Ashcroft affiliate buys last corner of Clyde-Merivale lands
The 10 acre parcel of land immediately north of Laurentian High School has been sold. The building has been demolished, and the land which was formerly owned by the Federal Department of Communications has now been purchased by a numbered Ontario Company affiliated with Central Park developer Ashcroft Homes. This will bring the Central Park development to approximately 150 acres in total.
Ashcroft has submitted plans to the City of Ottawa for developing the land as low, medium and high density housing. Previously this parcel was to be low to medium density residential only. Members of the Central Park Citizens Group have expressed some concern about this proposal. While the CPCG has no problem with increasing the numbers in any one area of the development, the overall density of Central Park should remain constant.
The public had until June 22 to comment on the proposal.
Phase 1 and Phase 1b of residential development in Central Park is nearing completion. Only about 10 homes remain to be completed on the exterior along Trump Avenue and Whitestone Drive. Many more still require interior finishings and landscaping, which is expected to be completed this year.
Phase 2 is well under way with residents occupying homes on Central Park Drive and Manhattan Crescent since last fall. In the last month, curbs have been installed as well as light standards. The sidewalk is also under construction.
Construction is well under way on the northern section of Whitestone Drive as well as Cedar Park Street, and Scout Street and Yorkville Street to the south. Servicing for phase 3 is well underway for the homes on the former Assaly lands. No home construction has started in this phase as yet.
In March, the City of Ottawa issued an order to comply and a stop work order for the six-unit shopping mall behind Tim Horton's. The architectural drawings on file with the City of Ottawa did not match the building being constructed. Ashcroft submitted revised architectural drawings for a structure with a peaked roof. They were approved and Ashcroft was then allowed to work on Units 1 to 5 only (Unit 1 being closest to Central Park Drive). Unit 6 was proposed to be a restaurant.
At the beginning of April, Ashcroft submitted revised mechanical drawings with the air conditioning equipment behind the building. Originally they were intended to be on the roof,but because of the way the roof is designed, it cannot accommodate mechanical equipment. The City of Ottawa indicated that if Ashcroft wanted this, they must have a revised site plan approval and that requires public consultation. Ashcroft withdrew their revised mechanical drawings and will presumably make mechanical equipment the responsibility of the tenant.
The new proposed use for the mall is for a restaurant with an exterior patio for Unit 1 (moved from Unit 6) and a convenience store in unit 6.
The CPCG is keeping a close eye on this complex and ever-changing development. In particular, they are watching any potential impacts it might have on residents along Festive Private and Celebration Street.
Retirement complex plans change
Previously, a 220 unit apartment complex and a 120 unit seniors home was proposed for the inside and western-most part of the Central Park Drive loop. Documents filed at the City now indicate one six-storey U-shaped complex instead of two separate buildings.
The complex is nearing the approval stage but Ashcroft has not submitted a site plan approval application. Central Park residents will be able to provide comments on the design when public consultation begins.
Nortel lights must be dimmed
The lights at the Nortel facility on Baseline road are making the Smarter Starter homes very bright. They are even disturbing as far away as Crystal Park Crescent. Anders Nordstrom of the Central Park Citizens Group initially contacted Nortel in January, and didn't get very far. In April, the CPCG asked City of Ottawa Councillor Jim Bickford to look into the matter.
On May 2nd, Tony D'Angelo of the property standards division at the City of Ottawa met with Nortel officials. As a result of the inspection, the City requested that Nortel make adjustments to two of the fixtures in the Tower VII (west/north sides) lot and that Nortel also make adjustments to two of the fixtures in the Merivale Road parking lot to redirect the light.
On May 11th, Nortel made the requested adjustments to the lighting. Nortel does not intend to make any further adjustments to the lighting as they feel that they will begin to compromise the security of the site. A re-inspection is still to be done by the City to ensure the lights have been repositioned correctly.
Pond near completion, small parks by fall
The storm water treatment pond in the "central" park is looking much more complete, although still void of much water or vegetation. Ashcroft has until June 30, 2000 to complete the pond and the surrounding landscaping or the Region will cash a letter of credit and complete the work itself.
By the end of the summer, the remaining part of the park should be landscaped and a tot-lot created at the North end of Whitestone Drive. By the end of 2001, the green way corridor connecting the tot-lot and the central park, as well as the central park amenities, should be completed.
Central Park residents have been asked to choose a name for both the "central" park and the northern tot-lot. A naming committee will likely be formed in the fall to solicit potential names.
