the city boundary but not solve any traffic problems for the east end of the city. It will, however, permanently and irreparably destroy the magnificent shoreline of the Ottawa River and a way of life for people who have lived in the area since 1799.

You hold in your hands the power for unprecedented change. Ottawa is growing into a world class city, this is good. Do not allow the proposed massive (already out of fashion) box store retail development to blur the vision for something really great; a community totally unique and integrated with our most notable and valued feature, the Ottawa River. I hope that some among you will ask questions and challenge assumptions and that this is not merely a rubber stamp exercise.

Submitted for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Anda Bruinsma

Cumberland resident

Dear Members of the Planning Committee,

When considering the Cardinal Creek Village Proposal (attached) at your meeting on June 25, I request that you simply ask those proposing commercial development along the Ottawa River “Why?”.

Why would Planning Committee want to approve 425,000 square feet of commercial development beside the most scenic  portion of the 174 adjacent Ottawa River and  in sight of the beaches of Petrie Island? 

Our neighbors in Clarence Rockland have their own “Walmart-by-the Water”, I am confident that we can do better.

Euan Swan

1677 Ottawa Road 174

Ottawa (Cumberland)

Dear Councillor Hume

I am pleased that the city is engaged in creating a new vision for the City of Ottawa Official Plan through the Building a Livable Ottawa process. I applaud the guiding principles and am therefore really disappointed that the concerns raised by individual citizens and Cumberland Community Association, specifically regarding the proposed commercial development along Regional Road 174, have essentially been dismissed by planning staff. Indeed, planning staff recommendations simply say with little explanation (p58) that they concluded the proposed commercial 'A' designation is acceptable.

The proposed commercial 'A' uses are in part defined by “large format retail/commercial” ; effectively big box stores with sprawling paved parking lots. As stated in various parts of the staff report,  this commercial space is catering to the “high vehicle commuter traffic” on OR174 and supporting "inter-urban" commuters. This, I assume, is a veiled reference to residents of Clarence-Rockland. Why is the CCV building retail box stores for residents of Clarence-Rockland? Guiding Principle 5 of the plan is to “Encourage the development of an attractive Commercial area” which is nicely done for the commercial 'B' designation serving CCV residents within the centre of the development and easily assessable by pathways. Why is the northern border of the development regarded as disposable?

I believe this is a fundamental issue of vision and appropriate land use. Do City Council and the residents of Ottawa value protected and enhanced natural-scapes (parks, pathways, parkways) along their waterways over big box store commercial development?  If so then:

  • we are counting on the city Planning Committee to uphold the standards it has set in other parts of the city, 
  • we are expecting Planning Committee to stand firm against pressure for big box store retail commercial and actively fight to protect the limited stretch of pristine Ottawa River waterfront left to the city, and
  • we trust that Planning Committee will extend the same interest, concern and involvement for the far east end of Ottawa as it does for all other developing areas of the city.

Perhaps Taggart can make a big box store development attractive but that is not my experience, nor that of anyone who has to live near existing endless stretches of retail strip malls most notably on Innes and Merivale Roads and in parts of Barhaven and Kanata. 

Cardinal Creek Village has the potential to be a true benchmark planned development for the city. It will be located on a spectacular terraced site with panoramic vistas of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills. Imagine, the residential developments from all sides looking down on sprawling box store commercial development along the base of the terraced escarpment blocking the River Front. Would they not prefer to see the sports fields which cannot easily be accommodated in other areas of the site because of the natural slope? It is inconceivable to me that your city planners would truly consider this commercial development section a good plan and recommend it to you.

In this the 400th year since Champlain sailed up the Ottawa River and the unprecedented engagement in a new vision for Building a Liveable Ottawa, Planning Committee should demand better than this. Cardinal Creek Village is now an undistinguished tract housing development with a box store commercial anchor instead of something could be held up as a model for the future;  where they 'got it right'.  If the proposal is approved without serious revision of the Commercial 'A' area catering to people not resident or paying taxes, it will be difficult to see how your stated  personal vision of  “Residents and Visitors to our Community take pride in our Great City” could be met.


SB Turner

Cumberland resident

To members of the Planning Committee.

As an active member of the Cumberland Community Association for the last 10 years, I have followed city planning issues very closely; particularly in the last three years with the proposed development of Cardinal Village on the western edge of Cumberland.

In the 2009 public consultations, the Cumberland Community Association and many residents of Cumberland made submissions to the Planning Committee. Cumberland residents in fact were among the most active participants in this process with over 71 submissions of the over 350 received. The strongest concern was about the inadequate transportation and public transit service and the added burden that this new community of over 3000 homes will pose.

