The Carlington Summit

Carlington's two local community associations will appear before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) next month to fight one more time for a third traffic entrance into the growing Central Park community.

The Carlington Community Association (CCA) and the Central Park Citizen's Group (CPCG) appeared at a pre-hearing meeting February 1 at city hall, as did representatives from the regional and city governments, and the developer, Ashcroft Homes. The OMB decided at that meeting that the issue should be heard before a full public hearing at Ottawa City Hall (in the Guigues Room) beginning March 20, and lasting for about one week. The public is encouraged to attend.

The CCA, which represents residents adjacent (north and northeast) to the Merivale Road development, and the CPCG, which represents the residents living in the development, oppose the subdivision application and the treatment of traffic access on the western side of the development. The groups want access points on the west side so that everyone shares the traffic burden. The application proposes to have access only onto Merivale Road and no access onto the other regional road at Clyde. On the other hand, the existing community to the west of the development (Copeland Park) obviously wants no traffic access from this development onto Clyde Avenue. This debate has progressed over the past three years. Residents should also be aware that in 1992 the OMB approved a subdivision plan that required an access be built at Clyde and Maitland. Ashcroft allowed that plan to lapse on March 31, 1999 and subsequently applied for the new plan now being considered.

Since then, the city and region have seen fit to propose that all traffic from the development (2000 vehicles per hour) be dumped onto Merivale Road, with no plan on how to handle the spillage into the Carlington community. The region has included conditions to examine the issue of additional accesses on the west side, when and if the developer ever purchases a parcel of land owned by the federal government through Industry Canada. This land is now vacant, and any sale will be handled by Public Works. This parcel of land sits at the intersection of Clyde and Maitland.

Ashcroft's president, David Choo has asked the Carlington Community Association to endorse the existing plan in an attempt to avoid the delays associated with an OMB hearing. He has also suggested that without our support, he may withdraw his agreement with the city/region over the conservation easement in the development. His lawyer has offered options that are unacceptable to both the CCA and the CPCG.

Local gov't criticized

Certain city politicians and members of their senior staff have maintained that a third access for Central Park is unnecessary, a conclusion that was drawn as far back as the Fall of 1998, well before any traffic studies had been conducted. At the time, then city councillor Karin Howard arranged a meeting with Ted Robinson (the city's planning commissioner) and myself so that I could confront him on this issue. Initially, Mr. Robinson insisted that neither the city nor the region was considering a western access point onto Clyde Avenue. He explained to Karin Howard, myself and CPCG representative Matthew Darwin that the OMB decision in 1992 resolved nothing, and that an access onto Clyde was out of the question.

After questioning him on how he arrived at this conclusion without any traffic study data, he changed his tune and suggested that a third access from Clyde would be reviewed. In light of his statement to us, and his apparent disregard for the initial 1992 OMB-approved plan, I would call into question the integrity of the city planning commissioner to properly act on behalf of the citizenry of Ottawa. It is also evident to both the CCA and the CPCG that the planning process at the region and especially at the city level is ineffective and unfair for the average resident.

The city and regional councillors representing the Carlington and Central Park communities are Jim Bickford at the city (244-5365) and Wendy Stewart at the region (560-1223). They have both done an excellent job in attempting to defend our interests, but have fallen short of the mark. We need the support of all the residents in our community. Please call upon your city and regional councillor, mayor Jim Watson and regional chair Bob Chiarelli to put the fairness back in planning. And if possible, please attend the OMB hearing starting Monday March 20th at Ottawa City Hall.