This is an excerpt from the obligitory "Public Comment" section of the city planning document which dealt with the zoning changes applied for by Canada Lands Corporation ( the crown corporation which sells off federal crown lands), in order to put in a substantial residential/office development on the site of the former Rideau Veterans lands in the Smyth Road Health Complex.
It is apparent that the concensus from the residents in the surrounding communities was overwhelmingly negative. The only beneficiaries will be Canada Lands and the developers who are contracted to do the development. In my judgement the federal government has no business selling off land when it clearly does not need the money, unless it is in the national interest. There is none here that is remotely credible. This totally unnecessary and unwanted project has now been approved over our heads by the city .
Comments received from the public cited concerns regarding the following summarized issues:
1 . It is premature to proceed with the proposed development without including the NDMC site as part of an overall plan; this will hamper future development; there are too many problems to proceed with the development, there needs to be more discussion. The project should be delayed until all effects on the neighbourhood are known. There should be no more discussion on this project until after the decision on municipal government restructuring. Hospital development should be frozen, including leased parking until all issues are resolved.
2. Smyth Road is over loaded now and the traffic moves too high of a speed. Photo radar should be used to control Smyth Road traffic. Turning onto Smyth Road at rush-hour is often impossible. The Smyth Road /Alta Vista Drive intersection is now dangerous. The Alta Vista Parkway or an east-west road should be built across the area to provide a link to Alta Vista Drive or to Riverside Drive and Industrial Avenue. Even if the Alta Vista Parkway is built there is no guarantee of access to the hospitals or the local community; it could be controlled access. There should be a study on the effects on Smyth Road traffic. Smyth Road should not be widened. Smyth Road should be reduced to two lanes with the woods along the north forming a wooded boulevard and three lanes added parallel to the north to serve the hospitals; the wooded boulevard could be a memorial to the veterans. The hospital road should be widened parallel to Smyth Road and extended to the NDMC access road. Without a study, traffic signals along Smyth Road are a problem not a solution. Traffic signals along Smyth Road should be right at Fairbanks Avenue. Any new intersections along Smyth Road are unacceptable; the NDMC access road should be the only access to the property. The road from blocks 24 and 25 should go onto the CHEO road not onto Smyth Road such as opposite to Broadmoor Avenue where it will add to existing traffic problems. Construction traffic for the project should be diverted away from Smyth Road. Trucks should be prohibited along Smyth Road, it wasn't always a truck route. Access via the hospital ring road is unacceptable.
3 . Do not want Alta Vista Drive to become another Smyth Road with a new road connecting to the hospital parking.
4. Smyth Road traffic causes a substantial noise and air pollution problem; it is difficult to sleep, windows can not be opened and it is impossible to sell a house along Smyth Road. No sound walls should be built along Smyth Road; the land use should be changed or berms should be built because walls will deflect the noise back to the neighbours on the south side of the road. If there is a sound barrier it should be north of the trees. There is no proof that sound attenuation barriers work. More signalized intersections will increase bus noise.
5 . The air-ambulance helicopter creates a noise problem and the landing pad should be moved to NDMC or on top of a parking structure. Decibel levels of 103 and above have beenrecorded from helicopters in the Smyth Road area. Warning clauses regarding helicopters on future agreements of purchase and sale are inadequate to deal with the problem.
6. Smyth Road power lines are a safety hazard and should be buried.
7. A school should be added to this property; the existing schools are over capacity and portables are unacceptable.
8. This proposal along with others will put too much strain on community services.
9. The proposal is not in keeping with the existing suburban community.
10. The residential area has sufficient commercial space nearby. There should be no new commercial space. Commercial space will fail in the proposed office building.
11. There should be a study of the pond, which is located on the south side of Smyth Road, to find out if the ecology will be destroyed and the water level reduced. The pond is a unique feature and must be saved and the natural water level protected.
12. There needs to be more green space because the area is heavily populated. The park-like areas of the Rideau Veterans' site should be saved and the woods around the creek, which should be a community park. This would help the hospital environment. The proposed park will not serve the existing residents. Saving the trees is a good idea, including on proposed Block 28 where development should be north of the trees; the NDMC trees should also be saved. The lilacs on the Rideau Veterans' site are also important. The running and walking areas should be kept, there is little parkland in tlle area, it should all be park. The community sees the parkland issue as the loss of a large parcel of open space in the development site - all owned by the crown. Previous development in the area did not provide parkland and this is the time for the community to get dedicated parkland. What is proposed as parkland in the development is only a fraction of what should have been provided over the years of development of the hospitals, NDMC, Perly Hospital etc.
13. Are the number of units going to cause sewer capacity problems and who will pay for needed sewer upgrades?
14. The proposed required parking ratio is inadequate; it should be 4/1 000. If there is not more parking the new area will suffer from the same overflow parking problems as the existing neighbourhood.
15. The size of the new houses must match current community trends. The aesthetics along Smyth Road must satisfy the existing community. The single units along Smyth Road should have front doors facing Smyth Road with rear lane parking and garage access, if the lots are reversed on Smyth the new area will be disconnected from the existing.
16. The new single, townhouse, and other proposed dwellings should be the same value and appearance on both sides of Smyth Road. How many townhouses will there be? A development of lower density quality homes can be justified. Housing on the property is OK, traffic is the problem. The R5 zone is needed to encourage seniors housing, even if it means cheap walk-up apartments may get built. The developer should provide some form of "understanding" to guarantee that only a seniors project will be built on the easterly block.