by CCCA President Jordan Charbonneau
For more information on the contents of this report, contact us via the information provided at the end of this article.
CCCA 2012 Annual General Meeting
Save the date! The CCCA’s 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place starting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16. We encourage all Centretowners to come out to learn what we’ve been up to over the past year and to become members. Note that all CCCA memberships expire at the AGM, so we encourage existing members to renew their memberships at the same time.
At the AGM, we will be electing six of the 12 positions on our board of directors as well as the position of president. All CCCA members are allowed to run for these positions. CCCA vice-president Rob Dekker is leading the organization of the AGM; if you’re interested in helping out in some way, including processing memberships or being a part of the nominations committee, please let him know at email@example.com. You can also contact him to let him know if you’re interested in running for the board or for president.
CCCA Appeal of Council Decision Regarding Development at 96 Nepean Street
In 2011, after many years of opposing City planning decisions that ignored the City’s own Official Plan and Centretown Secondary Plan, the CCCA revived its incorporation in order to be able to appeal such decisions to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Unfortunately, this occurred too late to bolster our opposition to development proposals for 89-91 Nepean and 70 Gloucester, but it was in place as we were opposing a development proposed for 96 Nepean Street.
Although the CCCA does not oppose height per se, we felt that a 27-storey building, with reduced setbacks on two sides, was simply too massive for this site. Setbacks are meant to protect privacy, allow for more sunlight and landscaping around buildings, and reduce wind tunnel effects. The CCCA was also concerned about potential water and sewage infrastructure failure in the area, since the City has already approved other large buildings in the area, including at 187 Metcalfe, 89-91 Nepean, and 70 Gloucester.
On July 11, despite our and others’ objections, City Council approved bylaw amendments that permitted the development to proceed. In response, on August 9, the CCCA submitted its appeal to the OMB.
The OMB appeal process is time-consuming and expensive. In order to protect the CCCA’s assets, we immediately consulted a professional planner and have engaged the same planner to provide us with advice.
Links to Our Community Design Plan and Section 37
When opposing the 96 Nepean development, we expressed our concern that it reflects neither the current zoning bylaw and Centretown Secondary Plan, nor the design guidelines outlined in the Centretown Community Design Plan (CDP). Although the CDP is, at this stage, only a draft, it is very discouraging that the City has included strong guidelines for tall buildings in the CDP at the same time as it is approving developments which respect neither the current nor the proposed planning regime. This obvious disconnect calls into question how we can have any faith that our CDP will be respected even once it is approved. It is clear that the broader community thinks much the same, as expressed at our public meeting on the CDP in late May.
This has many impacts on our community. One good example relates to what the draft CDP highlights as the “acute shortage of usable urban park spaces to service the needs of the local community.” At the public meeting on the CDP, greening Centretown was top of mind for many attendees, and the CDP makes some very welcome recommendations about how to address the problem. For example, it states: “… new parks can only be realized through partnership with the development industry or through the direct purchase of a site by the City … The City should move quickly to secure currently available vacant sites. The City should also continue to work with developers to provide open space as part of the development application process.” Why has the City not negotiated for more greenspace as part of the many large developments that have recently been approved? Why are setbacks being reduced, which takes away the potential for even small amounts of additional greenspace? What hope do we have that the City will work to protect other important elements of our community, such as heritage and good design? How can the Section 37 regime be made to work if the City puts in so little effort to negotiate in the first place?
We Need Your Support!
Cities are for people! Join us to help ensure that development in our community reflects the needs of Centretowners. You can help by:
-Offering your professional planning, legal or other relevant expertise;
-Becoming a CCCA member (just $5!) if you live, work or own property in Centretown. You can join online at www.centretowncitizens.ca or by sending your name, address, email address and phone number with a cheque (made out to the Centretown Citizens Community Association) to 101-210 Gloucester Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 2K4;
-Donating to help cover our appeal costs. You can also do this online or by sending a cheque;
-Joining our Planning and Development Review Committee; and
-Attending our Board meetings and October annual general meeting.
For more information, please contact Judy Forrest (firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-232-8131) or Rob Dekker (email@example.com, 613-858-6313).
Trees and Greenspace Committee
2012 has been a very tough growing season; hopefully 2013 will be better. Some City-owned trees have been losing leaves since early August, though their roots may not be dead. Some of the better survivors have been the native plants that require less watering. This type of low water use gardening is called xeriscaping and is worth researching for next year.
The committee has been in touch with the Jack Purcell Recreation Association, which donated money towards the planting of a tree to honour a long-time JPRA volunteer. Plans are to plant the tree, which will be maintained by the City, on the Jack Purcell Community Centre grounds. The committee very much appreciates donations of this nature.
Finally, the committee will be busy this fall planning to plant trees at Centennial School and along Gladstone Avenue or Gilmour Street; to raise funds through events; and to encourage property owners to use the City’s Trees in Trust Program to plant trees on the City-owned land in front of their residences.
For more information or to help in any area, please contact Bonnie at 613-237-1056 or check the CCCA website. The committee will be meeting next on Monday, September 24, 2012, place to be decided.
The next meeting of the Seniors Committee will be announced in the near future.
Summer Gab ‘n’ Graze Summary and Next CCCA Board Meeting
This summer, the CCCA held two Gab ‘n’ Graze events, which are opportunities for all residents of Centretown to gather informally for food and conversation at a local establishment. Held in July and August at St. Louis Bar and Grill and the Black Bear Pub, respectively, they were a great success. Thanks to all who came out to talk, to debate, and to have fun!
The next meeting of the CCCA Board will take place at 7 p.m. on September 18, 2012 at City Hall (Billings Room). We hope to see you there!
You can keep up to date on events in Centretown by subscribing to our email newsletter (find it at firstname.lastname@example.org), following us on Twitter (@CentretownCCA) or visiting our website (www.centretowncitizens.ca). We would also be happy to hear from you!