Social events galore
On April 27th a Gardening Talk was held at Alexander Community Center, hosted by Mary Reid from the local Green Thumb Garden Center. She covered everything from gardening basics and lawn care to trends in plants and design. 25 residents attended this very informative evening.
More recently, the Second Annual Central Park Garage Sale, Street Party & barbecue was held on May 27th. Starting at 8am, 37 homes had tables out with items for sale. Bargain hunters arrived early and there was a mini traffic jam on Celebration Street for much of the morning.
Of the homes with items for sale, residents of Crystal Park Crescent had the highest participation rate at 11. The newest Residents of Central Park South (Manhattan and Central Park Drive) also put in a good showing at 4 homes.
A separate table was set up for CPCG and donations from residents were happily accepted. Thanks to these donations, CPCG raised $70 from this table.
Starting at 6 pm Crystal Park Drive was closed to traffic and people took over. Tables, chairs and a large barbecue was set up. Drinks, condiments and music were provided, while CPCG President Larry Sargent and director Bart Hollington shared the chef duties to cook up food people brought along. In addition to a great barbecue, there were lots of activities for the kids including face painting, a table with crayons and paper for drawings and buckets of chalk for the street.
Over 80 people attended throughout the evening. The entire day was well organized and thanks go out to the Social Committee. Central Park resident Richard Roik summed it up by saying, "we picked up a nice chunk of pocket change peddling what we'd found in our basement, and we thoroughly enjoyed the party." Other residents agreed that the party was wonderful and should definitely be an annual event.
Also on the Social Committee's plans for this spring was a Recycling and Composting Seminar on June 8. Residents were to learn more about what happens to all the stuff that goes in our blue and black boxes for recycling, and how to compost and use rain barrels.
CPCG has incorporated
The Central Park Citizens Group is now incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in the province of Ontario. By incorporating, the CPCG is given legal status as its own entity. This is important for allowing the CPCG to participate in some official proceedings at the municipal level. It also allows the CPCG itself to initiate or respond to legal proceedings, rather than relying on individual members to act on their own. The date of incorporation is October 18 1999, and the incorporation number is 001380830.
CPCG Board News
The Central Park general meeting was held on May 11th at the Alexander Community Center. Over 50 residents came out in addition to local Councillors Wendy Stewart and Jim Bickford.Here are some highlights from the meeting:
City of Ottawa Councillor Jim Bickford announced that he would not be running for Councillor in this ward in the new amalgamated City of Ottawa in this fall's municipal elections. (He has since registered to run but says that he plans to run in Capital Ward, covering the Glebe and Ottawa South). Regional Councillor Wendy Stewart said she was still considering running for the job.
Central Park resident Don Murray was elected by acclamation as member-at-large for Manhattan Crescent and Central Park Drive (south). Don will sit on the CPCG Board of Directors for the remainder of this year.
Tim Hood made a brief presentation about Neighbourhood watch and how it all works. Afterwards he was "volunteered" to start organizing a Neighbourhood watch for Central Park.
The topic of whether or not the CPCG should accept $2000 donated by Ashcroft Homes president David Choo was discussed at great length. The donation was accepted on the understanding that it would not be “used against Ashcroft.” Some residents felt that this would restrict the activities that the CPCG could undertake and make it look like the CPCG was being controlled by Ashcroft. Others argued that it should be accepted and used for social events, which David Choo appears to support firmly. In the end, the motion to accept the donation was approved by a wide margin, and Ashcroft will be given a full accounting of how the money was spent.
Local resident Luis Gomez-Almeida raised the issue of birds nesting in the external vents of his and neighbour's houses. The building code does not require vents to have screens on the second level of a home, only on the first level. Update: It seems that Ashcroft will be building screens into all future homes and will be making screens available to existing residents for a nominal charge.
A local resident wondered if the patch of grass and mud between the sidewalk and the curb on Merivale Road could be paved near the bus stop. Wendy Stewart said she would see what could be done. She was also going to look into where the bus shelter for Merivale northbound was on the OC Transpo priority list.
Another resident wondered if something could be done to fix up the muddy "path" between the end of Trump Avenue and the #14 bus stop on Caldwell. The City of Ottawa didn't have jurisdiction since it is Ashcroft-owned land. Update: On June 2nd, Ashcroft moved all the rubble out of the way and put in a gravel path. Kudos to Ashcroft.
Have a great summer and drop by to visit http://www.central-park.ottawa.on.ca for up-to-date information on what's going on in Central Park.
Bart Hollington cooked up a storm at the May 27 barbecue for Central Park.
A young Central Park resident got into the street-painting spirit at the May 27 barbecue.