I would like to repeat these concerns raised in 2009 once again to members of the Planning Committee since they have never been adequately addressed by city staff or the proponents, although they are certainly part of the public record.

This section of Regional Road 174 from Trim Road to Canaan -- in fact, as far east as Hawkesbury -- has two lanes. On the river side are a large number of homes with driveways onto the 174. The other side of the road has a cliff face with many homes above it.

The Taggart proposal assumes that this section of the 174 will become four lanes, at least as far as the entrance to their new development.  If you've seen the road, you'll know that widening it is just not that simple.

While the municipality of Clarence Rockland has launched an environmental assessment to explore improvements to the 174 as well as an alternate route, the outcome is not expected until fall 2014. The EA may determine that there is not adequate space for widening or that the cost would be prohibitive, or it may determine that an alternate route is a better long-term solution since most of Rockland's and Ottawa's growth is occuring south rather than along the river. It would therefore be irresponsible to approve this large development before a transportation solution is in place.

Furthermore, approving Taggart's proposal for a large scale commercial development along this already congested road and to add another traffic light  is irresponsible when it is not clear that the road will definitely be widened.

Eastern Ottawa is undergoing massive growth, with transportation and transit infrastructure falling well behind development. There is nothing in the city's current Transportation Master Plan that offers any solution to handle this growth -- even in the short-term. The next Transportation Master Plan will not be complete before this development is approved.

Area 11 originally scored very poorly on transportation because it is very poorly served by roads and transit. The only plus is that there is a small park and ride on Trim Road that recently got another 350 spots. The scoring improved in the second evaluation process when the idea of running a "screen line" along Green's Creek was proposed to handle additional capacity.

The planning tool of using a "screen line" to handle traffic volume along Green's Creek, in fact routes traffic in the opposite direction, away from the 174 and along Des Epinettes Drive, which is a residential street in Orleans. Of course there is adequate capacity -- no one is driving in that direction to work in Ottawa! This planning solution was preposterous in 2009 and is still preposterous when it is repeated in Taggart's Transportation Master Plan.

Since the consultations in 2009, members of the Cumberland Community Association have worked closely with both the developer and city staff. Most recently, our Cardinal Village Working Group participated in a series of meetings last year. Unfortunately, our concerns have consistently been brushed aside.

While I understand that this development may well go ahead, I urge the Planning Committee to at least reconsider the large scale commercial development proposed for the 174 because it will surely pose an additional undue hardship on commuters from east Ottawa and beyond -- even though Taggart clearly wants their shopping dollars. I urge you to consider sound community planning rather than helping developers make a bigger profit.

In our meetings with Taggart last summer we opposed this commercial development at the outer edge of the development in favour of walkable stores and services within the community core.  We urged Taggart to design a more progressive community that suits the geopgraphy of this spectacular location along the Ottawa River. We called for a well-planned, sustainable community that is not centred around cars that takes advantage of river access for the enjoyment of all.

Is anyone listening to the concerns of the community?


Rebecca Dufton

past president, Cumberland Community Association

Dear Mr. Blais

I am happy to see you are doing well and able to return to work.

I read the email that Ms. Anda Bruinsma, a resident of the Cumberland community had forward to yourself as well as several members of council on June 20, 2013. I think that Ms. Bruinsma has done an excellent job in sending out to you and others why the existing proposal for box stores on the Ottawa River is so wrong. Although she has hit on several key issues that I do agree with I will however share some of my thoughts as well.

My name is Michael Bray and a resident on Regional Road # 174, Cumberland.

I am also the owner and president of Louis W. Bray construction Limited, a heavy civil construction firm that works on various infrastructure projects throughout eastern Ontario. That includes projects for the City of Ottawa which would include the more publicizes Sinkhole project on # 174 last year.

When I made the decision to relocate to my existing location in 2003 I was searching for that special place to call home. Although I considered several locations what made my decision easy was the beautiful Ottawa River. This beautiful feature has so much history and opportunity for people to enjoy and relax with family and friends. Whether it be fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, sailing or time at Petrie Island this area has so much potential to offer that I have not listed. In my travels I have witnessed where major recognized world class cities that have taken these similar unique surroundings of bodies of water and complemented their unique beauty. I do not see where box stores come anywhere close in achieve such. I have high respect for the Taggart group and respect that they are seeking to develop the land associated with cardinal Creek, but I believe a better plan can be created that allows them to develop their land while fostering this beautiful unique feature. This decision will make a strong statement for the east end of Ottawa, you have to get it right, it will have either a positive or negative effect on the area.

Michael Bray

Cumberland resident